Roberts’ Stages of Research for Pathbreaking Work (or Roberts’ Law, for short)

Prompted by watching a strange phenomenon unfold once again and for the umpteenth time (to someone other than myself), I authored a series of tweets in quick succession on May 24th, in order to attempt to capture something about the nature and essence of the phenomenon while it was at front of mind. I directed these remarks to “women academics,” but they can, of course, (and should be taken to) apply to members of any group/s who contend with marginalization and erasure, both within and without the academy, based on identity/ies, on subject matter of research or object of study, or some combination thereof. Presenting:

Roberts’ Stages of Research for Pathbreaking Work (or Roberts’ Law, for short)

The two stages for women academics who do pathbreaking work:

1. That topic/research is irrelevant/uninteresting/not a contribution.

[period of time in which one perseveres, despite hostility, to produce the work in question]

2. Everyone already knows this/this is common knowledge/you’re saying this is _your_ work? I’m sure someone else did this before…



A possible, but as yet unproven, corollary may  be: “This phenomenon reinforces/proves/legitimates your work.” Keep at it. All of you.