Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies Colloquium

The University of Toronto, October 18, 2014


Conference Schedule

[This schedule as a pdf]


Faculty of Information
140 St. George Street
Toronto, ON M5S 3G6

8:30-9:00am: Registration & coffee, Room 728

9:00am-10:30: Welcome and Plenary Panel, Room 728

Queering Order

Moderator: Patrick Keilty

The Trouble with Access: Perverse Subjects in the Library
Melissa Adler

Perverse subjects trouble the very notion of access to information in libraries. To become accessible within our existing classification and naming systems means also to be incorporated, rendered legible, and controlled within and by certain power structures. This presentation will bring the question of library access into the broader conversation regarding rights-based queer movements.

Legal Discourse’s Epistemic Influence on Gender Classification in the Dewey Decimal Classification
Melodie Fox

Formal classifications hold constitutive as well as oppressive powers, and consequently they can marginalize non-normative sexes and genders. A Foucauldian, discursive approach is taken to compare legal classifications of sex and gender with gender classification in four editions of the DDC, seeking to detect epistemic commonality or departure.

The Circle of Lesbian Indexers
Cait McKinney

The Circle of Lesbian Indexers was a group of six lesbian-feminist information activists scattered across the U.S. who located and indexed by subject hundreds of periodicals from 1980–86. I argue that The Circle’s work helps to contextualize what “access to information” means in “pre-digital” lesbian and feminist archives and information contexts.

Problems in the Classification of Sexual Behavior in Persons with Dementia
D. Grant Campbell

This paper examines the classification of sexual behaviours in persons living with dementia in long-term care facilities.  The paper argues we need to redefine the language of sexual behaviour in professional and institutional protocols to support the negotiation of desires and expectations across a wider spectrum of sexual identities.

Concurrent Sessions I: 10:45-12pm

Porn in the Library, Room 728

Moderator: David Squires

The P Project: Scope Notes and Literary Warrant Required!
Joan Beaudoin and Elaine Menard

Pornographic Web content is pervasive, and yet knowledge concerning how this content is organized, described, and accessed is limited. This study investigates the terminology used to describe pornographic videos. It specifically explores the categories available to access pornographic videos and illuminates patterns in the way access is provided.

Fisting the library? Feminist Porn and Academic Libraries
Lisa Sloniowski and Bobby Noble

Feminist porn is a both a critical archive of feminist sexual knowledge and a neglected form of cultural production. This presentation considers how future research depends upon not only upon the existence of such porn in libraries and archives, but also how such collections work to subvert the social and intellectual frameworks generated by the material practices of academic libraries.

Pornography, Bomb Building and Good Intentions: What would it take for an internet filter to work?
Emily Lawrence and Richard Fry

We argue that objections to content only make sense relative to situated knowers. Thus, a genuinely successful Internet filter would account for features of both content and knower. Without mind-reading, Internet filters are at least conceptually capable of failure, and their “successes” will be in some sense incidental.

Gendering Information Technology, Room 507

Moderator: Grant Campbell

Google Books, Libraries, and the Gender of Access
Anna Lauren Hoffmann and Raina Bloom

For libraries, access is a complex, localized phenomenon. For Google Books, access is technical and emphasizes universality. The authors argue that this contrast represents the continuing encroachment of masculine values on feminine-encoded library practice.

Gender as a Frame in Information Studies and HCI
Andrea Marshall and Jennifer A. Rode

Our work demonstrates gender as a crucial analytical frame in discussions of information and technology using the grounded theory approach, which we have constructed in response to our ethnographic findings. Our research connects the HCI and Information Studies communities of practice through the application of both groups’ theoretical strengths, to emphasize gender as an important interdisciplinary lens with which to critically examine computing cultures and information environments.

Questioning Authority: Describing Gender in Name Authority Records
Amber Billey and K. R. Roberto

New cataloging rules (RDA rule 9.7) instruct to record the gender of a person. Library of Congress (LC) and the Name Authority Cooperative Program (NACO) limit catalogers to a binary list of male, female, and not known. The presenter will discuss how this policy by LC/NACO reinforces regressive conceptions of gender identity.

Technology and the Body, Room 538

Moderator: Annie Pho

Digital Dysphoria: Queering Transitions Between Print and Digital
Oliver Bendorf

Does a zine ever think, “All my life I have felt trapped in the wrong medium”? Do you too have “digital dysphoria”? Emphasizing the shifting (im)materiality of information and expanding on Donna Haraway’s call for “pleasure in the confusion of boundaries and for responsibility in their construction,” I call for a trans-digitality, for pleasure and responsibility in navigating print and digital transitions.

