Peto’s Holocaust education polemic not worthy of a master’s

Academic freedom is not freedom from standards


 

Jennifer Peto’s Master’s thesis is getting the University of Toronto a lot of attention. Her paper entitled “The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education” is stirring up students and educators around the country, and even became a topic of discussion in provincial legislature. Peto argues that two Holocaust education programs, the March of Remembrance and Hope, which takes non-Jewish youth to visit Nazi death camps, and the March of the Living Canada, a similar trip for Jewish youth, are instruments of Zionist propaganda. In her abstract, Peto writes that these programs “obscure Jewish privilege, deny Jewish racism and promote the interests of the Israeli nation-state.”

Loosely translated, Peto’s thesis amounts to something in the realm of: “I’m onto you, you rich Jews. You’re using the Holocaust to deny your privileged status and pursue your Zionist exploits!” Actually, that language isn’t far from what Peto uses in her paper. But if Peto wants to spend her time typing foolishness at her laptop, that’s her choice. Academic freedom shouldn’t deny even the most nonsensical of pursuits. But academic freedom does not mean freedom from academic standards, and unfortunately, Peto’s paper seems to blur the line. After trudging through more than 100 pages of political hyperbole and unsubstantiated claims, it seems questions should be raised about the conception of academic standards at U of T’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) where Peto was awarded her master’s degree.

Unsupported claims pepper Peto’s paper. For example, she argues that youth on the March of the Living (MOL) trip are “taught that their whiteness can only be maintained through racism, both in supporting Israel and [. . .] benefiting from racism and imperialism in their home” [p.98]. Read that sentence again, bearing in mind that Peto did not interview a single MOL participant—nor did she speak with any organizers, tour guides or chaperones. Yet perhaps through some sort of hegemony-sniffing ESP, Peto knows these kids are taught racist ideas about upholding their whiteness and power through imperialism.

Since Peto didn’t speak with any actual participants before reporting on what they were learning, I decided I would speak to one myself. I was put in touch with a 19-year-old Queen’s University student who went on MOL three years ago, and, for 10 minutes, did more primary source research on the topic than Peto did for her entire Master’s thesis. To avoid getting swept up in the controversy, the student asked that her name be withheld.

One of the more striking positions Peto asserts in her paper is that MOL “works to produce young Jewish subjects who feel intensely threatened and victimized, despite the privilege they actually hold” [p.79].

Of course, Peto failed to cite the bar napkin from which she sourced that tidbit, so I asked the real life participant what she took from the experience: “Of course, there was an intense sadness,” the student told me. “But it made me want to stand up. Not just against what we were seeing but against all abuses of human rights.”

Referring to the trip’s chaperones, the student said, “They told us that as much as we say ‘never forget,’ similar things still happen today. We’re not on March of the Living to play a passive role.”

Intensely victimized? This testimony reveals the opposite. Perhaps another would too? Yet Peto scoffs off such primary research as “beyond the scope of this project” [p.82]. Another questionable assertion that Peto makes is that the “Holocaust industry” focuses on the “uniqueness of the Holocaust,” causing Jews “to focus too much on their own victimhood, thereby preventing them from using the Holocaust to see parallels with other struggles” [p.44].

Is this true?

“The organization sent us packages before we left for the trip,” the Queen’s past participant says. “There was a whole section on modern genocides; Rwanda and Darfur.”

Of course, this is just testimony from one individual. Yet it speaks to the Pandora’s Box of information that would be revealed from conducting actual interviews.

The list of unsubstantiated claims in Peto’s paper goes on. She arrives at the conclusion that the other program she reviews, the March of Remembrance and Hope, is a Zionist project even though it “does not mention Israel in their [sic] literature” [p.64]. She concludes that the program targets non-whites because pictures of non-white participants outnumber those of white participants on its website. And she even stretches her imagination so far as to assert, “The organizers of the MRH are highlighting Muslim participation in order to celebrate the production of a particular ‘good’ Muslim subject [who] engages in Holocaust education” [p.66]. That conclusion, in case you were wondering, was derived by clicking through a website.

OISE has every right to approve Peto’s thesis for exploration, but it does not have to accept the validity of her argument. Her conclusions are based on faulty evidence (when based on evidence at all) and rely on secondary resources unrelated to the two Holocaust education programs in question. The 19-year-old  past participant may not have a PhD or penned as many works as the authors referenced in Peto’s paper, but her testimony is immeasurably more relevant and appropriate for such an analysis. A master’s student should know that, and should have interviewed a wide spectrum of sources. It is distasteful that Peto chose to attack those hoping to promote good, unacceptable that she invoked unsubstantiated claims to support her statements, but it is contemptible that the OISE award a graduate degree for such a polemic.


