British academic Helen Pluckrose is the co-author, with James Lindsay, of Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity—And Why This Harms Everybody. She was also part of an infamous academic hoax wherein “grievance studies” papers about subjects such as fat bodybuilding and dog park rape culture were accepted for publication in established journals. In this interview, Helen talks about how the social philosophy known as critical theory came to inform mainstream culture and politics and how we can understand it better while also stop pretending to understand what is fundamentally nonsense. She also gives a concise definition of “intersectionality” and offers tips on what to say when your friend or boss asks you to read White Fragility.
Helen Pluckrose is a liberal political and cultural writer and commentator currently focusing on postmodernism and Critical Social Justice scholarship and activism. She is the editor of Areo, a digital magazine looking at politics, culture, science and art from a broadly liberal and humanist perspective. Helen's background is in late medieval and early modern religious writing by and about women. She took part in the "grievance studies affair" with James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian and her book with James Lindsay breaking down Critical Social Justice scholarship is entitled Cynical Theories: How Universities Made Everything about Race Gender and Identity - And How This Harms Everyone.