Somatica: The Body as Book
Kadin Henningsen

Is the body a book? Drawing on both bibliographic and gender studies, this paper will argue that the body is a book by calling attention to ways the body is written, read, and circulated.

The Heart Work of Wikipedia: Gendered and Emotional Labor in the World’s Largest Online Encyclopedia
Amanda Menking and Ingrid Erickson

Based on a subset of interviews from an ongoing exploratory study, this paper explores women’s participation in the English language Wikipedia community through the lens of emotional labor. We posit that the gendered and emotional labor required of many women to participate in Wikipedia’s production reveals it to be less a storied space of democratic ideals and more a problematic sphere of conflicting values.

LUNCH (provided): 12-1:15: Room 728

Concurrent Sessions II: 1:30-2:45

Affect and Information, Room 728

Moderator: Anna Lauren Hoffman

Affective Labor, Resistance, and the Academic Librarian
Lisa Sloniowski

This paper will explore the gendered dimensions of affective labour and offer a feminist reading of the production of academic subjectivities which acknowledges dependence on the pink-collar labour of academic librarians. It will end by exploring how the work of the academic librarian may also productively subvert the neoliberal goals of the corporate university.

Aligning Bodies: Hatred as Organizing Principle in LGBTQ Archives and Collections
Marika Cifor

Challenging the focus on “love” in queer archives, I argue that hatred is also a major organizing principle of queer archives and collections. Reading queer archives for institutionalized hatred, hate crimes, and self-hatred, opens the possibility of examining the material, symbolic, and political importance of affects to archival practices and discourses.

Between Provenance & Publicity: Casement’s Queer Archive
David Squires

Implicit to the principle of provenance is the assumption that archiving records according to their original source and order will render their institutional history unambiguous. This presentation examines that assumption as it pertains to a sex scandal erupting from the work of early-twentieth century human rights activist Roger Casement.

Gender, Sexuality, and Collections, Room 507

Moderator: Lydia Willoughby

The Marginal Internet Archive
nina de jesus

Over a year ago I started a digital archiving project focused on preserving critical and seminal blogs, websites, tumblrs, etc. of what one might loosely call the anti-oppressive spaces on the internet. I will address issues of consent, access, and exploitation, with relevant technical details.

Filling in the Margins: The Use of Queer Theory, Feminist Standpoint Theory, and Critical Race Theory to Build Inclusive Archival Collections
Jen LaBarbera

If traditional archives primarily reflect the histories of those in power, how do social-justice-minded archivists go about building more inclusive collections? This paper proposes a new theoretical framework that combines queer theory, feminist standpoint theory, and critical race theory to apply to the appraisal and acquisition processes.

Out of the Archival Closet: Opening the Historical Record to Black Lesbian Lives
Dalena Hunter

“Out of the Archival Closet” asks how archives capture black lesbian experiences and how those materials are subsequently used. Currently, primary source materials documenting black lesbian lives are lacking due to archival practices that fail to include them in archives or fail to illuminate black lesbian materials in existing collections. I assert that this problem is rooted in epistemic violence in archival theory and practice that silences subaltern ways of knowing and documenting. “Out of the Archival Closet” deploys the concepts of microaggressions and counternarratives from critical race theory and culture of dissemblance from black feminist studies to unpack sites of silence and oppression that affect black lesbian presence in archives.This project offers a unique voice in support of transformative black studies scholarship and self-reflexive archival practice by exploring the relationship between archives and systems of power.

Gender and Sexuality in Library Praxis, Room 538

Moderator: Andrea Marshall

Interventions and Complicity: Intersections of Administrative Power and Marginalized Populations
Dinah Handel and Amy Lau

Guided by the theories of intersectionality, and understanding the ways in which in which systems of power function to oppress and control marginalized groups of people, librarians have the opportunity to perform an intervention within the state sanctioned violence systems that oppress trans people through library services and programs.

How Girls Rock Camp Makes Me a Better Librarian
Caitlin Shanley

This paper examines parallels and points of inspiration between the Girls Rock movement and librarianship. Feminist pedagogy and collective organizing, as modeled by Girls Rock organizations, provide important guidance for library practice. Working with youth can also help inform our efforts as adult educators in college and university settings.

