Who speaks for us? Lessons from the Pinker letter
Itamar Kastner, Hadas Kotek, Anonymous Anonymous, Rikker Dockum, Michael Dow, Maria Esipova, Caitlin Green, Todd Snider
May 2021

Since its publication in July 2020, the Open Letter to the LSA regarding Steven Pinker has evoked many passionate reactions. This commentary discusses the letter's reception within the field of linguistics and outside of it, in news outlets as well as on social media, from the viewpoint of junior scholars who are greatly troubled by its aftermath. We document a thorough timeline of events, and go on to show a one-sided coverage of the letter in the mainstream media, including demonstrable falsehoods concerning the letter, its signatories, and the LSA itself. We then show how, within linguistics, reaction from some senior colleagues has focused on general calls for good-will, without addressing the sources of disagreement. Our conclusion is that the field has failed to hear and represent the views of many members, and so we trace the reasons for this non-engagement.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005381
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Submission withdrawn from Language
keywords: discipline of linguistics, power structures, linguistics in the media
previous versions: v2 [January 2021]
v1 [August 2020]
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