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The Politics of Citation Practices in Engineering Education: A Citation Analysis of Intersectionality

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Research on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Kristen Moore University at Buffalo

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Kristen R. Moore is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at University at Buffalo. Her research focuses primarily on technical communication and issues of equity, inclusion, and social justice. She is the author of Technical Communication After the Social Justice Turn: Building Coalitions for Action (2019), in addition to a range of articles. She has received a number of awards for her research, including the Joenk Award for the best article in IEEE Transactions in Professional Communication, the Nell Ann Pickett Award for best article in Technical Communication Quarterly, and the NCTE Best Article in Theories of Technical Communication (in both 2015 and 2018). She is also the co-founder of Women in Technical Communication, a mentoring organization that received the 2015 Diana Award from ACM Special Interest Group in the Design of Communication.

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Nathan R. Johnson University of South Florida

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Fernando Sánchez University of St. Thomas

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Walter R. Hargrove

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This research paper explores the current state of engineering education research in equity and inclusion by focusing on the citation practices of scholars using the term intersectionality. For scholars in engineering education, the need to approach issues of diversity, equity and inclusion has become increasingly apparent, and recent approaches explicitly engage with the intersecting oppressions facing white women, women of color, and other multiply marginalized members of the engineering profession (Riley and Pawley, 2011). Kimberle Crenshaw’s now widely used term, intersectionality, originally referred to the intersecting systemic oppressions facing Black women in legal cases; as Hancock (2011) and Bilge and Hill Collins note, however, the term has evolved in complex ways across a range of fields and does not represent a monolithic framework. Because the term was established and elaborated upon by Black women (including Crenshaw 1991, 1989; Collins 2019; Bilge and Collins 2016; Hancock 2011) and other women of color (Chavez, the politics of citation surrounding the term deserves careful consideration because Black women’s knowledge has historically been suppressed within the academy (Collins 2008). This project interrogates the use of the term intersectionality and the politics of citation practices surrounding the term as it has been used in engineering education.

Using a citation analysis (Williams et al), this project analyzes the 209 instances of the term “intersectionality” in the ASEE proceedings to locate the central authors and texts that inform the field’s use of the term. In this citational analysis, we suggest that the limited citation of Black women should be interrogated and redressed as a form of inequity. Framing this project within the politics of citation and the current campaign to #citeblackwomen, we work to explore how the term “intersectional” has been embraced, whose theories have been adopted, ignored, and replicated, and question the lack of a strong, central foundation of Black woman scholars and theorists. We situate our study alongside the complex theoretical treatments of intersectionality in Hill Collins, Hancock, and other treatises that tie intersectionality to oppression rather than identity. We make recommendations that address the politics of citations within engineering education as the field continues to address issues of social justice, equity and inclusion (Baillie & Pawley, 2012; Leydens and Lucena, 2017).

Moore, K., & Johnson, N. R., & Sánchez, F., & Hargrove, W. R. (2021, July), The Politics of Citation Practices in Engineering Education: A Citation Analysis of Intersectionality Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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