We Have Chosen Each Other: Identifying as a Queer Feminist Antiracist Ally in the One-Shot Session (DOC) (PPT)
Kristen Hogan

We need queer antiracist feminist librarians of color and allies to redefine librarianship. I use the one-shot session as a site for imagining that redefinition in relationship. As a queer feminist white antiracist ally, I use tools including the Black Queer Studies Collection and queer feminist theories of love.

Reading Gender in Children’s Literature: Critical Library Pedagogy for Young Readers
Melissa A. McCleary and Michael M. Widdersheim

Reading is both a window and a mirror for youths in terms of gender and sexuality.  Initial stages of the reading process may involve interactions between readers and librarians.  Using popular titles and conversational modelling, this presentation explores what reader's advisory about gender and sexuality might look like.

Coffee break: 2:45-3:15, Room 728

Concurrent Sessions III: 3:15-4:30

Gender and the Profession, Room 728

Moderator: Dinah Handel

The Legacy of Lady Bountiful: White Women in the Library
Gina Schlesselman-Tarango

Important to understanding the complex workings of race in LIS is an investigation of the ways in which it has been shaped by gender. A field dominated by white women, tracing the role that the white female body played in early librarianship can illuminate today’s demographic makeup. Calling on the Lady Bountiful archetype, this paper interrogates the ways in which patriarchy, racism, and notions of femininity have and continue to work in LIS education and practice.

Professionalization and Gender Stratification in Librarianship: A Historical Perspective
Agatha Barc

Professionalization of librarianship is a historical trend situated in the intersections of gender, prestige, hierarchy, and professional education. Many library leaders sought to professionalize and establish librarianship as a recognized, socially relevant profession by advocating for formal library science education programs in universities in the late 1920s. Their efforts, while advancing librarianship in some aspects, also led to creating a gendered structure in the work of librarians and in marginalizing the scholarly advances of library science faculty.

Female librarian/male IT worker: Re-framing librarians' identities and assumptions around IT
Pamela Carson

Librarianship is converging more and more with IT, changing the role of librarians. Are too many librarians simply users of technology rather than creators? Both IT and librarianship professions face gender underrepresentation issues – could female-gendered identities be holding librarians back from fully engaging with IT? If so, how can we overcome?

Archives of Difference, Room 507

Moderator: Melissa Adler

The Archival Science Profession and the Underrepresented: Enslaved Black Women in the French Antilles, French Archives, and French Attitudes
Kellee Warren

This paper will specifically discuss archival appraisal theory, Black Feminist theory, archives and power and its influence on the collection of archival materials on enslaved black women of the French Antilles. This history alludes to the global lack of diversity in the archival and library and information science professions.

A Safe Place for our Collections. Community-Led Archives and their Relationships with Academic Institutions
Rebecka Sheffield

My paper presents early findings of a multiple case study that looks at sustainability and strategic actions at four community-led lesbian and gay archives. In particular, I will reflect on the partnerships that these archives have built with academic institutions as a way to preserve and make their collections more accessible to growing research communities.

Queering as the ‘Alternative’? Proposals for Queer Museum Practices
Nicole Ritchie

This paper sets an initial pathway in analyzing museum practices, such as the formation of historiography and identity, through the lens of queer theory.  Based on the historical premise of museums as disciplinary institutions and the contemporary context of neoliberalism, the historical and contemporary reliance on ‘alternatives’ is considered as the route to queering arts and cultural spaces.

Description and its Discontents, Room 538

Moderator: K. R. Roberto

Engaging an Author in a Critical Reading of Subject Headings
Amelia Koford

I interviewed author Eli Clare about the Library of Congress Subject Headings assigned to his memoir, Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation. In addition to discussing problematic aspects of the headings, Clare employed concepts from genderqueer activism to propose strategies for addressing the inherent limitations of classifications and standards.

The Case of the Invisible Ace
AJ Blechner

Asexuality as an identity group has gained increasing attention by the legal and scientific communities. However, finding tools have not always kept pace, hampering the ability to strengthen legal protections and advance social justice. Some solutions to improve access so that users can effectively reach this information will be discussed.

Tagging as a Queer Practice
Michael Waldman

This paper will examine the issues surrounding the description of library materials, looking in particular on the power of naming. It will focus on how new technologies, such as tagging, can make our headings more comprehensible to both our current and future users, and situate knowledge within differing knowledge discourses.

Closing remarks: 4:45-5:00, Room 728

Informal reception, 5pm onward, Duke Of York pub, 39 Prince Arthur Ave