 

Peto’s Holocaust education polemic not worthy of a master’s

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  2. I would urge readers to read the “thesis” and judge for themselves. There is precedent of shooting the messenger when dealing with dissenting opinion or fact that fails to fit with orthodoxy.

    Urback conveniently fails to mention that Peta fully discloses that her research was confined to the marketing materials of the subject organizations. While this limitation may reflect poorly on the standards of the OISE, it does not necessarily negate Peta’s hypotheses.

  3. Are you Jewish, Urback?

  4. Would you like them to wear a yellow star on their clothes to be more easy to identify, Steve?

  5. This simply proves that a degree from OISE isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

    Just change the place over into a Madrassah and bring in some “scholars” from Teheran to consult on hanging gays from building cranes in downtown Toronto.

  6. Jennifer Peto, who is Jewish herself and has a grandmother who was a Holocaust survivor, presents compelling arguments in her paper.

    Sadly, fervent supports of Israel exploit the Holocaust to push support for discriminatory Israeli polices. So it’s no surprise that the typical cheerleaders of all things Israel, no matter how inhumane that state treats its minority citizens, are against Peto’s paper. Censorship or character assassination of those who criticize Israeli polices will only make those who wish to speak out more bold in their attempts at freedom of speech.

    People should read Peto’s paper in context and don’t take Urback’s or Macleans bias analysis of it. You should be able to find it online with a bit of search.

    Kudos to Peto and kudos to The University of Toronto!

  7. That the idealogues at OISE passed this thesis has caused th University of Toronto untold embarrassment. Academics around the world are following the story and unlike anti-Israel activists such as bill and steve, they know what an MA thesis is supposed to include – things such as primary research (e.g. interviewing participants and organizers) and a review of the relevant literature.

    As it happens there’s quite a few academic papers about Holocaust education. Peto looked at none of it.

    There are also reams of academic material and polls about the North American Jewish community and its attitudes toward race and everything else touched on in Peto’s paper. Again, she looked at none of it.

    And perhaps that’s a good thing for her, because all the facts, all the literature and all the accounts by people who have actually particpated in the March of the Living and the March of Remembrance and Hope contradict Peto’s assertions.

    Peto can write what she likes – and no one would ever much care because she’s a brainless nobody.

    The scandal is that one of Canada’s foremost universities granted her an MA for a thesis that is totally devoid of any scholarly content.

  8. Where is the evidence that Jennifer Peto’s well researched and highly informative thesis is “stirring up students and educators around the country”? Is it not the case that nobody – other than those who are criticized by Peto – would be troubled by this thesis if it wasn’t for right wing media hacks making an issue of it? Even now such apologists for Israeli genocide have made national news of Peto’s thesis I think most educators and students support freedom of expression and would find Peto’s thesis reasonable and well researched if they were to read it.

    Urback writes:

    ” “I’m onto you, you rich Jews. You’re using the Holocaust to deny your privileged status and pursue your Zionist exploits!” Actually, that language isn’t far from what Peto uses in her paper.”

    Please provide one example from Peto’s thesis where she comes close to employing such flippant rhetoric? Urback denies her readers the information that Peto is careful not to refer to “Jews” generically but to the subset of (North American) Ashkenazi Jews. Indeed chapter 1 is entitled “Ashkenazi Jews and Whiteness”. One can’t help wondering how such bigoted language came into the head of Urback if not from Peto’s paper.

    Peto does cite the testimonials of those who have been on MOL and MRH. Peto writes:

    “I acknowledge the limitations of this approach because organizers control the website and thus only certain testimonials are available. I still consider this a reliable source of data because my goal is to understand the intended effects of the trips; analyzing the testimonials that organizers consider to be success stories helps expose what they see as a desired outcome.”

    So if anything Peto’s research is more objective than if she had been given all the raw data to selectively quote herself. She gives those hegemons she critiques the benefit of choosing their most favourable quotations.

    Conversely, Urback claims to have interviewed someone who participated in the MOL. Yet Urback, unlike Peto, provides no source for us to see if the words she cites are true or false, accurate or inaccurate, invented or documented.

    Urback repeatedly accuses Peto of positing “unsubstantiated claims,” yet she provides little substantiation for her own claims. Urback fails to demonstrate that Peto lacks substantiation in her arguments. Readers should canvass Peto’s lengthy bibliography and citations to appraise how “unsubstantiated” her claims are.

