Last March, Jacques Pluss was fired from his job as an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University soon after it came to light that he was a prominent member of the National Socialist Movement of the United States. This weekend, in an online essay titled "Now It Can Be Told: Why I Pretended to Be a Neo-Nazi," Mr. Pluss purports to reveal his true intentions in joining the white supremacist group: He did it all for scholarship. . . .
Citing Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, the medievalist Ernst Kantorowicz, and the English Romantic poets, Mr. Pluss says he developed a highly participatory theory of historical investigation. "It slowly yet surely dawned on me," he writes, "that any attempt to understand a group, a movement, or an individual psyche, would have to include becoming, as much as an individual can, the subject under study."
To that end, Mr. Pluss joined the National Socialist Movement in February 2005 and soon began serving as host for a weekly Internet radio show called White Viewpoint, on which he railed against the "browning of America" and described Fairleigh Dickinson's treatment of him as "Hebrew" and "lawyerly." Within a few weeks of joining, he became a national officer of the group. He continued as a member until October. . . .
Perhaps the strangest part of Mr. Pluss's account is his claim that he engineered his own dismissal from Fairleigh Dickinson in order to suffer the kind of public marginalization often experienced by neo-Nazis. . . .