This is a challenge for all of us:
Reflect on the way you approach referencing the work of others in your own writing, presenting and thinking. Whose work do you build on to make arguments, describe the field and the problems you engage in your work? Who are you citing, and why do you cite them (and not others)?
Consider what you might want to change about your academic citation practices. Who do you choose to link and re-circulate in your work? Who gets erased? Who should you stop citing?
Sara Ahmed (2013) describes citation practices as a “rather successful reproductive technology, a way of reproducing the world around certain bodies.” Citation “structures” form disciplines, Ahmed tells us. “The reproduction of a discipline can be the reproduction of these techniques of selection, ways of making certain bodies and thematics core to the discipline, and others not even part.”
Indeed, our practices of citation make and remake our fields, making some forms of knowledge peripheral. We often cite those who are more famous, even if their contributions appropriate subaltern ways of knowing. We also often cite those who frame problems in ways that speak against us. Over time, our citation practices become repetitive; we cite the same people we cited as newcomers to a conversation. Our practices persist without consideration of the politics of linking projects to the same tired reference lists.
We invite you to join a year-long Citation Practices Challenge (April 2015-April 2016). We want to interrogate the techniques of selection in our own work. We desire to be more intentional about our citation practices, to more fully consider the politics of citation. We aim to stop erasing Indigenous, Black, brown, trans*, disabled POC, QT*POC, feminist, activist, and disability/crip contributions from our intellectual genealogies.
Make a vow and make it public. Trace what happens in your work. Come back together next year (and online using #citationchallenge) to share what happens.
To join the Citation Practices Challenge, sign up here. You will share keywords from your work and name your own citation intentions.
Throughout the year, we will send tips, meditations, and strategies for renovating your citation practices and techniques of selection.
Ahmed, S. (2013). “Making Feminist Points.” Feministkilljoys. Accessed April 22, 2015. http://feministkilljoys.com/2013/09/11/making-feminist-points/
Citation Practices Challenge Organizers are
K. Wayne Yang