In this post I follow a convention of including – wherever possible – images of key people cited as a reminder that although ideas are memetic and not particular to people, if we are to recognise acts of authorship it is useful to highlight that they are particular people with bodies. (Conventional citation hides gender even) bodies that provide the foundation for their thought. I think it’s important to somehow root their ideas in their bodies or at least try to make clear that these ideas aren’t abstract things floating around a library but were born of particular bodies.
The embarrassing fact is, as you will see, that the citations are almost entirely white men. Whose fault is this – the library’s? the academy’s? the discipline’s? mine? Well I am part of all of these (except the library) to varying degrees so it is my responsibility. This is not uncommon (the norm I think) but is still something to take responsibility for. I highly recommend reading Sarah Ahmed’s post about white men (for her current book she has a policy of not citing any white men).
So making visible this unsurprising bias is a small first step but the real business is to read more widely, something that probably requires the kind of firm policy that Ahmed is employing since every bookshelf is a sausagefest. So I wonder whether I should post this at all. I think there is something in it but it is undermined by an increasing sense of blinkered parochialism.