    Like her smear and disinformation about my MA thesis – cited in this article as “nonsensical of pursuits” – Urback seeks to send a message to future students and scholars that certain scholarly investigations are heretical and should be avoided. The word “fatwah” keeps coming to mind.

    Urback – who I suspect is only a high school graduate – should stop pontificating about what constitutes academic standards in Canadian graduate schools. Obviously in both Peto and my cases we have several academics scrutinizing our work. Such professors, not the demagogues at Macleans or the National Post, are the ones who should decide what credible MA theses look like. Urback should take some 101 classes in Critical Thinking. She might learn that inventing anti-Semitic quotes (not all Jews are rich) and then associating such comments with a careful scholar’s anti-racist scholarship is below academic standards. Likewise, making unsubstantiated claims about a scholars supposed “unsubstantiated claims” is not a well known methodology for debunking those one disagrees with. If Urback wants to be a rhetorician and right-wing media hack then I have no problem with that. But please could she be published away from a blog which purports to care about Canadian campuses.

  9. Hey Blakney

    why don’t you use Peto as one of your sources when you write your next insane 9-11 conspiracy tome.

    “well researched and highly informative thesis” What a joke.

    By the way, have any new info on how the Zionists are responsible for 9-11?

  10. First, to you Joshua Blakeney. Clearly your feelings are still hurt from the author’s previous article about you. After all, your post reeked of transparent, vengeful attacks. You’re embarrassing yourself (again). Maybe you need to develop some thicker skin.

    Peto’s attempt to ascertain the intent of these organizations without speaking to the participants or organizers is lazy. Simple as that. Peto wants to figure out the intended effects of these trips? Well, there’s an easy way to figure it out. ASK! Peto says that interviewing participants was beyond the scope of her project. However, it is incomprehensible to consider that she even failed to interview representatives from MOL or MRH, while trying to determine the “intended effects” of the trips.

    When ascertaining intention, it is of the utmost importance to actually talk to the persons who participated. What was said to them? Did the organization forward a mission statement? Did they issue any handouts to the participants? Peto’s “research” was sufficient enough to compile a thesis plan, but lacks any time of intellectual depth and rigour to withstand even the most trivial level of criticism. Blakeney bizarre comparison of the amount of research that Peto did for her 100+ page MA thesis to the research that the author of this blog did for her 1000 word post is so ludicrous that it would be insulting to the intelligence of all the other readers of this post to explain why.

  11. Peto is courageous in entering this subject. Her thesis is well written. She is of course correct, which angers a lot of people. Yes I read the whole thesis. Hope we will hear more from this talented Canadian.
    Peter Simonsen

  12. Blakeney, Urback has a journalism degree from Ryerson. As far as I know all the Macleans on Campus bloggers are university students, most of them with experience writing for student or mainstream newspapers. Don’t make claims about people’s credentials without doing any research.

  13. Funny that you skip Peto’s extensive literature review based on the writings of a broad range of academics who write about the ‘whitening’ of Jewish communities in North America and their passage from among those being discriminated against to more privileged social sectors. This is a path that has also been traversed by Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans and many Slavic-Americans (Poles, Ukrainians, etc) after WWII. The ‘whitening’ of communities is an important aspect of the racial politics, geographies and histories of North America.

    It’s also interesting that you don’t mention Israel once, when Peto’s thesis is actually concerned with the way Holocaust education – something she highlights as a crucial genocide worthy of study (given her own upbringing as a descendant of Holocaust survivors) – is instrumentalized to promote Israeli militarism and policies of racial segregation in the occupied Palestinian territories. She does not have a problem with Holocaust education, but with these two particular problems.

    It’s also very typical of pro-Israel organizations to focus on the Rwandan and Darfuri genocides (which, again, should be studied), but never to speak about the much larger recent genocides in Iraq (the sanctions regime in the 1990s killed over 1-million children alone!) or the Democratic Republic of Congo (over 3.5-million dead). But of course, these last two genocides were authored by the US and its allies, so best not teach how these genocides came about to young kids we want to brainwash…

    Finally, I’m sure if I had access to your undergrad papers I would find a whole lot of excuses to deny you your journalism degree… :)

  14. I only skimmed the first 10 pages or so of Peto’s paper, but she clearly acknowledges the limitations of her approach. Furthermore, we can hardly take Urback’s suggestions that she makes “unsubstantiated claims” at face value since she her critique reads more like a polemic itself. It seems that Peto’s approach is more interpretative/analytic, but since she sets out to discuss and analyse *education materials* in fulfillment of an MA in *education*, I can see little reason to dismiss the work. A masters’ degree is not necessarily about the production of new research, but may point the way toward more definitive conclusions reachable in a PhD project. Of course, a more relevant critique of Peto’s thesis would come from her graduate committee, but who needs that when you have a Macleans polemicist/journalist available?

