Social Justice as Topic and Tool: An Attempt to Transform an LIS Curriculum and Culture / Nicole A. Cooke, Miriam E. Sweeney, and Safiya Umoja Noble

The GLIS at University of Illinois held a townhall meeting to discuss issues around race and privilege; this townhall meeting led to focus groups and then reading groups, encouraging further discussions about diversity. The main products of the town hall were new extracurricular reading groups and an entirely new course focused around social justice issues. Cooke et al. offer strengths and failures of these additions. For example, unlike a traditional classroom setting, the reading groups were neither scaffolded nor run by a professor; in order to encourage constructive dialogue, the authors suggest that facilitators use “partial intervention.” As for the courses, social justice theory became a foundational theory within the curriculum, which encouraged discussions about power, privilege, and the dynamic between academia and the community. Some students view the course as unpractical or have differing opinions from the theories read; the emotional labor that professors experience needs further exploration.

Cooke, Nicole A, Miriam E Sweeney, and Safiya Umoja Noble. 2016. “Social Justice as Topic and Tool: An Attempt to Transform an LIS Curriculum and Culture.” The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy 86 (1): 107–124. https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/43561818/Cooke_Sweeney_Noble_LQ.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1544037072&Signature=WwWjWl%2FriTXi6zc4JiKfuwQ9zm0%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DSocial_Justice_as_Topic_and_Tool_An_Atte.pdf.