More Thoughts on Scholarly Misconduct, and What We Can Learn from It

A Critical Response to Peter Jan Margry’s Article about the Bax Affair

in Ethnologia Europaea
Author:
Oscar Salemink University of Copenhagen o.salemink@anthro.ku.dk

Search for other papers by Oscar Salemink in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
and
Jojada Verrips University of Amsterdam

Search for other papers by Jojada Verrips in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close

On 9 September 2013 a commission consisting of Prof. Michiel Baud (University of Amsterdam), Prof. Susan Legêne (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) and Prof. Peter Pels (Leiden University) presented the report “Circumventing Reality: Report on the Anthropological Work of Professor Emeritus M.M.G. Bax”, which they had drafted at the request of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (from now on: VU) in the Netherlands. The anthropologist Mart Bax, who as professor of anthropology at the VU had practically retired in 2001 and formally in 2002,1 was shown to be a fraud, who made up numerous (non-existing) publications, and who had published about events (in Medjugorje, Bosnia) that never happened, and about places (in the province of Noord-Brabant, the Netherlands) that did not exist. This non-existing “empirical” material formed the basis for Bax’s theory of “religious regimes” and his academic career. Given Bax’s refusal to share information and sources about these events and places with the commission, they could not, however, positively prove that these events and places were invented. Yet, given the absence of historical evidence that a violent conflict had occurred between different Catholic groups in Medjugorje, Bax went down in the report and in history as a scientific confabulator and fraud.

  • Collapse
  • Expand