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How could the name danah boyd come to pass? Why isn't it Danah Boyd? Would it be inappropriate or incorrect to refer to this person as Danah Boyd?

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In a similar case, either the poet e e cummings or his publisher decided he didn't want his name capitalized, and people have generally obliged. –  Peter Shor Jun 18 '11 at 10:54
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I think she is crazy, but if that's how she chooses to write her own name, then just leave her be. Of course you are under no obligation to write it and the pronoun I in small letters, as she does. At any rate she does capitalize departments of corporations, so she she's probably not interested in consistency. –  Cerberus Jun 18 '11 at 14:11
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In general it is incorrect to refer to people (deliberately) in a way other than they want. You may believe that internal capitals are wrong, but if Joe McFlynn spells his name with one, calling him Joe Mcflynn is incorrect. In the same vein, it's incorrect to call her Danah Boyd. Any confusion that arises from not capitalizing her name you can lay at her feet, if that helps. –  Kate Gregory Jun 18 '11 at 18:20
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For those who want to read the (mind-numbing) details, her Wikipedia article's talk pages (1, 2, 3, and 4) contain more than you would ever want to know on the topic. –  Dori Jun 19 '11 at 2:43
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bell hooks is another example of this phenomenon. I've seen bell hooks cited in academic writing in all-lowercase, which lends support to the idea that we are allowed in writing to call people, within reason, what they want to be called. –  alcas Dec 9 '11 at 3:26
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1 Answer 1

The reason can be seen by reading her auto-biography:

My birth name was "danah michele mattas" (spelled all funky because my mother loved typographical balance...

...i switched back to a lower-cased style to reflect my mother's original balancing and to satisfy my own political irritation at the importance of capitalization.

So, the reason her name is deliberately spelt "danah boyd" instead of "Danah Boyd" is due to her irritation at capitalization rules!

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