A professor at the University of Memphis named her two cats as the “co-authors” of her recent research paper, including one that had died.
Professor Susan Naomi Nordstrom of the University of Memphis named two of her cats as “co-authors” on her recent research paper, which focused on her experience with the death of one of the two “co-authors,” her cat Amelie.
At the end of the paper, under a heading that reads “Author Biographies,” there are three entries. First, Nordstrom herself. Then, she lists Amelie and Coonan Nordstrom. Here is the entry for Amelie:
Amelie Nordstrom (ca. 2001-2017), felis domestica, was a black cat specializing in making kin with humans and (sometimes) other nonhumans.
The abstract for the bizarre paper explains that the paper focuses on the relationship between professor Nordstrom and her two cats. The paper particularly emphasizes how the death of Amelie increased her awareness of how animals and humans coexist together.
We recognized the urgency of our shared multispecies inquiry, with the recent death of one of the cats, Amelie. In the intense singularity of death, we became very aware of how we tune and tend together—everyday practices in which humans (themselves animals) and animals live and perceive together—and how these practices shape our everyday lives. These practices are acts of multispecies survival in which we learn how to live and die together.
In one section of the paper, Nordstrom actually argues that the concept of “language” is problematic because it poses a barrier that separates humans and cats.
Similar to Haraway (2008), we are hesitant to use the word language because language, in Western philosophical traditions, serves as a separating concept between humans and animals. Humans have language. Animals do not.
In other words, the paper is a bunch of nonsense that offers no real academic value. If you want to read it, publisher Sage Journals will charge you $36 for single-day access.
Professor Nordstrom has perhaps summarized the worst of feminist academia into one paper. Her work is an eight-page rambling research paper about the author’s relationship with her deceased cat that provides absolutely no value to the academic community. It’s almost as if Nordstrom is baiting her would-be critics by adding her cats as “co-authors” on the paper. It’s an open invitation to be mocked.
Sadly, that scenario is preferable to the more likely reality that Nordstrom’s paper is genuine and serious. Academia is in shambles.