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I appreciated this article that Facebook friends drew to my attention in the Chronicle of Higher Education, raising the question of how one should cite the work of transgender academics who have published under different names. The truth is that this is a question that we’ve long faced, given the custom of women changing their names when they marry or divorce. Sometimes a book has been re-released with the name change reflected on the revised or reissued edition. The short answer is that there is no simple answer, and that there are disadvantages to each way of proceeding. One obscures the fact that works cited under two names in a bibliography are by the same individual. The other may make it harder to find works published under a different name. It is a sad commentary on the academy that we haven’t done a better job of discussing that issue and listening to what female scholars say ought to become normative (including perhaps there not being a “norm” but a handling of cases based on individual preference). If we had, we’d surely be much better poised for the discussion regarding citation of transgender scholars.
Robyn Speer’s perspective (quoted in the Chronicle article) is this: “For trans people to be fully included in research, name changes have to be normalized, and there have to be reasonable processes for changing your name in academic publishing without having to be called by your previous name as well. Any other situation creates conflicts that discourage people from coming out and living their best life.”
Challenge - Academics - Intellectuals - Artists - Person
Another challenge related to transgender academics (and other public intellectuals and artists) is whether to refer to a person’s past work using the pronoun they currently identify with, or the one that they were using at the time they published the work. In...
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