• Chatman Revisited: Re-examining and Resituating Social Theories of Identity, Access, and Marginalization in LIS

    2018-10-11

    Elfreda Chatman’s work was among the first in information science to thoroughly and explicitly address information access and marginalization as social processes. In defining her theories of Information Poverty, Life in the Round, and Normative Behavior, Chatman introduced a number of important concepts to the discussion around information poverty and access, including social norms, small worlds, and defensive information behaviors. While Chatman’s work began to describe the form and implications of power and social influence for information seeking and access, it was limited by many of the same commitments to colorblindness and the assumption of neutrality as other contemporaneous works of the time. Often sidestepping examination of race, sexuality, and gender identity, it more commonly cited other factors, such stigma, income, and specific social norms and values as contributing to information access and poverty. This perspective made sense in light of the epistemic LIS culture that emphasized colorblindness and individuality and demonstrated a tenuous relationship with race, or “demographic” categories and concerns.

    Continued theoretical development in critical race, gender, and disability studies have contributed to a recent resurgence in theory and research related to structures of marginalization in librarianship, information science, computing, and technology. We believe that it is time for collective re-examination and continued development of Chatman’s theories, and that this new work should wrestle openly with issues related to identity, marginalization, and access.

    We invite authors from a broad range of professional and academic perspectives to contribute to this special issue of JCLIS. This issue will explore the question, “How do identity and social structures (such as power, privilege, and policy) combine to enact systems of information access and marginalization?” The issue will be a combination of empirical research, theoretical development, commentaries, and case studies. It will include a combination of qualitative and quantitative works, and will engage critical race, gender, and disability theory in its consideration of the topic.

    Possible questions and topics include (but are not limited to) the following:

    • What is the legacy of Chatman’s work today?
    • How can critical theory (e.g. critical race theory, gender theory, queer theory, critical disability studies) and concepts inform further understanding of mechanisms of information marginalization?
    • How is Chatman’s work used (or not used) in research and education?
    • What contemporaneous theory/research would have been strong additions to her work, had she been willing and able to focus on race and/or other facets of marginalized identities?
    • How does Chatman’s work inform (or not inform) LIS practice?
    • How does Chatman’s work inform (or not inform) organizational practice?
    • What is the potential for the future of development of Chatman’s theoretical work?
    • How has Chatman’s work influenced other disciplines? How can it be connected to similar to concepts in other disciplines.
    • How might the cultural norms of LIS during the time Chatman was writing (1990-early 2000s) have influenced the development of Chatman’s theories, and the field’s understanding of social issues related to information?
    • How might publication norms have limited (or supported) a robust and inclusive understanding of identity, marginalization, power, and information?

    If interested in contributing to this themed issue, please submit an abstract (150-250 words) to the guest editors listed below by January 6, 2019. Deadline for Manuscript Submission: June 30, 2019

    Read more about Chatman Revisited: Re-examining and Resituating Social Theories of Identity, Access, and Marginalization in LIS
  • Deadline Extended for Libraries and Archives in the Anthropocene

    2018-07-15

    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, 2018

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  • Radical Empathy in Archival Practice

    2018-04-30

    In their 2016 article From Human Rights to Feminist Ethics: Radical Empathy in the Archives, Michelle Caswell and Marika Cifor define radical empathy as “a willingness to be affected, to be shaped by another’s experience, without blurring the lines between the self and the other.” Incorporating a feminist ethics approach that centers lived experiences that fall out of the “official” archival record, Caswell and Cifor identify archivists as caregivers whose responsibilities are not primarily bound to records but to records creators, subjects, users, and communities through “a web of mutual affective responsibility.”

    In a profession that has staunchly held onto myths of its own neutrality, objectivity, and dissociation of the subjective and personal, centering concepts of the body and affect critically engages archives’ and archivists’ complicity in perpetuating inequality. Recent and intersecting conversations in the archival field about feminism, queerness, race, anti-racism, contingent labor practices, peer-mentorship, and decentralizing whiteness in the profession, all relate to the concept of radical empathy in practice.

