Library Instruction West 2020
Seattle, Washington
July 22-24
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Friday, July 24 • 9:30am - 10:45am
Capitalist Alienation, Immigration, and Ethically-motivated Information Literacy Instruction: A marxist approach

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The purpose of this session is to illustrate how ethical issues can strongly motivate critical information literacy (hereafter IL) in higher education while challenging the underlying capitalist imperatives that greatly influence their learning and educational goals (e.g., "employability"). Many of these imperatives illegitimately pass as natural or neutral despite their thoroughly constructed and normative nature. Such an ethically-motivated approach encourages students to identify misleading or false information and contextualize it in such a manner that unearths structural constraints and biases in the ways information is presented.  

I will provide a theoretical justification of my approach, based on an explicitly Marxist frame of analysis, and an account of my experience with this approach in practice. For the theoretical groundwork, I will begin by outlining Marx’s account of capitalist alienation, showing how it meshes with contemporary neoliberal capitalism. I will then discuss how the issue of immigration, especially in the context of current debates about open-borders, presents a unique ethical entry point by which to challenge capitalist alienation in IL instruction.

Given the significance of this issue and its real-world impacts, framing IL around immigration is both ethically-relevant and potent due to the wide availability of popular yet misinformed sources, on the one hand, and numerous nuanced pieces, most often academic or less accessible, on the other. I will conclude the session with an overview of one of the workshops I delivered using this approach, providing an overview of the process and, more importantly, student and faculty reactions to this approach.

avatar for Dom Taylor

Dom Taylor

Philosophy Librarian, University of Manitoba, University of Manitoba
Dom Taylor is the Philosophy Librarian at the University of Manitoba. Following the completion of his MA in Philosophy, he worked as a government records and reference archivist at Library and Archives Canada. He then obtained an MLIS from Dalhousie University while working for Halifax... Read More →

Friday July 24, 2020 9:30am - 10:45am AST
HUB 332 (Seats 120)

Attendees (3)