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The academic world in the era of cancel culture, woke thinking, and identity politics.
Alejandro Zaera-Polo, one of the world’s most renowned architects, was dean of the Princeton School of Architecture until an accusation of plagiarism forced him to step down. Zaera-Polo sued Princeton for defamation, but remained a professor until the ideological impositions over his advisory duties forced him into a public conflict with the institution. He persisted doggedly in his claims to academic freedom and freedom of speech and kept the records of the process for publication: the result is more than 800 pages of documents that show, email by email, how identity politics, groupthink, and pressure are being harnessed by the academic authorities in Princeton to curtail academic freedom and shield themselves from scrutiny of their actions.
This book is the result of the process and the evidence he collected. Zaera-Polo tells the story of his challenge to the post-modern culture of “alternative truths” that has taken root in universities, particularly in the United States. If the purpose of universities is often stated as “the search for truth,” in Princeton, “interpretations” often based on race and gender take precedence over facts. The Spanish architect shows how the contemporary academic authority resorts to an arsenal of mechanisms, such as unanimity, groupthink, the law of silence, “conversationalism” and even the falsification of records to turn lies into truth. A story of the violation of academic freedom and the abuse of identity politics that we should consider to prevent postmodern nonsense from stifling rigor and free expression on our campuses.
A first-person account by the former dean of the Princeton School of Architecture.
One of the world’s leading architects describes the climate of ideological suppression in an elite American university.