    We invite authors from a variety of career experiences and archival practices (students, early career professionals, and colleagues working in community archives, public libraries, museums, non-profits, corporations, etc.) to contribute to this special issue of the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies. This issue will provide an extended exploration of “how an archival ethics of care can be enacted in real world environments.” It will explicitly focus on case studies, in particular case studies that engage feminist theory and frameworks, relating to the lived experiences of practicing archivists.

     Suggested questions and topics include (but are not limited to):

    • Whose bodies do we speak of in a profession whose majority makeup represents privileged bodies that are white, cis-gender, conforming to oppressive definitions and standards of ability, and have access to institutional or personal monetary resources? Whose bodies are erased or occluded in the profession?
    • Archival description project audits that re-examine language in legacy finding aids.
    • Affective documentation of underrepresented communities in archives.
    • Managing grief and trauma with record creators, donors, subjects, users, communities, and in archival collections. What are the roles of the archivist?
    • Building team competence through peer-mentorship and networks of skill and knowledge sharing.
    • Critical examination of contingent labor and employment practices.
    • Managing emotional labor in systemically oppressive work environments through affective relationship building (vis-a-vis manager or peer relationships).
    • Exploration of access and security models that critically engage users and communities outside of academia (i.e. alternatives to the “panopticon”).
    • Inclusion and recognition of archival labor and interventions in description.
    • Measuring affective response as an evaluation method to archival instruction.

    If interested in contributing to this themed issue, please submit an abstract (150-250 words) to the guest editors listed below by September 30, 2018.

    Deadline for Manuscript Submission: January 30, 2019

    Read more about Radical Empathy in Archival Practice
  • Deadline Extended for Information/Control Issue

    2018-01-05

    Guest Editors: Stacy E. Wood & James Lowry

    In his 1992 "Postscript on the Societies of Control," Gilles Deleuze diagnosed our society as a control society. He argued that the closure and containment that characterized the subject and the state - previously described by Michel Foucault as the product of modernity - was giving way to a much more complex set of sociotechnical configurations that blurred the boundaries and limits of control. Within the context of information studies, the concept of control has its own particular legacies. Posed as the cure to a natural chaos, the discipline's pursuit of authority control, bibliographic control, and controlled vocabularies represent a field epistemologically invested in order.

    Since Deleuze's diagnosis, contemporary information systems and technologies have enabled unprecedented forms of control to permeate life at multiple levels, from the molecular to the global: From the manipulation of bioinformatic elements through gene sequencing to mass data collection policies, the relationship between information and control is increasingly entangled as they are threaded through our personal, professional, and public lives. Yet, as forms and mechanisms of control become more granular, the traditional modes of information control are challenged and the figure of the "gatekeeper" recedes. New evidential paradigms signified by the diagnostic of "post-truth," new forms of consensus building via algorithmic logic, and a breakdown of the boundaries of information literacy all signify a challenge to traditional understandings of information control.

    This poses a challenge and opportunity for information scholars and researchers to engage with ideas and concepts around the society of control, across disciplines. By foregrounding the mechanisms, intended purposes, and unintended effects of the relationship between control and information, this special issue will provide a forum to explore and critically engage an as yet underdeveloped line of thinking.

    The scope of this issue might include research on:

    • Editorial control, citizen journalism and "alt-facts"
    • Informational panopticons; data gathering, aggregation and re-use in the context of the international rise of the Right
    • Obfuscation, counterveillance and information activism
    • Analyses of information policy, including approaches to classifying and redacting
    • Political discourses about leaks, breaches and other forms of loss of control
    • Other overt and/or covert uses of records and information in the "society of control"
    • Technologies and techniques of control within information systems
      • Taxonomies and controlled vocabularies
      • The "politics of metadata" in relation to state control
    Extended Deadline for Submission: February 28th, 2018. Read more about Deadline Extended for Information/Control Issue
  • Libraries and Archives in the Anthropocene

    2017-10-24

    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?

    Deadline for Submission: June 30, 2018

    Read more about Libraries and Archives in the Anthropocene
  • Evidences, Implications, and Critical Interrogations of Neoliberalism in Information Studies

    2017-09-20

    Guest Editors: Marika Cifor and Jamie A. Lee

    Neoliberalism, as economic doctrine, as political practice, and even as a "governing rationality" of contemporary life and work, increasingly encroaches on the Library and Information Studies field. The shift towards more conscious grappling with social justice and human rights debates and concerns has led to LIS scholarship that opens the possibility for addressing neoliberalism and the visible and often hidden roles it plays.

