About the Lecture Series
Advancing social justice is a long tradition and core value of information professionals and cultural heritage institutions. The Department of Library and Information Science at CatholicU has always embodied the principle of social justice in its teaching, research and service. It instills a mindset that nurtures a commitment to community service, an openness to change and global perspectives, and a dedication to the philosophy, principles, and legal and ethical responsibilities of the field for the society. In order to represent its tradition in upholding core values and responsibility for social justice, in spring 2019, we are pleased to inaugurate a dedicated lecture series on social justice named after Sister Thea Bowman.
Sister Thea Bowman was a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration. She attended Viterbo College in La Crosse, Wisconsin, while preparing to enter the convent. She earned a M.A. and Ph.D in English from The Catholic University of America. She went on to teach at elementary schools and later at CatholicU and Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana. After sixteen years in academia, Sister Thea Bowman became a consultant for intercultural awareness for the Diocese of Mississippi. Her programs were designed to break down racial and cultural barriers. She believed that through communication and understanding of other cultures and ethnicities, racial injustice could be minimized. Many felt that Sister Thea Bowman’s efforts left a lasting mark on U.S. Catholic life in the late 20th century. An influential speaker on music and diversity and inclusion, her work continues to have a profound impact on the world. After battling cancer, Sister Thea Bowman, died in 1990. The United States bishops endorsed her canonization to sainthood in November, 2018. Her case will continue for approval through commission. If approved, her cause will proceed to the Vatican where she will be declared venerable.
2022 Lecture with Dr. Bharat Mehra "A "Voice" from Intersecting Margins to Further Social Justice Scholarship and Advocacy in Library and Information Science"
Thursday, November 10, 2022. 6:00-7:00PM via Zoom
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Abstract: During his presentation entitled "A "Voice" from Intersecting Margins to Further Social Justice Scholarship and Advocacy in Library and Information Science" for the 4th Sister Thea Bowman Social Justice lecture series, Dr. Mehra will share insights from his academic journey as a faculty member, educator, and activist over 20 years to further social justice scholarship and advocacy within mainstream LIS canons under the dark shadows of post-positivist paradigms and privileged white networks. As an intersectional scholar he will share glimpses of past and recent research endeavors and approaches that attempt to decenter white-privileged entrenchments and other forms of oppressions within the academy and beyond. He will also illustrate the operationalization of the concept of "voice" emerging from the intersecting margins in LIS that have generated social justice impacts that are deliberate, systematic, action-oriented, and community-engaged while making meaningful changes in the everyday lives of disenfranchised populations and others.
About the Speaker
Dr. Bharat Mehra is EBSCO Endowed Chair in Social Justice and Professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama. As a survivor growing up with child abuse and domestic violence in India and as a gay scholar of color in the United States, he is privileged to find his atypical "voice" through social justice scholarship and advocacy in library and information science (LIS). Dr. Mehra's research focuses on social justice and social equity concerns in LIS and community informatics or the use of information and communication technologies to empower minority and underserved populations to make meaningful changes in their everyday lives. He has authored/co-authored over 175 peer-reviewed publications on equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and international social justice content since 1998 (including >65 in referred journals). Dr. Mehra is the book editor of Emerald Publishing's Advances in Librarianship Series.
2021 Lecture with Dr. Beth Patin "The Ethics of Epistemic Justice: Addressing Epistemicide through Social Justice in LIS"
Thursday, October 7, 2021
Abstract: The information professions need a paradigmatic shift to examine the ways we have systematically undermined knowledge systems falling outside of Western traditions and I argue for an ethical shift to address these injustices within our programs, services, and curricula. Epistemicide is the killing, silencing, annihilation, or devaluing of a knowledge system. Epistemicide happens when epistemic injustices are persistent, systematic, and collectively work as a structured oppression of particular ways of knowing. Addressing epistemicide is critical for information professionals because we task ourselves with handling knowledge from every field. There must be a reckoning before the paradigm can truly shift; if there is no acknowledgement of injustice, there is no room for justice.
About the Speaker
Beth Patin is an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. Beth’s research agenda focuses on the equity of information in two research streams: crisis informatics and cultural competence. She is the co-founder of the Library Information Investigative Team research group and a recipient of the Meredith Teaching Award for Early Excellence. Currently, she is working on projects about epistemicide (defined as the silencing, killing, or devaluing of knowledge systems), libraries during disaster and crisis, and digital humanities and the Civil Rights Movement. In 2007, Beth was named an American Library Association Emerging Leader. Currently, she is a member of the Advisory Board on the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries. Website: https://www.equityinformatics.online/home
Accommodations and Special Needs
For disability accommodations please contact the department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-319-5085. In all situations, a good faith effort (up until the time of the event) will be made to provide accommodations.
2020 Lecture with Dr. Nicole Cooke
“Decolonizing LIS: Activating Social Justice”
Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - 6 p.m. EDT
Social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion are significant topics within the profession, but are they actually integrated into the fabric of library and information science? Among the areas that require particular understanding and dedication are our classrooms and pedagogical practices. Decolonizing our syllabi (and ultimately our entire curricula) requires looking outside of our discipline and Western norms to engage other scholarship and practices to build a foundation for what decolonization and a more equitable profession look like.