oa South African Journal of Higher Education - A comment on critiques of the article Age- and education-related effects on cognitive functioning in colored South African women

Volume 33 Number 4
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



A recently published article on the cognitive functioning of coloured women, authored by five Stellenbosch University academics received much criticism from those in the academy and those outside. The public outcry focused mainly on racial essentialism evident in the article. But, there were also other criticisms, which focused on the scientific merit of the article, the peer-review process and ethical regulation at Stellenbosch University. In this article, I revisit some of the criticisms levelled against the research reported in the article, which was published in the journal Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition, and argue that criticisms raised in the wake of the publication should be contextualised within broader debates. I aver that our response to racism in science should not concern merely exorcising racism from science content but that modern western science needs to be decolonised. Furthermore, an analysis of peer-review and ethical regulation in the Nieuwoudt et al. (2019) case should not focus simply on whether reviewers did their work or not, but that the dominant systems of peer-review and ethics creep in the neoliberal university should come under scrutiny.

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