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Catalyst : A Social Justice Forum
Number of Followers: 10  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 2160-1844
Published by U of Tennessee, Knoxville Homepage  [2 journals]
  • Letters to the Editor (Resurrecting this Historical Section): Redefining

    • Authors: David Lempert
      Abstract: Editor’s Note

      The lifeblood of science and social science is competition among ideas in healthy debate testing scholarly standards and findings. In recent years, as standards have begun to disappear in social science and as journals begin to advocate for doctrine in place of social science and discipline, the opportunity to challenge colleagues (and editors) to adhere to disciplinary standards has also disappeared. Many journals have simply eliminated Letters to the Editor sections and discussions. Others have moved discussions to on-line pages where discussions often deteriorate into short emotional reactions or factional in-fighting in place of constructive scholarly debate to promote advances in the discipline. Below is an example of a letter that was accepted for publication by the editor of Anthropology in Action, one of two practicing anthropology journals (along with Practicing Anthropology), in late 2014. The letter was vetted but never published because Anthropology in Action, like Practicing Anthropology, changed its policy and no longer prints letters to the editor. In both publications, articles are increasingly shorter, book reviews are fewer, and discussions are disappearing. Despite the possibility of on-line publication that would open up such space, neither publication has moved to such option. Not a single letter to the editor has now appeared in Anthropology in Action for four years and possibly much longer before that. This is not to single out those publications since this is part of a widespread problem not limited to a single sub-field, publication or editor. The letter below is an example of one that poses a challenge to a sub-discipline to define its actual fit with the goals, questions and definitions of the discipline where such standards seem to have disappeared.
      PubDate: Wed, 14 Mar 2018 08:42:38 PDT
  • Returning Discipline to the Discipline: A Model Procedure for Reviews in
           Anthropology, Social Sciences, and Other Related Disciplines

    • Authors: David Lempert
      Abstract: This piece uses participant observation of and research into disciplinary procedures to reveal that review policies in anthropology, other ‘social sciences’, and related disciplines have become arbitrary and politicised with little to protect professional standards of a discipline and to avoid conflicts of interest that prejudice scholarship. To address the problem, this piece takes the initial step towards establishing procedural standards. The piece offers a model procedure to incorporate in journal article and book publisher review policies, applying legal approaches to anti-corruption and procedural fairness along with key human resources principles to measure skills and competence. It also applies best practices from experiences from peer review failures in the natural sciences. This procedure offers standards to test the quality of policies of journals and publishers while offering journals and publishers the opportunity to demonstrate compliance. This focus on process is part of a larger effort to reestablish clear standards in anthropology (as a social science and humanities) as well as in related disciplines through which disciplines can hold themselves accountable and measure ‘progress’ while seeking to resolve internal debates over content.
      PubDate: Wed, 14 Mar 2018 08:42:34 PDT
  • The Nonsense and Non-Science of Political Science: A Politically Incorrect
           View of ‘Poly-T(r)ic(k)s’

    • Authors: Polly Sly
      Abstract: The purpose of this short essay is to highlight the failures in contemporary Political Science by sketching a small model of what the discipline would look like if it were in fact a “discipline” driven by scientific questions and methods responsive to public benefit rather than to indoctrination and control. Rather than simply accept, on faith, the “expert” assurances of quality, or the subject labels or claims of “inclusiveness” and “representation”, this essay offers some questions and alternatives that the educated public can use to hold the discipline to its mission and to assure that it is not simply serving itself and power.
      PubDate: Wed, 14 Mar 2018 08:42:29 PDT
  • An International Legal Scholar’s View on “Is Economics in Violation of
           International Law' Remaking Economics as a Social Science”

    • Authors: Ugo Mattei
      PubDate: Wed, 14 Mar 2018 08:42:25 PDT
  • An Ecological Economist’s View on “Is Economics in Violation of
           International Law' Remaking Economics as a Social Science”

    • Authors: Peter Söderbaum
      Abstract: Introduction

      Is mainstream economics with its many theories and recommendations compatible with international law, such as the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP, 2007) or the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development of 1992 (UN Rio Declaration, 1992)' Are globally renowned universities teaching economics in ways that violate international law' Can economics as a discipline be questioned in this way and held legally accountable' If so, who are the responsible persons or organizations to be prosecuted' Asking questions of this kind seems to be extremely relevant and timely. ...

