Arts and Humanities
Though footnotes may seem like technicalities in the sciences, work in these disciplines is by no means independent of textual sources. How often are sources checked? In the unique case of D. L. Rosenhan’s celebrated—and as we now know, fabricated—study ‘On Being Sane in Insane Places’, a review of any of several listed sources (or even an ordinarily attentive reading of the text itself) would have suggested strongly that something was not right. Had readers examined Rosenhan’s sources with ordinary care, so many misrepresentations would have been uncovered that the credibility of the entire performance would have come into question. In the absence of due diligence, serious abuses can, and in this instance did, go undetected for decades. Regardless of the presumption that the humanities are tied to pre-existing texts as the sciences are not, or even that the sciences free us from dependence on the past and its works, the evaluation of published work will require the scrutiny of sources as long as sources are used.
© 2021 Stewart Justman
Justman, Stewart, "Below the Line: Misrepresented Sources in the Rosenhan Hoax" (2021). Global Humanities and Religions Faculty Publications. 13.