Post Academic


Making a list: The most cited scholars in the humanities, 2007

"Foucault Party" by Primitivojumento (licensed by Creative Commons)

Over at the Chronicle‘s Brainstorm blog, gadfly professor and, somehow, one-time Post Academic commenter Mark Bauerlein has posted a list of the “Most cited authors of books in the humanities in 2007”, compiled by a dauntingly named Thomson Reuters’ ISI Web of Science.  Here’s a link to the list, originally posted at the Times Higher Education Supplement last year, charting which scholars were mentioned over 500 times in the journals compiled by Thomson Reuters.  Only in the humanities would a list of citations from 2007 released in 2009 make news in 2010, but I digress.  Hey, it’s worth reposting and discussing if only because we get to use the Wikimedia Commons picture of a “Foucault Party” (with Freud and Bourdieu too) above.

So who won?  Check below the jump, though the photo gives you a big hint…

The top 10:

Michel Foucault (Free Art license)

1. Michel Foucault with 2,521 citations

2. Pierre Bourdieu with 2,465

3. Jacques Derrida with 1,874

4. Albert Bandura with 1,536

5. Anthony Giddens with 1,303

6. Erving Goffman with 1,066

7. Jurgen Habermas with 1,049 — Also, check out Habermas’s Twitter feed!

8. Max Weber with 971

9. Judith Butler with 960

10. Bruno Latour with 944

Pretty much all the usual suspects you’d expect to be on the list are there, including Freud (#11), Deleuze (#12), Kant (#13), Heidegger (#14), Said (#21), Benjamin (#26), Lacan (#34), Kuhn (#35), with Marx and Nietzsche just eeking out 501 citations each to make the list.

"Derrida" by Pablo Secca (licensed by Creative Commons)

It’s pretty interesting that no one–or at least the two posters I’ve found discussing it–seems satisfied by the list.  Bauerlein brings up the list to question why, with the exception of Said, there’s “not one literary professional in the bunch” to consider how it reflects on the health and relevance of literary studies these days.  Of course, I’d say (along with many, many others) that you’d really have to be nitpicky to claim that Derrida, Deleuze, Barthes, Benjamin–and maybe even Foucault, Butler, Freud–aren’t lit crit types; that’s the hair that’s being split in the comments thread over at Bauerlein’s blog post.  Meanwhile, Brian Leiter scoffs at it from a philosophy point of view, describing it as “interesting, and slightly depressing” and snarking that “at least Foucault is ahead of Derrida.”

My question is more about methodology and just what journals are being sampled here.  Though the list is anything but surprising, there’s no one primarily connected to American-oriented (as awkward and provincial as that sounds) scholarship minus John Dewey nor are there many contemporary scholars that make the cut–much less ones of color, unless you count Said.  But those issues, shaped by my personal preferences, aside, my bigger question kind-of follows after Bauerlein’s concerns about literary studies and the humanities: Are the 2,521 references that helped Foucault claim the top spot even a lot, or not?

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One Response to 'Making a list: The most cited scholars in the humanities, 2007'

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  1. “At least Foucault is ahead of Derrida”! Snarky! There is no greater Meow Mix on display than a literary catfight.

    That photo most definitely got my attention, too.


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