      PubDate: Wed, 14 Mar 2018 08:42:21 PDT
  • Is Economics in Violation of International Law' Remaking Economics as
           a Social Science: Parts I-IV

    • Authors: David Lempert
      Abstract: This piece is in four parts following this abstract, the Table of Contents and a Short Introduction.
      Part I: Is Economics in Violation of International Law' Part I applies a set of systematic international legal principles found in international law to the doctrines of “neo-classical” mainstream economics to test whether the discipline is consistent with those legal principles or would be held to be in violation if brought to trial in an international court of law. The conclusion of this legal analysis is that the discipline is in violation.
      Part II: Is there a Current Social Science of Economics in Economics or Elsewhere that Meets the Requirements of Social Science' If Not, Why Not' Part II then holds the discipline of economics to scrutiny as to whether it meets the test of being a “social science” and also applies a similar test to the sub-discipline of “economic anthropology” that has been a response to the ideologies in the discipline of economics. Although both claim to be social sciences, the conclusion is that both have largely become ideological rather than scientific, serving to promote political views (in the case of neo-classical economics, a technical field of national production engineering combined with an ideology to promote it).
      Part III: The Rebuilding Process for the Discipline: Where Economics Fits and What is Missing. Part III goes back to the goals of the social sciences and humanities in terms of their areas of analysis and questions for individual disciplines and then offers a new framework for a scientific discipline of economics and a new humanities of economics linked with it. This new economics as an empirical social science for prediction links measures of consumption, production and distribution to biological and ecological principles and replaces the current starting assumptions that are culturally biased “moral precepts.” It moves the discipline forward, beyond its position within industrial market systems where it serves as an ideological and technical tool to promote economic interests of elites in those systems.
      Part IV: The Challenge of Institutional and Cultural Change in Academia. The piece ends with a discussion pointing to the areas of society that would need to change in order for a scientific and international law compliant discipline to emerge.
      PubDate: Wed, 14 Mar 2018 08:42:17 PDT
  • Distorting Psychology and Science at the Expense of Joy: Human Rights
           Violations Against Human Beings with Autism Via Applied Behavioral

    • Authors: Kathleen P. Levinstein
      Abstract: Although it is both one of the more “scientific” of the social sciences and also one of the most applied, Psychology has a long history of inventing both “diseases” and “treatments” for them while turning a blind eye to applications that fail to incorporate scientific knowledge and rights-based protections. Despite continued exposure of such practices, they continue to arise, with academics making their careers and practitioners making profits while patients and society suffer some of the consequences. This piece focuses on one of the latest of these modern science fiction horrors in a subfield that has been at continual fault: the mis-definition and treatment of “Autism” in the anti-science practice of “Applied Behavioral Analysis” (“ABA”). While ABA has arisen in the discipline of psychology, it is now authorized by public school educators and provided by unlicensed professionals with the discipline of Psychology failing to establish appropriate review procedures for its practices and educators, service providers (social workers who may or may not be professionals) and government agencies also failing to uphold ethical and legal action. Public and legal oversight have also failed. The author, a Ph.D. social worker, “survivor” of ABA “treatment” and the mother of a child who died from an ABA related injury, addresses the issue directly in this article.
      PubDate: Wed, 14 Mar 2018 08:42:14 PDT
  • The Quiet “Purge” of Jews and Jewish Thinking in American
           Social Science

