Critical LIS Praxis Course



Week 1. 

What is critical theory? What is praxis? Why does critical theory matter to LIS? 

Week 2.

Marx and LIS Labor

Week 3. 

Said: Orientalism, and Global LIS Partnerships

  • Edward Said, Orientalism, “Introduction” and “The Scope of Orientalism,” and “The Latest Phase,” New York: Vintage Book, 1978, 1-49, 284-328.
  • Hudson, David J. “On Dark Continents and Digital Divides: Information Inequality and the Reproduction of Racial Otherness in Library and Information Studies,” Journal of Information Ethics, 25, no. 1: 62-80.
  • Caswell, Michelle. “‘Thank You Very Much, Now Give Them Back’: Cultural Property and the Fight Over the Iraqi Baath Party Records,” American Archivist 74: Spring/Summer 2011, 211-240.

Week 4

Foucault, Discourse, Discipline and Surveillance 

  • Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish and The Birth of the Prison, New York: Vintage Books, 1995, “Part Three: Discipline,” 135-228.
  • Melissa Adler, “Disciplining Knowledge at the Library of Congress,” Knowledge Organization 39(5).
  • Simone Browne, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness (Durham: Duke University Press, 2015), 1-62.
  • Gillian Rose, “Discourse Analysis I and II” in Visual Methodologies: 3rd Edition (Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA) 2012: Chapters 8 and 9, p. 189-260.
  • Bernd Frohmann, “Discourse Analysis as a Research Method in Library and Information Studies,” Library and Information Science Research 16(2) (1994): 119-138.

Week 5. 

Smith: Decolonizing and Indigenizing LIS 

  • Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (Zed Books, 2012), 107-122; 123-141; 142-162; 163-180.
  • Sandra Littletree and Cheryl A. Metoyer, “Knowledge Organization from an Indigenous Perspective: The Mashantucket Pequot Thesaurus of American Indian Terminology Project,” Cataloging and Classification Quarterly 53 (2015): 640-657.
  • Eve Tuck, K. Wayne Yang, “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor,” Decolonization 1:1 (2012),
  • Marisa Duarte and Miranda Belarde-Lewis, “Imagining: Creating Spaces for Indigenous Ontologies,” Cataloging and Classification Quarterly 53 (2015): 677-702.
  • Alison Krebs, “Native America’s 21st Century Right to Know,” Archival Science 12 (2012): 173-190.

Week 6

Feminist Ethics, Affect, and Critical Library Instruction

  • Audre Lorde, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” in Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde (Berkeley, CA: Crossing Press, 1984), 110-113
  • Maria Accardi, Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction (Sacramento: Library Juice Press, 2013), 23-69.
  • Sharon Ladenson, “Paradigm Shift: Utilizing Critical Feminist Pedagogy in Library Instruction,” in Critical Library Instruction: Theories and Methods (Duluth: Library Juice Press, 2009), 105-112. 
  • Michelle Caswell and Marika Cifor, “From Human Rights to Feminist Ethics: Radical Empathy in the Archives,” Archivaria, 81 (Spring 2016): 23-43.
  • Taneya D. Gethers, “Knowledge my Public Library Kept Secret: The Urgent Need for Culturally Responsive Library Service,” Informed Agitation (Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press, 2013), 73-86.

Week 7

Spivak: Postcolonialism, Silence and Voice

  • Sara Danius, Stefan Jonsson and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “An Interview with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak,” Boundary 2 20:2 (1993).
  • Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak?” As reprinted in The Post- Colonial Studies Reader, Bill Ashcroft et al, eds. New York: Routledge, 1995, 28-37. 
  • Hope Olson and Melodie J. Fox, “Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak: Deconstructionist, Marxist, Feminist, Postcolonialist,” in Critical Theory for Library and Information Science (Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited, 2010), 295-309.
  • Saidiya Hartman, “Venus in Two Acts,” small axe 26 (June 2008): 1-14. 

  • Verne Harris, “The Archival Sliver: Power, Memory, and Archives in South Africa,”  Archival Science 2:1-2 (2002): 63-86.  
  • Jeannette Bastian, “Whispers in the Archives: Finding the Voices of the Colonized in the  Records of the Colonizer,” In Political Pressure and the Archival Record, Margaret  Procter et al eds. (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2005), 25-43.  

Week 8. 

Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality and Diversity Debates in LIS

  • Derrick A Bell, The Derrick Bell Reader (New York: NYU Press, 2005): 73-90.
  • Kimberle Crenshaw, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics,” The University of Chicago Legal Forum 140 (1989): 139-167.
  • Anthony Dunbar, “Introducing Critical Race Theory to Archival Discourse: Getting the Conversation Started,” Archival Science 6 (2006): 109-29.
  • Mario H. Ramirez, “Being Presumed Not to Be: A Critique of Whiteness as an Archival Imperative,” The American Archivist 78 (Fall/Winter 2015): 339-356.
  • Fobazi Ettarh, Making a New Table: Intersectional Librarianship,
  • April Hathcock, “White Librarianship in Blackface: Diversity Initiatives in LIS,” October 2015, [Read some of the comments if you have the time.]

Week 9. 

Neoliberalism, Metrics, and the Library as Corporation

  • David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Chicago: University of Chicago Center for International Studies Beyond the Headlines Series, 2005, 1-38.
  • John Buschman, "Talkin' 'Bout my (Neoliberal) Generation: Three Theses," Progressive Librarian 28 (Summer 2007): 28-40.
  • Karen P. Nicholson, “The McDonaldization of Academic Libraries and the Values of Transformational Change,” College and Research Libraries 76:3: 328-338.
  • Cathy Eisenhower and Dolsy Smith, “The Library as ‘Stuck Place’: Critical Pedagogy in the Corporate University,” In Critical Library Instruction: Theories and Methods , edited by Maria T. Accardi, Emily Drabinski, and Alana Kumbier, 305–18. Duluth, MN: Library Juice Press, 2009. 
  • Christine Pawley, “Hegemony’s Handmaid? The Library and Information Studies Curriculum from a Class Perspective,” The Library Quarterly 68:2 (1998): 123-144.
  • Marika Cifor and Jamie A. Lee, “Towards an Archival Critique: Opening Possibilities for Addressing Neoliberalism in the Archival Field,” Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies 1 (2017):

Week 10

Queer Theory, Transgender Trajectories 

  • Dean Spade, “Administrating Gender,” Normal Life (New York: South End Press, 2011), as excerpted in Feminist and Queer Information Studies Reader (Los Angeles: Litwin, 2013), 324-350. 
  • Sharon Marcus, “Queer Theory for Everyone: A Review Essay,” Signs 31 (1) (2005): 191-128. 
  • Hope Olson, “Patriarchal Structures of Subject Access and Subversive Techniques for Change,” The Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science 26:2/3 (2001): 1-29.
  • Emily Drabinski, “Queering the Catalog: Queer Theory and the Politics of Correction,” Library Quarterly 83 (12) (2013): 94-111.
  • K.R. Roberto, “Inflexible Bodies: Metadata for Transgender Identities,” Journal of Information Ethics 20 (20) (2011): 56-64.