Dear Routledge Editorial Team

It was with great bewilderment, followed by revulsion, that we received the news that Routledge has decided to remove the article “The Walls Spoke When No One Else Would” from the book Sexual Misconduct in Academia. The chapter analyzes the complexities of structural sexual harassment and power abuses in academia through the auto-ethnographic method, referring to a specific renowned research center in Europe. Significantly, it also points to the fact that such misconduct is by no means isolated to that specific academic institution and is a widespread problem. Faced by this indefensible and unfounded act of censorship and disregard of scientific works that move beyond the dominant western patriarchal approaches that are being widely questioned across the world, we have decided to publish the manifesto “Todas Sabemos”/”We All Know” once again. In doing so, we reiterate our solidarity with the authors of the chapter, and with all the other victims of abuse in that specific research center and elsewhere. Such publication has allowed many of us to understand and process, on an empirical and theoretically deeper level, some of the power abuses that many of us have experienced in academia. The chapter complies with the criteria of a scientific contribution, and it is an excellent read that scrutinizes the depths of the problem in academia. To our knowledge, however, there has not been the slightest transparency about Routledge’s retraction of the chapter. It is indeed deeply problematic that such a prestigious publisher disregards the position and protests by the editors of the book and the authors of the chapter. In the words of  Isabella Gonçalves, the Brazilian deputee who identified herself as one of the victims mentioned in the chapter, this elimination constitutes an “international scandal”. By censoring the chapter, Routledge is not only bypassing and disrespecting academic/scientific procedures; the renowned editorial is also promoting the effacement of sexual harassment and power abuses in academia, Routledge is effectively partaking in the silencing mechanisms that have been at play for too long in order to kill the noise of those who speak against such abuses. 

This deafening silence to which Routledge contributes corrodes the centers of knowledge and gradually ostracizes and destroys hundreds of careers and people, especially women and those who are more exposed to racist, ethnocentric or classist prejudice. More than one of these conditions characterize the survivors who have given their painful testimony, and we are particularly concerned that indigenous women’s accounts are being denied authority. This is the case of Miye Nadya Tom, Native US American and co-author of the chapter, and Moira Millán, Mapuche activist who supported the article’s allegations and, even before its publication, reported her experience of abuse when she was invited by said research center to lecture at a graduate seminar. 

Nonetheless, the chapter already has its own life, and keeps circulating. 

We demand that the editorial immediately republishes the entire book, article included. 

We demand that the scholars put in the spotlight by the article cease all persecution of the researchers and the other victims that have come forward. 

We demand that those scholars start walking the talk, and be consequent with their writings. This includes making themselves available for a real process of restorative justice.  

We demand that academic institutions, including academic presses, seriously commission diverse and unbiased task forces to bring about reparations for the practices of abuse fostered by the racist, capitalist and patriarchal system of which they are part - in a historical and immediate sense. 

We all know. 

We know much more than can be said in these few lines. We know that there are many denunciations of sexual, moral and intellectual misconduct. And we know that the usual thing is that nothing happens; it all gets wiped under the carpet. This drives us mad and furious, time after time. And this time we want to reiterate that the censored chapter is a material force that cannot be erased. Routledge has to decide whether it wants to remain a publisher whose scientific and quality standards are reliable, for the authors who print there and for all who read it. Submitting its criteria to censorship, whatever it may be, is an attack too violent on the social and human sciences that it intends to disseminate. It is Routledge, together with the authors and editors of the prohibited text, who are at stake.

The writers of the “We All Know” Manifesto

by várias
Mukanda | 4 September 2023 | Routledge, Sexual Misconduct in Academia