Henry Louis Gates Jr. Regains Title as Most Cited Black Scholar in the Humanities

Each year JBHE conducts a citation analysis of data from the Arts and Humanities Index compiled by Thomson Scientific in Philadelphia. Each year, JBHE searches this vast database to determine how many times the works of a particular black scholar have been cited in any given year in academic journals in the humanities.

In JBHE’s first four annual surveys of citations in the arts and humanities (1998-2001), the highly prolific and influential black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard University led our rankings. In 2002 Paul Gilroy, a professor of sociology and black studies at Yale, was the leader in the citation count in the humanities. Toni Morrison, the Nobel laureate and Princeton University professor, led the rankings in 2003. In 2004 Professor Gilroy regained the top spot.

This year Professor Gatges once again regains the title. He narrowly edged out Professor Gilroy with Professor Morrison not far behind. Gates had 113 citations in the humanities in 2005, just two more than Professor Gilroy. Professor Morrison had 95 citations. The late August Wilson was cited 90 times in academic journals in the humanities.

Poet bell hooks had 65 citations in humanities journals in 2005. This puts her in fifth place in our survey. Novelists Albert Murray and Alice Walker were the only other black scholars to receive 50 or more citations in the arts and humanities in 2005. Also, among the top 10 most highly cited black scholars in the humanities are Cornel West and Colin Palmer who both teach at Princeton University, author Chinua Achebe, who teaches at Bard College, Houston A. Baker, who recently left Duke University for Vanderbilt University, and Paule Marshall of New York University.