    Simultaneously practitioners and scholars across LIS regularly face the material realities of such delimiting neoliberal encroachments through continued and largely unquestioned practices that continue to uphold inequities. Despite its far-reaching impact, neoliberalism has yet to be substantively addressed in LIS. This special issue will provide a much-needed transnational forum to critically engage the genealogical threads that constitute the LIS field by interrogating the discursive and material evidences and implications of neoliberalism.

    Through its myriad definitions and instantiations throughout Information Studies and its associated domains (including archives, libraries, information policy, digital humanities, communication, media studies) and critical theory more broadly, this special issue will offer new ways to think about praxis as both practice and theory critically inform one another. Addressing neoliberalism provides a vital forum for international scholars and practitioners to come together to explore cross-cutting issues, such as: human rights frameworks as situated locally and globally, economic (in)justices, postcoloniality, decolonization, agency, access, ethics, Nation-State identities and citizenship, and belonging.

    The scope of this issue might include research on:

    • Increasing challenges to information ethics;
    • Shifting practices among community and institutional information environments;
    • The use of private contractors in government archives and public libraries;
    • The entanglement of governmental and educational institutions, libraries and neoliberal policies, worldviews, and values;
    • Information's relationship to the economic market/political economy of information more broadly;
    • Neoliberal conceptions of information and knowledge;
    • Intellectual and affective labor in contemporary LIS environments;
    • Libraries and archives as sites of resistance;
    • The prevalence of neoliberal discourse in LIS research;
    • The influence of neoliberalism on labor practices in libraries, archives, museums or other information centers; and
    • Economic inequalities and global justice.

    Deadline for Submission: April 30, 2018

    Read more about Evidences, Implications, and Critical Interrogations of Neoliberalism in Information Studies
  • Information/Control - Control in the Age of Post Truth

    2017-03-12

    Guest Editors: Stacy E. Wood & James Lowry

    In his 1992 "Postscript on the Societies of Control," Gilles Deleuze diagnosed our society as a control society. He argued that the closure and containment that characterized the subject and the state - previously described by Michel Foucault as the product of modernity - was giving way to a much more complex set of sociotechnical configurations that blurred the boundaries and limits of control. Within the context of information studies, the concept of control has its own particular legacies. Posed as the cure to a natural chaos, the discipline's pursuit of authority control, bibliographic control, and controlled vocabularies represent a field epistemologically invested in order.

    Since Deleuze's diagnosis, contemporary information systems and technologies have enabled unprecedented forms of control to permeate life at multiple levels, from the molecular to the global: From the manipulation of bioinformatic elements through gene sequencing to mass data collection policies, the relationship between information and control is increasingly entangled as they are threaded through our personal, professional, and public lives. Yet, as forms and mechanisms of control become more granular, the traditional modes of information control are challenged and the figure of the "gatekeeper" recedes. New evidential paradigms signified by the diagnostic of "post-truth," new forms of consensus building via algorithmic logic, and a breakdown of the boundaries of information literacy all signify a challenge to traditional understandings of information control.

    This poses a challenge and opportunity for information scholars and researchers to engage with ideas and concepts around the society of control, across disciplines. By foregrounding the mechanisms, intended purposes, and unintended effects of the relationship between control and information, this special issue will provide a forum to explore and critically engage an as yet underdeveloped line of thinking.

    The scope of this issue might include research on:

    • Editorial control, citizen journalism and "alt-facts"
    • Informational panopticons; data gathering, aggregation and re-use in the context of the international rise of the Right
    • Obfuscation, counterveillance and information activism
    • Analyses of information policy, including approaches to classifying and redacting
    • Political discourses about leaks, breaches and other forms of loss of control
    • Other overt and/or covert uses of records and information in the "society of control"
    • Technologies and techniques of control within information systems
      • Taxonomies and controlled vocabularies
      • The "politics of metadata" in relation to state control
    Deadline for Submission: November 30, 2017 Read more about Information/Control - Control in the Age of Post Truth