Library Instruction West 2020
Seattle, Washington
July 22-24
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Thursday, July 23 • 3:15pm - 4:45pm
“Stay maladjusted!”: Complaint, Refusal, and other Strategies for Addressing Damaging Dynamics in Academic Library Instruction Programs

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In ‘The Problem of Perception”, and later in Living a Feminist Life, Sara Ahmed writes about a concept she has termed ‘disciplinary fatalism’; in diversity work, this concept describes how a pattern of behavior reproduces itself and becomes understood as certain or inevitable. If or when we acknowledge that these patterns are problematic ( “why are there so many white men on this panel?), rather than people in power addressing and changing the problematic pattern, we are perceived as the problem for making that problem visible (The all white 'manel' is because no people of color applied; why make a big deal out of it?)
This framework of disciplinary fatalism is useful in helping instruction librarians understand how expectations of subservience, deference, and inferiority have become internalized in our (gendered) profession. If librarians push back against a disrespectful request, or make an effort to assert their expertise and agency in the classroom, they are often dismissed and essentially told that being treated poorly is just a part of the job.
This presentation will build on work that women have been doing to interrogate the problematic dynamics in instruction work and speak to how complaint and refusal can function as advocacy, self-care, and justice work. We will also examine the role that library administrations and our larger public and academic contexts play in reifying and replicating these damaging structures. We have to, as Ahmed writes, "stay maladjusted" and not accept the conditions we've been expected to work in for so long.

avatar for Jessica Critten

Jessica Critten

Pedagogy and Assessment Program Lead Librarian, Auraria Library (CC of Denver, CU Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver)

Thursday July 23, 2020 3:15pm - 4:45pm AST
HUB 340 (Seats 25)

Attendees (6)