Drift and desire

defamiliarizing academic subjectivities


  • Susan Cannon Mercer University
  • Maureen A. Flint University of Georgia


measurement, algorithms, citational politics, subjectivity, speculative fiction


In this commentary, we invite ourselves to create speculative fictions of the good life in academia. We take note of the ways that academic platforms and counting practices orient us, and perhaps other academics, toward a good life that is achieved through maximum production of citations, mentions, and connections. Through a close reading of N.K. Jemisin's Non-zero Probabilities, we consider the refrains and rituals that structure our interactions with academic platforms as junior tenure-track professors and our desire for recognition. Then, we put forward two innovatory practices, drift and desiring ambivalence, that prompt us to turn to other poles of valorization in a process of defamiliarization, turning affirmatively toward another good life.

Author Biographies

Susan Cannon, Mercer University

Assistant professor of early childhood/middle grades education at Mercer University. Her scholarship traverses the fields of mathematics and statistics education, qualitative inquiry and teacher education. She reads and thinks with feminist, critical, new materialist, and post humanist theories in order to work the boundaries of concepts and fields.

Maureen A. Flint, University of Georgia

Assistant professor in qualitative research at the University of Georgia where she teaches courses on qualitative research design and theory. Her scholarship explores the theory, practice, and pedagogy of qualitative methodologies, artful inquiries, and questions of social (in)justice, ethics, and equity in higher education.


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