Pushing the Margins: Women of Color and Intersectionality in LIS
Editors: Rose L. Chou and Annie Pho
Literature on diversity in librarianship has mainly focused on recruitment and increasing numbers of librarians of color. This book shifts the focus beyond numbers and instead on the lived experiences of those who are underrepresented in our profession. Using intersectionality as a framework, this edited collection explores the experiences of women of color in libraries. With roots in black feminism and critical race theory, intersectionality studies the ways in which multiple social and cultural identities impact individual experience. Looking at race and gender isolated from each other fails to see the many dimensions in which they intersect and overlap, creating a complicated lived experience that cannot be captured by studying one identity.
Libraries and librarians idealistically portray themselves as egalitarian and neutral entities that provide information equally to everyone, yet the library as an institution often reflects and perpetuates societal racism, sexism, and additional forms of oppression. Women of color who work in libraries are often placed in the position of balancing the ideal of the library providing good customer service and being an unbiased environment with the lived reality of receiving microaggressions and other forms of harassment on a daily basis from both colleagues and patrons.
Typically these conversations and discussions of our experiences as women of color have happened behind closed doors, within trusted circles of friends. Our hope and intention is that by bringing these conversations into a public space, we will raise consciousness of these experiences and start changing perceptions and expectations.
Proposals may consider the following themes and questions:
- Invisible and emotional labor
- Intersections of multiple identities, such as sexuality, gender identity, and socioeconomic class
- Leadership, management, promotion, and authority
- Gender presentation and performance
- Treatment of women of color library workers who are either not in librarian positions or do not have a library degree
- Experiences of women of color as library patrons
- How identity affects approaches to collection development
- How does structural oppression reproduce itself in spaces that are touted to be egalitarian and democratic?
- How does one maintain respect in the library when confronted with oppressive treatment or being stereotyped based on one’s race, gender, or other social categories?
- How can library organizations create better work cultures and environments for staff and patrons to exist as their true selves?
This is not an exhaustive list. Proposals are welcome from anyone involved in libraries, archives, and information science. Contributions from people of color, those who belong to communities underrepresented in LIS, and those who work in school and public libraries are strongly encouraged. Essays that are straightforward scholarship are invited and welcome, as are more hybrid or creative approaches that incorporate scholarly writing with personal narrative, illustrations, graphics, or other strategies consistent with feminist and antiracist methodologies.
This collection will contain papers and essays of approximately 2000 – 5000 words. Proposals should include an abstract of no more than 500 words describing the proposed contribution and a short biographical statement. Send proposals to email@example.com by October 28, 2016.
Notifications will be sent by November 4, 2016. First drafts of manuscripts will be due May 31, 2017. Editing and revision will occur June-December 2017, with an anticipated publication date of Spring 2018.
This book is forthcoming in the Litwin Books/Library Juice Press Series on Critical Race Studies and Multiculturalism in LIS, Rose L. Chou and Annie Pho, series editors.
About the editors
Rose L. Chou is Budget Coordinator at the American University Library. She received her MLIS from San Jose State University and BA in Sociology from Boston College. Rose serves on the ARL/SAA Mosaic Program Advisory Group and is part of the LIS Microaggressions project team. Her research interests include race, gender, and social justice in LIS.
Annie Pho is Inquiry and Instruction Librarian for Peer-to-Peer Services and Public Programming at UCLA Libraries. She received her MLS from Indiana University-Indianapolis and BA in Art History from San Francisco State University. She’s on the editorial board of In the Library with a Lead Pipe, a co-moderator of the #critlib Twitter chat, and a Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians 2014 alumnus. Her research interests are in critical pedagogy, diversity, and student research behavior.