Twitter recruits profs to fight incivility and intolerance

Twitter, which has been widely accused of discriminating against conservatives, recently launched an initiative to fight “incivility” and promote “healthy conversation” among users.

The social media company announced the research initiative in a July blog post, describing it as an attempt to focus resources on remedying toxicity and promote “conversational health” on the platform.

To accomplish this, Twitter has assembled a team of nine professors to conduct research on “measuring healthy conversation” across the platform, dividing them into two groups with separate but related objectives.

The first group, led by Leiden University political science researcher Dr. Rebekah Tromble, will address the issue of “echo chambers” and online civil discourse, while the other group will explore ways of bridging gaps between different communities.

[RELATED: UGA Dean attacked on Twitter for having GOP friend]

Twitter has faced heavy criticism from conservatives in Congress, the media, and the Trump administration following claims that some conservative users have been secretly “shadow banned” by the social media entity, meaning their profiles did not appear in search results.

Shadow banning has made it difficult for users to search for the Twitter feeds of prominent conservatives, according to Vice News.

“The Republican Party chair Ronna McDaniel, several conservative Republican congressmen, and Donald Trump Jr.’s spokesman no longer appear in the auto-populated drop-down search box on Twitter,” Vice reports, “It’s a shift that diminishes their reach on the platform—and it's the same one being deployed against prominent racists to limit their visibility.”

Members of the House of Representatives, headed by Rep. Devin Nunes, are now exploring “legal remedies” to prevent Twitter’s rampant censorship of conservatives.

[RELATED: Twitter suspends student group for ‘promoting violence’]

Twitter has indicated that the accounts may have been flagged for “troll-like behavior,” saying that it has made changes to its platform so that “people contributing to the healthy conversation will be more visible in conversations and search.”

“In the context of growing political polarization, the spread of misinformation, and inc

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College offer courses on queering children the Bible

This school year, students across the country will attend courses on “Queering the Bible,” “Queering Childhood,” “Queering Theology,” and similar topics.

Students at Pomona College in Claremont, California, for instance, will have the opportunity to enroll in a brand new course titled “Queering Childhood,” which will examine “the figure of the Child and how this figuration is used by politics, law, and medicine to justify continued cultural investment in reproductive heteronormativity and productive ablebodiedness.” 

The course description explains that students will examine the childhoods of “queer and crip children,” as well as “childhoods against which the figure of the Child is articulated,” with reference to work related to “gender studies, childhood studies, disability studies, and queer theory.”

[RELATED: Princeton course will teach students to ‘read queerly’]

Colleges are not only attempting to “queer” childhood, they are teaching students to “queer” Christianity and religion in general, as well.

This fall, Eugene Lang College will offer a course titled "Queering and Decolonizing Theology,” where students will explore topics such as “the sexual ethics and ritualization found in the S&M community,” and “transgender Christs.”  

“Christian theology is often depicted as a violent colonial force standing in particular opposition to LGBTQI lives. However, over the last 30 years people of faith, activists, and theorists alike have rediscovered what is queer within Christianity, uncovered what is religious within secular queer communities, and used postcolonial theory to decolonize lived religious practices and theologies,” the course description asserts.

According to the college, the course “explores secular philosophies of queer and postcolonial theory as well as their critical and constructive application to religion,” focusing on topics like “the sexual ethics and ritualization found in the S&M community, transgender Christs, and the mestiza (or mixed) cultures of Latin America.”

[RELATED: Theology prof writes book connecting Christianity to racism]

Similarly, students at Harvard Divinity School will be able to attend a course on "Queer Theologies, Queer Religions" this fall, which wi

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Journal suspiciously quiet since dog rape culture article

The journal that published the viral article on “rape culture” in Portland dog parks has been unusually quiet amid mounting concerns that the article may have been a hoax.

For each of the past six years, Gender, Place, and Culture: a Journal of Feminist Geography (GPC) has published new articles throughout June, July, and August, typically printing four to seven new articles each month during the summer.

This year, however, an inspection of the journal’s output reveals that—aside from a single article in June—GPC has stopped issuing new articles since Helen Wilson’s head-turning study on “rape culture” and “queer performativity” in Portland dog parks was published on May 22.

That study increasingly appears to be a hoax, as Campus Reform exclusively reported.

[RELATED: Academic journal duped by author of ‘dog rape culture’ article]

Though Wilson claimed to hold a PhD in Feminist Studies, for instance, no such program in the United States has any record of her. 

Similarly, Wilson claimed to be affiliated with the “Portland Ungendering Research (PUR) Initiative,” but the website for that organization was not created until four days after she submitted her article on November 27, 2017, and has never included any content other than a disclaimer indicating that the site was being taken down.

Further, though Wilson claimed to have spent 1,000 hours in dog parks, a journal spokesperson confirmed last week that field notes aren’t reviewed during the peer-review process, meaning that editors have no way of verifying that Wilson actually conducted that research. 

[RELATED: Publisher questions credibility of ‘dog rape culture’ author]

The most recent piece GPC published was a brief “Expression of Concern” about Wilson’s article, which was posted less than two weeks after Campus Reform published the results of its investigation. That note indicates a suspected ethical breach regarding identity fabrication and misappropriation. 

Apart from that, GPC has published only one actual article in the nearly three months since Wilson’s piece became public—a study of “women’s activism in post-1991 Albania.”

Wilson, for her part, has declined to comment on the record. 

Although the journal has apparently stopped publishing new articles, al

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