May 19, 2024

“Woke” university professors “threaten” science

“How the woke left threatens science, culture, and society” – that is the title of the new book by ethnologist Susan Schroeter. For them, the matter is clear: researchers no longer dare to address controversial topics for fear of opposition from the “woke left.”

She says this in an interview with the “Echo of Oil” program on the SRF channel. Interestingly, the movement comes not only from students, but from professors, activists, and faculty as well.

According to Schroeter, there are currently no experimental studies on this phenomenon, but she believes it is urgently necessary. Polls by university professors already show a growing number of people feeling constrained by the “woke wave.”

This applies especially to scholars of the humanities, but also to natural scientists, economists, and even doctors. “30 to 40 percent of those surveyed say they will no longer address each topic,” the ethnologist says.

Schroeter warns that this development puts free search at risk. She gave the field of legal Islamism in Germany as an example. The term is controversial. This means that Islamists attempt to influence politics through legal means.

For the expert, it is clear that young researchers no longer dare to address this cross-cultural topic. Regarding the “woke left,” Schroeter says: “They are ideological. They are united by a unified idea about what the world looks like and in what direction it should develop. Who is a friend and who is an enemy.”

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Schroeter received criticism for her statements. “Ideological accusation” could also jeopardize science, Basel historian George Kress tells SRF. “The accusation of ideology often arises from ideologically influenced positions.”

“Issues can and should be political,” he says. Sociologists are perhaps more vulnerable to this political problem: because they are genuinely interested in things that don't work well.

These debates raise questions about academic freedom, and both sides accuse the other of restricting freedom of research. But Chris emphasizes: “Dialogue can lead to broadening horizons.”