    • Authors: Brooks Duncan
      Abstract: This article uses the method of ethnic stratification analysis and participant observation to raise questions about what appears to be one of the hidden ethnic transformations that has occurred in the disciplines of anthropology and sociology in the past two decades; the replacement of Jews. Jews, who were among the founders of and became “over-represented” in these disciplines, have now been replaced with other minorities through a process of selection based on “representation”. Along with the use of these disciplines for overall university quota filling, in order to promote statistics for hiring of underrepresented groups, has come the loss of the empirical “scientific” approach of Jewish scholars and the idea of application of “universal” principles for social progress. These two phenomena appear to be related, raising questions about the actual social justice and social progress impacts of what was claimed as “diversity”. Under the veneer of apparent diversity, the costs to social science and actual social justice may outweigh the benefits. In today’s political environment, there seems to be an unwillingness to pursue and raise these questions.
      PubDate: Wed, 14 Mar 2018 08:42:11 PDT
  • Professor Rip Van Winklestein Applies for a Teaching Job ... and Finds His
           Disciplines (and Much of Social Science) Have Disappeared

    • Authors: Brooks Duncan
      Abstract: What if you woke up one day and found that your entire discipline, to which you had sacrificed years of your life, had suddenly disappeared … not because it had become obsolete but because it had been replaced by advocacy and indoctrination, and that nobody seemed to notice or care, as if it had happened by design' It happened to me….
      PubDate: Wed, 14 Mar 2018 08:42:07 PDT
  • Foreword: The Death of Social Sciences in an Era of Multicultural
           Corporatism (‘Neo-Liberalism’): With Efforts at Resuscitation

    • Authors: David Lempert
      Abstract: This foreword is in four separate parts:
      Part I: Inspiration for the Special Issue: A Personal Story: This section describes the inspiration for this issue, in a tale of the author’s experience with social science over the past 40 years. It offers some general observations and theories about what has happened to the social sciences from a personal perspective over time. (pages 2 to 19)
      Part II: The Concept for this Special Issue of Catalyst and the Reality of Critiquing and Restoring Social Science: This section is what one generally finds in an introduction to a special issue, describing the specific concept and contents, with some additional information that itself is informative about social science today. It presents the goals for the issue and the process of putting this issue together. Most journal special issues offer an easy vehicle for an existing group of scholars to publish their work. In contrast, this issue, starting with a critical approach to social science, faced many of the challenges that exist today to those who seek to challenge the existing consensus in social science that is anti-science and that has politicized social science. This section provides a case study that offers insight into the controls and ideologies that restrict discussion of social sciences today. (pages 20 to 38)
      Part III: Introducing the Contents of the Special Issue: This section introduces the pieces in this issue and how they fit together. (pages 39 to 46)
      Part IV: A Vision for Revitalizing Social Science and Inviting Continued Debates and Solutions: This final section offers a short general “vision” for a revitalized social science, describing the kinds of actions that this issue of Catalyst seeks to catalyze, in revitalizing social science disciplines. (pages 47 to 52)The typical introduction to a special issue focuses on the pieces that appear and describes how they fit together with each other. What makes Catalyst a special journal is that in addition to linking articles on themes, it seeks to serve in the role of catalyzing deep reflection and social change. With those goals in mind, this foreword consists of four parts as described in the abstract above: a personal story of this editor’s experience (hopes and despair) with academic social sciences; the goals of this special issue and the process of bringing it to fruition; introduction to the pieces in the issue; and comments on the tasks ahead given the findings and proposals presented in this issue to re-catalyze social sciences.
      PubDate: Wed, 14 Mar 2018 08:42:03 PDT
  • Volume 8, Issue 1

    • Authors: Catalyst: A Social Justice Forum
      PubDate: Wed, 14 Mar 2018 05:36:25 PDT
  • Volume 7, Issue 1

