• Prof Publishes Important New Academic Theory: ‘F*** Nuance’

    A sociology professor at Duke University is making waves in what can be a rather dry field by publishing a paper with the provocative title “Fuck Nuance.”

    “Seriously, fuck it,” the abstract says.

    Professor Kieran Healy presented his paper last week at the annual conference of the American Sociological Association. Healy uses the paper to argue the modern scholars are drowing their papers in excessive nuance and shades of grey that cause them to steer clear of anything resembling a strong, forceful argument.

    According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Healy’s paper has been downloaded over 12,000 times since last Thursday, which may not seem like much but is a very large amount in the esoteric corners of modern academia, where some papers may only be looked at by a handful of experts and graduate students.

    “[You] find yourself saying nothing more than ‘It’s more complicated than that’ and then giving a list of ways that it is,” Healy told the Chronicle to illustrate the pitfalls of being nuanced. “The world’s a messy place — it’s always “more complicated than that.”

    Healy said the idea came to him because a colleague decided to hold an entire conference panel on the topic of “The Promise and Pitfalls of ‘Nuance’ in Sociological Theory” (buy your tickets now!) and invited him to write a paper titled “Against Nuance.”

    “I said, ‘If you’re going to write a paper like that, you should really just name it ‘Fuck Nuance’ instead.’ And now here we are,” said Healy.

    Ironically, Healy’s paper shows a great deal of nuance, identifying three major “nuance traps” that writers fall into. He also responds to critics in a nuanced manner, granting that greater complexity may sometimes be justified in particular circumstances and situations.

    But overall, “we are glutted with nuance,” Healy says. “I say, fuck it.”

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