Vol. 37 No. 2 (2022)
By Anne-Maria B. Makhulu, Christen A. Smith
Anthropology continues to grapple with pervasive racism and sexism. Although we have made strides to distance ourselves from our colonial roots, our field remains dominated by white men. More pointedly, despite the diversity of our discipline, people of color generally, and Black women particularly, continue to be excluded from the anthropological canon. Nowhere is this more evident than in the relative absence of Black women from the bibliographies and citational rituals of mainstream anthropology. Although Black women have been practicing, theorizing, and revolutionizing North American anthropology since Zora Neale Hurston’s groundbreaking work in the early twentieth century, they have remained largely excluded from our disciplinary conceptualizations of what constitutes serious anthropological theory. Inspired by the work of Cite Black Women, this colloquy critically examines the race and gender politics of citation in anthropology and the urgent need for anthropologists to reimagine “conceptual collaboration” to move our discipline toward justice. The anthropologist Lynn Bolles (2013) notes, “If the citation wars have meaning in the modern academy . . . then in both short and long runs African American scholars are/will be faceless and voiceless.” With the advent of the #MeToo movement and with increasing attention paid to the politics of authorship and representation inside and outside of the academy, this colloquy critically reflects on how anthropologists might re-think approaches to theory, methodology, conceptual framing, and pedagogy to bring Black women to the center of anthropological debates.
anthropology; Black women; citation; racism; sexism