Human Nature

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 346–350 | Cite as

Review of Alice Dreger’s Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science

(New York: Penguin Press, 2015)
  • Martin N. MullerEmail author

Assaults on free speech and academic inquiry are increasingly familiar in the present age of social media. Even as I started Alice Dreger’s compelling new book, Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science, Dreger’s colleague at Northwestern, author and film professor Laura Kipnis, was the target of a Title IX investigation for publishing an opinion piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education (Kipnis 2015a). Kipnis had criticized new codes regulating sexual relations on campus for infantilizing students “while vastly increasing the power of university administrators over all our lives” (Kipnis 2015b). Students at Northwestern clamored to be protected from these harmful ideas, simultaneously proving Kipnis’s point about the deterioration of campus discourse, and initiating the surreal and pointless investigation.

Although the charges against Kipnis were eventually dropped, the incident highlighted growing demands from students to be shielded from...


Alice Dreger Academic freedom Science Social justice Truth 


  1. Clancy, K., Nelson, R., Rutherford, J., & Hinde, K. (2014). Survey of Academic Field Experiences (SAFE): trainees report harassment and assault. PloS One, 9(7), e102172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Dreger, A. (2011). Darkness’s descent on the American Anthropological Association: a cautionary tale. Human Nature, 22(3), 225–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Kipnis, L. (2015a) Sexual paranoia strikes academe. The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 27.Google Scholar
  4. Kipnis, L. (2015b) My Title IX inquisition. The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 29.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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