    • Authors: Catherine Scott
      Abstract: The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field is greatly promoted as a career path for students in recent years, and the demand for individuals specializing in STEM disciplines is expected to rise. Often, when considering STEM, one thinks of careers related to medicine, laboratory settings, or the pure sciences. However, in examining only these aspects of STEM, we may errantly overlook the impacts that P-20 education may have in using STEM as a means for improving student lives. One unique aspect of STEM is its role in helping to improve our well being as individuals and society as a whole, not only through improvements in fields such as technology and medicine, but also as a stimulus for promoting improvements in the community and beyond. There are opportunities for STEM education to aid in social justice through examining local community issues, including environmental quality and access to health and nutritional services, among other topics. As noted by Webb and Barrera in this edition of Catalyst (2017), “The primary focus of education is to improve students’ lives by providing means to overcome the inequities of school and society, and it is the responsibility of teachers to see that this happens for every learner.” This issue of Catalyst aims to present a collection of works that examines the role of STEM education in aiding in these opportunities not only for the PK-12 classroom, but also in the college classroom and through pre-service educator training.
      PubDate: Fri, 14 Apr 2017 11:36:23 PDT
  • Toward a Theory of Teacher Education for Justice-Oriented STEM

    • Authors: Beth Leah Sondel 7722095 et al.
      Abstract: Among the multiple perspectives as to the focus of education policy, there has been much recent attention paid to both STEM and social justice education. While these approaches are often seen in opposition with each other, in this paper we explore the possibility of combining these two aims as we begin to develop a theory of teacher education for justice-oriented STEM education.
      PubDate: Fri, 14 Apr 2017 11:36:19 PDT
  • Social Justice Driven STEM Learning (STEMJ): A Curricular Framework for
           Teaching STEM in a Social Justice Driven, Urban, College Access Program.

    • Authors: Paul E. Madden et al.
      Abstract: This article presents the curricular framework for a social justice driven STEM curriculum (i.e., STEMJ) within an out-of-school time program for Boston Public high school students (i.e., College Bound) at Boston College. Starting with a discussion of the authors’ ideological positionality within critical social justice discourses, the authors share how Bronfenbrenner’s (1994) General Ecological Model provides a conceptual framework for operationalizing social justice inquiry with and through STEM. Positioning this curriculum within the College Bound program’s overall design gives readers a sense of how the program’s College and Career, Identity and Society, and STEMJ curriculums work in tandem to support the programs desired outcomes of students’ increased critical consciousness and college matriculation. Lessons learned and future directions are also included in acknowledgement of the necessity of ongoing reflection and adaptation to fulfill the program’s ambitious goals.
      PubDate: Fri, 14 Apr 2017 11:36:15 PDT
  • Providing Equal Opportunity to Learn Science for English Language
           Learners: The Role of Simulated Language Learner Experiences in Teacher

    • Authors: Angela W. Webb et al.
      Abstract: English language learners (ELLs) are the fastest growing student population in our nation’s public school systems; yet, preservice and inservice teachers are commonly underprepared to teach science effectively to this group of students. Though obviously inequitable, providing ELLs with poor or subpar science instruction denies them their civil right to equal opportunity to learn science. In this paper, we discuss simulation as a promising way to prepare preservice elementary teachers to plan and deliver quality science instruction and robust opportunities to learn to ELLs.
      PubDate: Fri, 14 Apr 2017 11:36:11 PDT
  • "Returning to the Root" of the Problem: Improving the Social Condition of
           African Americans through Science and Mathematics Education

    • Authors: Vanessa R. Pitts Bannister et al.
      Abstract: The underachievement and underrepresentation of African Americans in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines have been well documented. Efforts to improve the STEM education of African Americans continue to focus on relationships between teaching and learning and factors such as culture, race, power, class, learning preferences, cultural styles and language. Although this body of literature is deemed valuable, it fails to help STEM teacher educators and teachers critically assess other important factors such as pedagogy and curriculum. In this article, the authors argue that both pedagogy and curriculum should be centered on the social condition of African Americans – thus promoting mathematics learning and teaching that aim to improve African communities worldwide.
      PubDate: Fri, 14 Apr 2017 11:36:06 PDT
  • Editor's Introduction

    • Authors: Catherine Scott
      Abstract: This issue of Catalyst aims to present a collection of works that examines the role of STEM education in aiding in these opportunities not only for the PK-12 classroom, but also in the college classroom and through pre-service educator training.
      PubDate: Fri, 14 Apr 2017 11:36:02 PDT
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