Alan Sokal

Professor of Physics, New York University

Papers by Alan Sokal on the "Social Text Affair"

"Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity"
This is the original "parody" article, published in Social Text #46/47, pp. 217-252 (spring/summer 1996).

Available in three formats:

"A Physicist Experiments with Cultural Studies"
This is the article in which I reveal the parody, published in Lingua Franca, May/June 1996, pp. 62-64.

Available in three formats:

Also available in German and in Finnish.

"Transgressing the Boundaries: An Afterword"
Here I explain in more detail why I wrote the parody. This article was submitted to Social Text but rejected by them on the grounds that it did not meet their intellectual standards. It has now appeared in Dissent 43(4), pp. 93-99 (Fall 1996) and, in slightly different form, in Philosophy and Literature 20(2), pp. 338-346 (October 1996).

Available in two formats:

"A Plea for Reason, Evidence and Logic"
Transcript of a talk presented at a forum at New York University on October 30, 1996. It was reprinted in New Politics 6(2), pp. 126-129 (Winter 1997). A slightly expanded version of this talk was presented at the Socialist Scholars Conference (New York, March 30, 1997) and was published under the title "Truth, Reason, Objectivity and the Left" in the Economic and Political Weekly (Bombay), April 18, 1998, pp. 913-914; and, in further revised form, in Mistaken Identities: The Second Wave of Controversy over "Political Correctness", edited by Cyril Levitt et al. (Peter Lang Publishing, New York, 1999), pp. 285-294.

"Les mystifications philosophiques du professeur Latour"
"Professor Latour's Philosophical Mystifications"
Reply to an article by Bruno Latour. Published in Le Monde, 31 January 1997, page 15.

"What the Social Text Affair Does and Does Not Prove"
Published in A House Built on Sand: Exposing Postmodernist Myths about Science, edited by Noretta Koertge (Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 9-22. Reprinted, in slightly different form, in Critical Quarterly 40(2), pp. 3-18 (Summer 1998). Also available in Japanese.

"Impostures Intellectuelles" / "Fashionable Nonsense" (by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont)
Book first published in French by Éditions Odile Jacob, October 1997. Click here for a brief summary, and here for the first chapter, both in French. The second French edition -- which is much revised, and includes a new preface responding to our critics -- was published in March 1999 by Livre de Poche (price 50 FF), and can be ordered on-line from FNAC.

The English edition was published in the UK in July 1998 by Profile Books under the title Intellectual Impostures; it can be ordered on-line from Internet Bookshop or It was published in the US in November 1998 by Picador USA, an imprint of St. Martin's Press, under the title Fashionable Nonsense; it can be ordered on-line from Barnes and Noble or Click here for the first chapter in English (but without footnotes).

Lecturers who are considering the book for potential student use may obtain an academic inspection copy: please direct your requests here for UK, Europe and the British Commonwealth, and here for US and Canada.

Translations into Catalan, Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal) and Spanish have recently been published. Click here for the preface in Portuguese.

Translations into Chinese (Taiwan), Hungarian,, Polish and Romanian are in the works. I will post more information as it becomes available.

For reviews of Impostures Intellectuelles / Fashionable Nonsense, click here.

"The Furor over Impostures Intellectuelles"
"Les réactions face à la parution d'Impostures Intellectuelles"
"Réponse à Vincent Fleury et Yun Sun Limet"
Article, by Jean Bricmont and Alan Sokal, published in the Times Literary Supplement (London), 17 October 1997, p. 17 and, in slightly modified form, in Libération (Paris), 18-19 October 1997, p. 5. Also available in Hungarian and Spanish.

"Du bon usage des métaphores"
Reply to an article by Jean-Marc Lévy-Leblond. Published in La Recherche, November 1997, page 8.

"Les critiques de Derrida et de Dorra ratent leur cible"
Reply, by Jean Bricmont and Alan Sokal, to articles by Jacques Derrida and Max Dorra. Published in Le Monde, 12 December 1997, page 23. Also available in Portuguese.


Commentary by other people


Reviews of Impostures Intellectuelles / Fashionable Nonsense

Some books of interest

Other useful Web sites on the "Social Text Affair" / Physics / GSAS / NYU

-- last modified 8 September 2000