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Politics of Citation

We’ve talked some about how to enter conversations and the “best way” of citing previous work. I’ve made my stance clear in that I value engagement with directly relevant scholarship and do not prefer the vast amount of citation dropping without that engagement. Though, citation dropping does mark the space and show reviewers and readers the big conversations you are entering so there’s a line that comes with practice and experience.

The politics of citation can mean that there is a space to acknowledge past practices (through citation) and then to make your move to other citational practices. This can strengthen your own position by showing an understanding of past (incomplete) conversations as you bring in more diverse and relevant scholarship. This is part of where you have to find your space and voice as a new scholar. There is no right way. Just your way, but it does need to be an informed positionality.

The bottom line is that citation practices are tricky–like everything else related to research.

Following are some different perspectives on citation practices. As part of your growth as a researcher, you have to find the spot where you feel comfortable with who you cite and how you cite them.

Making Feminist Points

Deborah Levy on writing and citing

Scholarship as collaboration

Racial Politics of Citation

Citations matters

We should without doubt pay attention to how and whom we cite.

As students, you need to gain an awareness of citing and recognizing nonwhite (and non-male), differently abled, and other under represented groups of scholars. The idea that citation is political also encourages us to come back to bigger questions such as

  • what does it mean to know?
  • what does knowledge do? and for whom? to whom?
  • what is the role of knowledge making and the impact of citations on that?
  • what impact is there when you leave out certain traditions or do not incorporate other traditions?


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