Dr. Carrie Mott is a feminist geographer recently hatched from the graduate program at University of Kentucky, and even more recently installed as an assistant professor at Rutgers University. She lists among her research interest “resistance” (she’s for it), “Boundaries” (she’s against them), and “difference” (which she’s for when it’s the right kind, and against when it’s not). She’s also into “non-Euclidian spatialities,” which has little to do with Euclid and a great deal to do with “Race,” “Settler Colonialism,” and “Critical Race Theory.”
Dr. Mott co-authored (with an old friend of mine) “Not Everyone Has (the) Balls: Urban exploration and the persistence of masculinist geography,” and is said to be at present hard at work on something called Geographies of Whiteness.
Dr. Mott recently recently drew notice for an article she wrote with Daniel Cockayne, another geographer, who lists among his research interests, “Affect,” “Work,” “sexuality,” “Desire,” and “Financial Capitalism.”
Given the laser-like focus of their research interests, you will not be surprised to learn that Drs. Mott and Cockayne deplore “the reproduction of white heteromasculinity of geographical thought and scholarship,” and that they have consequently devised a “feminist and anti-racist technology” to, as Dr. Mott might put it, cut the balls off of this beast.
The technology they propose is a progressive hack of the already sleazy citation index system. Those of you outside the system need to understand that a record is kept of the number of times a paper is cited in the footnotes to other papers, and that a paper with a lot of citations is a sort of “top forty” hit. What is more, an academic with a lot of “top forty” hits is a sort of heart-throb, or superstar. Citations can be cashed in for dollars, which is why scholars devoted to the life of the mind look upon boosting their number as a very big deal.
It’s even a big deal way, way down the list, among the utterly nugatory papers that have, say, twenty-five citations. Twenty-five is, after all, more than twelve. And this is why the motto of every academic is:
Friends Don’t Let Friends Go Un-cited.
This motto explains perhaps half of the titles in the ponderous lists of works cited that one finds freighting the back-end of an academic paper nowadays.
What Drs. Mott and Cockayne propose is to further corrupt this system by consciously boosting the citation rates of geographers without balls, geographers of color, and queer geographers. In other words, their motto is:
Progs Don’t Let Progs Go Uncited.
There is, I’m afraid, one flaw in this technology. All it could possibly do is punish the Progs who have balls, lack color, or swim in the sexual mainstream.
UPDATE (7/17): I now see that Takimag covered this story in its weekly roundup. Wouldn’t want to let that go uncited.