Bad theory, critical violence, and the threat to freedom of thought

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Ross Harvey


This review article provides a close reading of Professor David Benatar's The Fall of the University of Cape Town: Africa's leading university in decline (Politicisweb Publishing, 2021). As Dr Harvey reads it, the book is an anatomical breakdown of what happens to a university when Critical Race Theory (CRT) manifests and gains ascendancy. The book, he argues, is the first that provides "a detailed description and explanation of the repercussions of terrible ideas like CRT on a single institution".

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How to Cite
Harvey, R. (2022). Bad theory, critical violence, and the threat to freedom of thought. The Africa Governance Papers, 1(2), 131–140. Retrieved from
Review Article
Author Biography

Ross Harvey

Dr Ross Harvey is Director of Research and Programmes at GGA. A natural resource economist and policy analyst, he has a PhD in economics from the University of Cape Town, and his thesis research focused on the political economy of oil and institutional development in Angola and Nigeria. He has worked as a senior researcher on extractive industries and wildlife governance at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), and as an independent conservation consultant. His particular focus at GGA is on helping to establish sustainable extractive industries in Africa.


Benatar, D. (2021). The Fall of the University of Cape Town: Africa’s leading university in decline. Politicsweb Publishing. University-Cape-Town-university-ebook/dp/B09L96NJRK/ref=tmm_kin_ swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Lukianoff, G., & Haidt, J. (2018). The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure. Penguin Press.

Pluckrose, H., & Lindsay, J. A. (2020). Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity – and Why This Harms Everybody. Pitchstone Publishing. Theories-Scholarship-Everything-Identity_and/dp/1634312023

Trueman, C. R. (2021). The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism and the Road to Sexual Revolution. Crossway.