Citations to Women in Theory

Tue Jun 25, 2013

After reading Kieran Healy’s latest post about women and citation patterns in philosophy, I wanted to revisit the co-citation graph I had made of five journals in literary and cultural theory. As I noted, one of these journals is Signs, which is devoted specifically to feminist theory. I didn’t think that its presence would skew the results too much, but I wanted to test it. Here are the top thirty citations in those five journals:

Butler J 1990 117
Jameson F 1981 90
Butler J 1993 72
Lacan J 1977 71
Derrida J 1978 64
Foucault M 1977 61
Chodorow Nancy 1978 60
Gilligan C 1982 60
Fish Stanley 1980 57
Foucault M 1978 56
Spivak G C 1988 54
Bhabha H K 1994 54
Derrida Jacques 1976 53
Benjamin W Illuminations 53
Foucault M 1980 52
Althusser L 1971 51
Said Edward W 1978 51
DE Man P 1979 50
Foucault M 1979 49
Laclau Enesto 1985 48
Hardt M 2000 48
Zizek Slavoj 1989 47
Derrida Jacques 1994 46
Benjamin Walter 1969 45
Lyotard J-f 1984 44
Foucault Michel 1980 44
Anderson B 1983 44
Williams Raymond 1977 42
Frye Northrop 1957 41
Fuss D 1989 40
Irigaray L 1985 40

There are eight women (I’m counting Chantal Mouffe) in the top thirty, and Judith Butler is the most-cited author. To test my intuition that literary theory journals cite female authors more than analytic philosophy, I decided to replace Signs with College Literature. (Here is the co-citation network. Again, these work best with Safari and Chrome.)

Here are the top thirty most cited authors in that corpus:

Jameson F 1981 100
Lacan J 1977 75
Fish Stanley 1980 66
Derrida J 1978 65
Bhabha H K 1994 60
Benjamin W Illuminations 59
Butler J 1990 57
Derrida Jacques 1976 57
Althusser L 1971 56
Bakhtin M M 1981 56
Foucault M 1977 56
DE Man P 1979 52
Lyotard J-f 1984 49
Zizek Slavoj 1989 48
Frye Northrop 1957 48
Derrida Jacques 1994 48
Foucault M 1979 48
Benjamin Walter 1969 48
Hardt M 2000 46
Anderson B 1983 44
Laclau Enesto 1985 43
Marx K Capital 43
Said Edward W 1978 42
Gilroy P 1993 41
Barthes Roland 1977 41
Williams Raymond 1977 40
Freud S Interpretation Dream 40
Jameson Fredric 1991 40
Culler Jonathan 1975 40
Bass Alan 1982 40
Derrida J 1981 39

Butler and Mouffe (whose name doesn’t appear because of the way the citation data is formatted) are the only women in the top thirty (unless I missed something!).

I don’t want to draw any major conclusions from this data, but I’m a bit surprised. Neither of these citation corpora have been cleaned up as much as Healy’s has, for instance, and the choice of journals clearly affects the outcome. The journals I chose were ones that I happened to think might be representative of literary theory and also happened to be in the Web of Science database; many obvious candidates were not.