Guest Editors: John Burgess, Robert D. Montoya, Eira Tansey
As stewards of collective knowledge, librarians, archivists, and educators in the information fields are facing the realities of the Anthropocene, which has the potential for cataclysmic environmental change, with a dawning awareness of its unique implications for their missions and activities. The Anthropocene is a proposed designation for an epoch of geological time in which human activity has led to significant and irrevocable changes to the Earth’s atmosphere, geology, and biosphere. Some professionals in these fields are focusing new energies on the need for environmentally sustainable practices in their institutions. Some are prioritizing the role of libraries and archives in supporting climate change communication and influencing government policy and public awareness. Others foresee an inevitable unraveling of systems and ponder the role of libraries and archives in a world much different from the one we take for granted. Climate disruption, continued reliance on fossil fuels, toxic waste, deforestation, soil exhaustion, agricultural crisis, depletion of groundwater, loss of biodiversity, mass migration, sea level rise, and extreme weather events are problems that threaten to overwhelm civilization’s knowledge infrastructures, and present information institutions with unprecedented challenges.
This special issue of the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies (JCLIS) will serve as a space to explore these challenges and establish directions for future efforts and investigations. We invite proposals from academics, librarians, archivists, activists, museum professionals, and others.
Some suggested topics and questions:
- How can information institutions operate more sustainably?
- How can information scholars and professionals better serve the needs of policy discussions and public awareness with respect to climate change and other threats to the environment?
- How can information institutions support skillsets and technologies that are relevant following systemic unraveling?
- What will information work look like without the infrastructures we take for granted?
- How does information literacy instruction intersect with ecoliteracy?
- How can information professionals support or participate in radical environmental activism?
- What are the implications of climate change for disaster preparedness?
- What role do information workers have in addressing issues of environmental justice? How do such issues of environmental justice relate to other forms of social justice?
- What are the implications of climate change for preservation practices?
- Should we question the wisdom of preserving access to the technological cultural legacy that has led to the current environmental crisis? Why or why not?
- Is there a responsibility to document, as a mode of bearing witness, society's confrontation with the causes of significant environmental problems?
- Given the ideological foundations of libraries and archives in Enlightenment thought, and given that Enlightenment civilization may be leading to its own environmental endpoint, are these ideological foundations called into question? And with what consequences?
- What role do MLIS, MIS, iSchools, and other graduate (and undergraduate) programs have to play in relation to the aforementioned issues?
Extended Deadline for Submission: September 9, 2018Read more about Deadline Extended for Libraries and Archives in the Anthropocene