Culture

Feminist Geographers Warn Against Citing Too Many White Men in Scholarly Articles 

(Photo: Piotr Marcinski/Dreamstime)
The scholars warn against perpetuating 'white heteromasculine hegemony.'

Two geologists have warned against citing too many white men and/or too many “established scholars” in scholarly articles, because doing so contributes to “white heteromasculinism” and oppression. 

“To cite only white men . . . or to only cite established scholars . . . does a disservice to researchers and writers who are othered by white heteromasculinism,” Rutgers University professor Carrie Mott and University of Waterloo professor Daniel Cockayne state in a piece for Feminist Journal of Geography

Mott and Cockayne ask readers to vet the races and genders of the scholars that they intend to cite, warning that a failure to do so could result in the “marginalization of women, people of color, and those othered through white heteromasculine hegemony.” 

In an interview with Campus Reform, Mott said that she became inspired to speak out about this issue when she discovered that more white men were being cited than people from other groups. Campus Reform reports that it asked her whether there were simply a larger number of white men in the field. She apparently did not answer directly but stated, “The point we are trying to make is that important research done by traditionally marginalized voices . . . is often ignored by ‘mainstream’ and very well-established scholars—which means, in geography at least, white male Marxists.”

Now, I certainly do understand the value of including different perspectives from different people, but I still think that the most important thing to consider when deciding whether or not to cite a piece of scientific research from a scientific scholar should be its value to science. If a person’s research is going to enhance an article, then the person writing it should not have to think twice about citing it because of the source’s gender or race. 

All of that aside, the most confusing thing about this article — other than its social-justice jargon — is probably its warning against citing only “established scholars.” It’s been awhile since I’ve been in school, but I always thought that backing up your claims with well-credentialed sources was actually the best way to write an article, and that the credentials of the sources you’re citing do matter when you’re using them to support your argument. 

As Campus Reform notes, recent research by the American Association of Geographers found that only 37 percent of geology professors are women, and that only 33 percent of geography-related research articles are published by women. Perhaps some would argue that this is a chicken-or-the-egg situation: That there might be more women interested in geology if only more women were being cited in geology. You cannot argue, however, that it doesn’t make perfect logical sense that male geologists would be cited more often than female geologists, given the fact that there are more male than female geologists. 

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