Cite Black Women: A Critical Praxis

A RoRI seminar with The Cite Black Women Collective

Christen A. Smith (The Cite Black Women Collective)

The politics of citation are often considered a purely academic, bibliographic exercise. However, the practice of citation is a keenly political one that is imbricated with race and gender politics.

In this talk, we explore the politics of inequality hidden within the practice of citation by considering the experiences of Black women. What does it look like to dismantle the patriarchal, white supremacist, heterosexist, imperialist impetus of the neoliberal university (and its accomplices) by centering Black women’s ideas and intellectual contributions?

Historically, the university has exploited Black women’s labor, appropriated our ideas and refused to give us the appropriate credit for our work. Citing Black women is, therefore, a project of radical refusal with revolutionary possibilities.

If universities and oppressive spaces of knowledge production seek to silence and erase Black women, then acknowledging and centering us holds revolutionary possibilities.

This talk explores the revolutionary possibilities and the political stakes of citation as a radical Black feminist praxis.

Following the experience of the Cite Black Women movement, it considers how we can redress inequality through a radical engagement with citation as not only intellectual practice but also as political intervention.


The Speakers

Christen A. Smith is a Black feminist anthropologist and the creator of Cite Black Women – a campaign that brings awareness to the race and gender politics of citation, and the erasure of Black women’s intellectual contributions in global society. In 2018 Cite Black Women was listed as one of the Top 10 Issues by Essence Magazine; featured by The Times Higher Education of London.

Christen is an associate professor of anthropology and African and African diaspora studies, and director of the Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

Joy Owango from the Training Centre in Communication offers responses to the seminar. The seminar is chaired by Ludo Waltman, deputy director at the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University.