  15. Researching Jenny Peto herself, is something that speaks volumes to her reason’s for her rabid dog approach to jews/Zionists., her thesis an opinion piece states, “as a 15 ys old” she opines a teacher spoke about baruch goldstien in terms of honor, she mentions that one event scarred her and put her on the path of anti Israeli feelings, (re the temple of the patriarchs), that event actually happened when the writer was 16. I would like to Opine, that is just a red herring, this girl sadly was scarred by her community , her peers , her family , her teachers , for being an outed gay. These feelings of brutalit, sad as they were, were transmuted into the hate of the abusers ie her peers , I am a non homophobe. I can relate mind you, to being singled out as a young man, and being ostracized by my peers. This visceral hate that jenny holds for the Jewish community can be tracked in all of her endeavors and writings on the internet, a chair at Palestine house, queers for Palestine, the dead sea scrolls rally, the Israeli consulate sit in etc. One thing that is abundantly clear is the motivation to hate Jews and Israel that is in her every breath,has been inculcated into her by those (the malignant festering leftest movement and the islamist Palestinian radical movement) that use her as as a hateful naive easily manipulated (Jew with Grandparents who were themselves holocaust victims) tool a useful tool an ignorant jihadist tool.

  16. Urbak, did you see Defamation film made by Yoav Shamir before publishing your opinion?

  17. Bill says: December 11, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    “People should read Peto’s paper in context and don’t take Urback’s or Macleans bias analysis of it”

    It’s biasED. It’s an adjective. “Bias” is the noun. This is all over the internet and finding it in a discussion about a scholarly thesis is particularly cringe-worthy.

  18. RE: Jennifer Peto thesis
    I am Canadian, Jewish, of Ashkenazi background, white. My parents were Holocaust survivors-nearly everyone else in their families was murdered. Does that make them victims? Yes. Like other survivors, they immigrated to Canada with nothing, worked hard, made a modest living, gave their three children the opportunity to make something of themselves. Am I rich? No. Am I comfortable? Yes. Does that make me a powerful, privileged white Zionist Jew who has benefited from victimhood? No. it makes me a typical child of immigrant’s who had the good fortune to come to this country via parents who had lost almost everything and gained a lot through their own determination and hard work. Will I ever stop thinking of the Holocause or that we should forget ? No. Has it made me and others more aware of and compassionate toward ALL victims of atrocities? Yes. I am planning to visit my parents’ homeland, Poland. I am planning to visit Auschwitz, the gravesite of most of my relatives. I will not feel guilty. I will not wallow. I will honour the memories of the innocent.
    Goldie

  19. Unless an abstract no longer means what it used to, Peto does not limit her venom to Ashkenazi Jews (interesting term that containing, as it does, ‘nazi’ within it) as claimed by self-appointed Guardian-of-the-Koolaid, Joshua Blakeney.

    Peto’s and several other OISE theses’ abstracts suggest that ‘white privilege’ is an axiomatic starting point for ‘research’ at that august institution of higher learning. So much for ideological diversity.

    The Acknowledgements section of Peto’s thesis contains this beauty:

    “Finally, a huge thanks to my friends and comrades in the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid who teach me how to put this theory into practice.”

    The academic integrity question arising is: “Which came first — the (self-described) ‘theory’ or the (self-indulgent) practice?”

  20. Your Uncle Bingo says:
    “It’s biasED. It’s an adjective. “Bias” is the noun. This is all over the internet and finding it in a discussion about a scholarly thesis is particularly cringe-worthy.”

    Trivial and petty. Capitalize “Internet” if you are going to be throwing stones.

  21. Peto is an over-indulged tourist in other people’s conflicts whose screed is both immature and bilious. I dismiss her “thesis” with a wave of my hand.

    The OISE however, is really at fault here and seems to have become nothing more than a hot house nourishing institutionalized grievance politics.

    Oh and Blakeney, as for that money you received recently, I suggest you spend it on some remedial writing and grammar lessons. Your writing is barely at the level of a failing junior high school student.

