Gently plagiarizing

Back to Barcelona. Still ruminating and digesting last week’s AAS conference. It was great to reconnect with friends and colleagues. The experience was generally positive and productive. Etcetera.

Then, a coincidence: precisely during this trip I bought a copy of Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou. On page 5:

She even attended a pricey international conference in New York in the hopes of gently plagiarizing some Argentinian or Swedish scholar’s paper.

Indeed, I have recently come across a few cases of scholars based in first-world institutions using research done by scholars from other parts of the world without acknowledging it. I never thought about this as a generalized practice–until I found it in Elaine Hsieh Chou’s novel… (Still not sure what is worse, though: that they use previous research without citing it, or that they just genuinely ignore it, or decide to ignore it.)

In any case, the truth of the matter is that academic conferences are becoming an industry that charges at levels that are not always affordable for scholars working outside of first-world academia. And that this discrimination may reinforce the insularity and/or the arrogance of certain kinds of scholarship.