Thursday, May 18, 2006

Purloined Letters

I'm sure it's not tremendously interesting for most of you, but if you would like to read the report on Ward Churchill's academic misconduct, here's a link.

The plagiarism charges are fascinating. In one case, Churchill published an article under a pseudonym, which the committee found was not plagiarism. But, what's really bizarre is that his pseudonym was the name of a well-known scholar in the field! So, it's as if I published a work of history under the assumed name "Simon Schama".

The other two cases of plagiarism were more straightforward. In one case, he was sent a pamphlet by an environmental group and asked to write an article about their campaign. So, he basically copied the pamphlet and put his name on it. This reminds me of a girl I caught plagiarizing recently who had borrowed her friend's essay and copied it, and claimed that she didn't see the problem because everyone was writing on the same topic, so their essays would be "pretty much the same anyway."

The fabrications are pretty interesting as well. As somebody who encounters plagiarists regularly, it's interesting to me what a pattern there is to their behavior. Churchill plagiarized and falsified on academic work. But, he's also been accused of art fraud and passing himself off as a member of various native american tribes that say otherwise.

So, I find this all fascinating. And, since I've read the report and said that Churchill should be fired, it seems fair to link to it, so that others can decide for themselves.


The Pagan Temple said...

I remember seeing once on some kind of report, though I forget where (probably Fox) that showed Churchills paintings,then showed the ones that he was suppossed to have copied them from. They were almost exact duplicates. If I remember correctly, his defenders said he was just painting in that particular style. It looked more to me like the kind of thing where you copy the turtle on the machbook cover. Just make it a different size, or change it in some noticeable way, and you might be an artist. Only in this case it washard to even tell that much difference.

Rufus said...

Yeah, that whole story was weird. He said the guy let him copy his paintings, but the guy's son says otherwise. Oh, what a tangled web we weave.