  22. OISE should be known as “racism central”. Its primary function seems to be the relentless promotion of hatred against all thing and all persons, European.

    rm

  23. OISE should be called “racism central”. Its central purpose appears to be the relentless promotion of hatred against all things and all persons, European.

    rm

  24. I am fascinated by Joshua Blakeney’s response. Mu first question would be: which psychiatric condition has Blakeney been diagnosed with?

  25. As an aside, posting comments on the internet does not insulate one from libel.

  26. I read parts of the thesis since I was curious to see what she wrote after going on March of the Living myself a few years ago.

    There are a lot of factual errors. What bothers me about her research is it’s based on the March of the Living website, and the photo albums only.

    First of all, she writes that in Israel, groups are accompanied by armed security to keep the “big bad Palestinian” away. Yes, there is security. But let’s be realistic. There is a security situation in Israel. Regardless of ANY reason, it would be foolish to send students there without proper security measures. She also implies that we avoid Palestinian areas because they don’t belong in Israel. We know they are there. But, again, security is paramount. We’re not going to go to an area where there is a risk for attack.

    I’ll give an example, based on personal experience. One night, as I recall, the chaperones wanted to go to Ben Yehuda street in Israel so we can do some shopping. This is not a Palestinian area. However, in consultation with the Israel travel agency, due to security of going there at night, this idea was dropped.

    We went to the border between Israel and Lebanon. We know Lebanon exists. Why did we go? Because there was no security threat there at this time.

    As well, Peto writes that the purpose of the actual March of the Living- the walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau is not just a difference between life and death. It’s to show how the white Jewish Israeli is now strong. That’s also factually wrong. The idea explained to us is to show how the Nazi’s were not successful at exterminating the Jewish people.

    I can list many more. However, on the sole premise that she did not interview a single participant or organizer, and just based it on resources online, I think this thesis is an atrocity towards academic integrity. The purpose of this trip which she seems to ignore is the overall line of the trip is: “Never forget”. But it’s not “Never forget to ensure Israel exists”. The idea is based on not forgetting what can happen when hatred grows and how that can lead to events such as these.

    As a University, they have a moral obligation to ensure that theses that they accept at least are based on substantial evidence. Peto clearly did not, and her work is an insult to every participant of this trip.

    Finally, I agree with someone’s comment’s above. I find it very bothersome that Ann Coulter cannot speak, even if I don’t agree with her. However, it is OK to criticize Israel at such lengths as a thesis (and not just an afternoon event).

  27. “As a University, they have a moral obligation to ensure that theses that they accept at least are based on substantial evidence. Peto clearly did not, and her work is an insult to every participant of this trip.”

    And yet you simply assert that Peto’s level of evidence (which pertains to her argument concerning education materials) is insufficient for a masters’ thesis, without any mention for the standard criteria for evaluating such work. I think you – and most here – give the work entirely too much credit and greatly overstate the significance of its context. From a simple standpoint of fairness, there is no reason why Peto’s thesis should be singled out (apart from the hot button issue).

  28. The thing is, a thesis is supposed to be add “knowledge”. This doesn’t add knowledge, because it’s factually inaccurate. It’s the same thing if I wrote my thesis about South African Apartheid by watching a Hollywood movie. I suppose saying it’s an insult to all participants is a bit of a stretch. It’s just her argument is not sound because it’s based on photo albums and the MOL (March of the Living) mission statement.
    The whole premise of her thesis is that these trips, for these reasons, support her claim. However, due to the fact her evidence about these trips is based on thin air, it’s not academically sound.

    2 comments stand out:
    1. The University has an obligation to ensure that students’ work is not going to incite hatred based on factual errors, which it does not.

    And 2. Which I mentioned above. Again. Why is this work OK? But it is not OK to have a pro-Israeli speaker on campus? It is not OK for Ann Coulter to speak.

  29. Also. Her work is not based on education materials. It’s based on the website, and the photo albums. I can find education materials online very easily, on the March of the Living International website, that will already discredit most of her claims.

  30. On Academic Freedom and Academic Witch Hunts

    As a graduate of OISE, I am increasingly alarmed by the growing smear campaign against my alma matter (OISE, and by extension, the University of Toronto).

    First, let me state for the record that I have read Jennifer Peto’s thesis. I believe the hypothesis of her thesis is legitimate matter for serious investigation; do particular education programs (in this case Holocaust education), promote a particular worldview? There is no difference between asking this question about Holocaust education and asking it of the curriculum taught by the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Communist Chinese government’s official curriculum, the Creationist movement in the United States or the textbooks of the Palestinian Authority. Just because we may or may not agree with the politics of something does not exempt it from study.

