Measuring Monsters, Academic Subjectivities, and Counting Practices

Susan O. Cannon, Maureen A. Flint


In this paper, we explore the online academic research platforms we are entangled with as tenure-track faculty members in the neoliberal university. We are so embedded in these systems that the assumptions and constructions inherent in practices of counting are often lost, wrapped in the coils of counting practices—a becoming with algorithm. Though academic platforms are intricately enmeshed in our research and lives, they have been operating as “onto-epistemological blind spots” (Sweet et al., 2020, p. 2). And yet, the numbers they produce and rely on (H-scores, impact factors, citation counts, and journal rankings) matter and are “promiscuous and inventive in [their] agential wanderings” (Barad, 2015, p. 487), offering possibilities for intimacy and response-ability to what we are and might become. In other words, attending to the monstrous qualities of counting practices offers an entry point for re-thinking the relational, ethical, and affective aspects of academic subjectivity. So, we attend tothese qualities to become with the neoliberal counting and control mechanisms in innovative ways. Through this paper, we open ourselves to the wild possibilities of academic algorithms, working within and thinking with counting practices to intimately understand the ontologies of number at work in these platforms and how they work on our subjectivities. As we consider how our futures are being modelled and pre-empted, we think the algorithms in relation to feminist new materialist philosophers, Rosi Braidotti and Karen Barad. We ask: ‘what if?’ we were to think ontologies of number with these theories and see what possibilities emerge. We entangle Braidotti and  Barad with Deleuzoguattarian philosophies to imagine different relational becomings; to construct new ways of attending to our monstrous potentials and possibilities.

Full Text:



Angervall, Petra (2018). The academic career: A study of subjectivity, gender and movement among women university lecturers. Gender and Education, 30(1), 105-118.

Barad, Karen (2007).Meeting the universe halfway: Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Duke University Press.

Barad, Karen (2010). Quantum entanglements and hauntological relations of inheritance: Dis/continuities, spacetime enfoldings, and justice-to-come. Derrida Today, 3(2), 240-268.

Barad, Karen (2012). On touching—The inhuman that therefore I am. differences, 33(3), 206-223.

Barad, Karen (2014). Diffracting diffraction: Cutting together-apart. Parallax, 20(3), 168-187.

Barbour, Kim, & Marshall, David (2012). The academic online: Constructing persona through the World Wide Web. First Monday, 17(9), 7-7.

Braidotti, Rosi (2006).Transpositions: On nomadic ethics. Polity Press.

Braidotti, Rosi (2013). Nomadic ethics. Deleuze Studies, 7(3), 342-359.

Braidotti, Rosi (2019).Posthuman knowledge. Polity Press.

Caddell, Martha, & Wilder, Kimberly (2018). Seeking compassion in the measured university: Generosity, collegiality and competition in academic practice. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 6(3), 14-23.

Cannon, Susan O., & Cross, Stephanie B. (2020). Writing excess: Theoretical waste, responsibility, and post qualitative inquiry. Taboo: The Journal of Culture & Education, 19(3), 89-112.

Cannella, Gaile S., Perez, Michelle S., & Pasque, Penny A. (Eds.). (2015). Critical qualitative inquiry: Foundations and futures. Left Coast Press.

Cheney-Lippold, John (2011). A new algorithmic identity soft bio-politics and the modulation of control. Theory, Culture & Society, 28(6), 164-181.

Colman, Felicity (2020). Feminising politics: Notes on material and temporal feminist modal logics in action. Matter: Journal of New Materialist Research, 1, 1-22.

de Freitas, Elizabeth (2016). Calculating matter and recombinant subjects: The infinitesimal and the fractal fold. Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies, 16(5), 462-470.

Deleuze, Gilles (1992). Postscript on the societies of control. October, 59(Winter), 3-7.

Deleuze, Gilles, & Guattari, Félix (1987). A thousand plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. (B. Massumi, Trans.). University of Minnesota Press. Originally published in French in 1980.

Dixon-Román, Ezekiel J. (2016). Algo-Ritmo: More-than-human performative acts and the racializing assemblages of algorithmic architectures. Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies, 16(5), 482-490.

Flint, Maureen A., & Guyotte, Kelly W. (2019). Pedagogies of the minor gesture: Artful mentorship in college teaching. Visual Inquiry, 8(1), 63-75.

Google Scholar (2019). Google scholar metrics.

Google Scholar (n. d.) Google scholar citations.

Guattari, Félix (2000).The three ecologies. (I. Pindar & P. Sutton, Trans.). The Athlone Press. Originally published in French in 1989.

Halberstam, Jack (2019, February 25). Strategy of wildness. Critique & Praxis, 13(13).

Haraway, Donna J. (2016). Staying with the trouble: Making kin in the Chthulucene. Duke University Press.

Hepler, Sarah, Cannon, Susan O., Hartnett, Courtney, & Peitso-Holbrook, Teri (2019). Undoing and doing-with: Practices of diffractive reading and writing in higher education. In Carol A. Taylor & Annouchka Bayley (Eds.), Posthumanism and higher education: Reimagining pedagogy, practice and research(pp. 141-151). Palgrave.

Koro-Ljungberg, Mirka (2015). Reconceptualizing qualitative research: Methodologies without methodology. SAGE Publications, Inc.

Martin, Aryn, & Lynch, Michael (2009). Counting things and people: The practices and politics of counting. Society for the Study of Social Problems, 56(2), 243-266.

Monea, Alexander (2016). The graphing of difference: Mediation and the case of the knowledge graph. Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies, 16(5), 452-461.

Myers, Kayla D., Cannon, Susan O., & Bridges-Rhoads, Sarah C. (2017). Math is in the title: (Un)learning the subject in educational research. International Review of Qualitative Research, 10(3), 309-326.

Nxumalo, Fikile, Cook, Courtney, Cira Rubin, Jessica, Hendrix Soto, Aimee, Cedillo, Stacia, & Scott, Michael (2020). Staying with the trouble: Grapplings with the more-than-human in a qualitative inquiry course. Qualitative Inquiry, 26(1), 24-35.

Parisi, Luciana (2013).Contagious architecture: Computation, aesthetics, and space. The MIT Press.

Pasquinelli, Matteo (2016). The spike: On the growth and form of pattern police. In Stephanie Hankey, Marek Tuszynski, & Anselm Franke (Eds.), Nervous Systems(pp. 245-260). KW/Spector.

ResearchGate A (n. d.). Help center: Research interest.

ResearchGate B (n. d.). Help center: RG Score: H-score.

ResearchGate C (n. d.). Help center: Stats: Reads.

Roulston, Kathryn, & Bhattacharya, Kakali (2018). Teaching qualitative inquiry in the era of the Big Tent: Presenting proliferation and polyphony. International Review of Qualitative Research, 11(3), 251-255.

Sellar, Sam & Thompson, Greg (2016). The becoming-statistic: Information ontologies and computerized adaptive testing in education. Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies, 16(5), 491-501.

St. Pierre, Elizabeth A. (2014). A brief and personal history of post qualitative research: Toward ‘Post Inquiry.’ Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 30(2), 2-19.

Sweet, Joseph D., Nurminen, Emppu, & Koro-Ljungberg, Mirka (2019). Becoming research with shadow work: Combining artful inquiry with research-creation. Qualitative Inquiry. Advance online publication.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
RCUB RCUB Declaració ètica Avís Legal Centre de Recursos per a l'Aprenentatge i la Investigació Universitat de Barcelona