    The obligation on any scholar (and on the advisor of a student scholar) is to ensure that the topic is handled professionally and treated properly, according to rigorous academic standards.

    I think many, if not most of us who have bothered to read this thesis have rightfully concluded that the author doesn’t even come close to proving her hypothesis, let alone following usual academic research standards. In fact, she makes it clear that she isn’t even going to bother trying, having stated that white Jews have no right to even be engaging in these kinds of educational programs to begin with (I refer you to the last paragraph on page 46 of her thesis in which she explicitly states this). The paper reads like it is somewhat of a narcissistic, self-aggrandizing journey in which the author references only a limited scope of literature and performs no original research to investigate a very difficult subject. In fact, she admits that she ‘didn’t have time’ to crosscheck her ‘observations’ of web-based materials by actually talking to anyone.

    However, notwithstanding the questionable value of this particular work, I am also very perturbed by the withering attacks on OISE (and by extension, UofT), especially through the pen of several journalists and many web ‘commentators’, and Werner Cohn’s superficial investigation of theses abstracts (which cannot be the basis for condemning a whole institution).

    First of all, there is nothing wrong with studying racism, colonialism, patriarchy and feminism, homophobia, or aboriginal and African experiences. And there is nothing wrong with incorporating reflective processes into one’s scholarship. Calling them ‘leftist’ or ‘politically correct’ is just plain ignorant. They are legitimate and important subjects of study and should not be minimized the way they are being treated in the populist press.

    The problem isn’t the subject matter, as many have construed. Just because the academy may be infiltrated here and there by bigotry and fascism, and have ‘members’ who seek to use the cover of scholarship, and expropriate the language of anti-racist and human rights education to mask their own hatred and racism, doesn’t nullify the work of the academy as a whole.

    OISE may (emphasis on “may”) be subject to some of this phenomenon, but this is a universal problem far beyond OISE. I have had personal dealings with some of this in the past and it’s not very easy to find the fortitude to deal with the rhetoric and angry self-righteousness contained in the work, but it is possible (a typical strategy is to condemn anyone who offers even a reasoned critique). In order to do so, we must apply the same academic standards of inquiry to their work as we demand of it, and expose the problems to the light. At the very least, a thesis or paper cannot be condemned without actually reading it.

    By judging without reading, and by issuing sweeping condemnations against the whole institution, we are throwing away far more examples of legitimate work, including many outstanding theses that have helped shape positive contributions to education generally, to anti-racist education more specifically, the study of genocide and, yes, Holocaust and Shoah education in particular. Reading the recent populist media attacks on OISE in light of the Peto thesis leaves one questioning all work coming out of OISE, which is an absolute travesty.

    The Provost of the University of Toronto, Prof. Cheryl Misak, has been quoted in the media as saying that freedom of inquiry lies at the very heart of the institution. I could not agree more. Let us examine each piece of inquiry and each scholar’s work individually with the freedom we all have to do so (Peto’s thesis along with others is available for free download over the Internet), rather than condemning the whole institution and throwing out the baby with the bathwater, as the old saying goes.

  31. I agree with your comments that we shouldn’t say OISE has only bad theses, and that we shouldn’t comment without reading her work.

    However, notwithstanding, her work as you said is “narcissistic” and follows no academic research standards, OISE and by association UofT is fully to blame for allowing such work to earn a Master’s. Since she didn’t try to make academically sound claims, the University shouldn’t have bothered to award her a degree.

    Bottom line is due to the fact she makes claims that are based on no research and are completely wrong, her Master’s should be revoked until her work is fixed.

    The only way she got this approved was because her supervisor agreed with her personal agenda. UofT is fully to blame and should be held accountable for allowing lies to be passed off as fact.

    Her hypothesis has merit. But in this form it is an insult to academic research.

  32. First of all, there is nothing wrong with studying racism, colonialism, patriarchy and feminism, homophobia, or aboriginal and African experiences.

    No, there is nothing wrong with studying such topics. The problem comes when “studying” isn’t the real intent. When someone comes from a political position and intends to “study” a topic from a very politicized viewpoint, and no one on the faculty appears to have the guts to challenge the huge assumptions a politicized view allows, then the quality of the education is seriously suspect. Was there no one in the faculty with a differing political viewpoint? I ask not because I consider political viewpoint important but in the absence of intellectual rigour it seems at least balancing the partisans against each other would be prudent.

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