CFP: Rethinking The Collector and the Collected: Perspectives on Decolonizing Area Studies Librarianship

This call is for academic librarians, and though it doesn’t specifically mention archives, the topic is relevant.

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Library Juice Press

We are inviting chapter proposals for the upcoming Library Juice Press publication tentatively titled Rethinking The Collector and the Collected: Perspectives on Decolonizing Area Studies Librarianship. This volume will explore the paradigm of “area studies” — a way of supporting regionally-focused collecting, processing, and liaison work — in the academic library through an explicitly anti-colonial lens. We will center debates on the politics and problems of area studies in libraries. Specifically, we ask how libraries are rethinking their approaches to collecting global resources and serving our constituencies in a contemporary and progressive manner. While libraries need to address the problematic nature of area studies, we see a larger academic trend in the push for “global” initiatives which ignore historically, linguistically, and culturally significant sites of difference, inequity, and asymmetrical power relations.

What does it mean to break down the artificial divide between “collectors” of knowledge and those of us who have these knowledges “collected” for use? What work is required to decolonize collections, collecting practices, and practices of access originally designed to help Euro-American scholars study “the other?”

Possible focuses for chapters include, but are not limited to:
– negotiating areas: the politics and history of delineating regions, places, and spaces;
– interdisciplinarity: exploring boundaries and relationships among academic disciplines and other interdisciplinary subjects such as women and gender studies, LGBT or queer studies, or environmental studies;
– funding and neoliberal history: looking at the relationship to governments, private funding, private capital, and the support of imperial and capitalist projects;
– collection development, acquisitions, and access: examining historical and current practices of acquiring materials and denying, limiting, or expanding the use of these materials through copyright, paywalls, or open access regimes;
– identity, professionalism, and training for library workers: centering the lived experiences of library workers, particularly librarians abroad, immigrants, and individuals from diaspora communities.

Accepted essays will offer a nuanced critique with solutions that go well beyond an erasure of difference. We are especially interested in soliciting chapters from writers of color, indigenous writers, or scholars from outside of the U.S. We also invite new translations of previously published work currently unavailable in English. Further, we invite work which operates from the assumption that hegemonic areas should be studied using the same tools, theories, and approaches as non-hegemonic areas — much like the precedents of whiteness studies and masculinity studies. Lastly, we plan to integrate peer review among authors into our process in addition to editorial review and ask that potential authors be willing to provide feedback on at least one fellow author’s material during the editing process.

Proposals should be no more than 300 words and describe the chapter, the framing and structure of the chapter and/or any theoretical frames necessary to the piece. Further, please indicate if the chapter would fit into any of the above focuses. If proposed work is a translation, please indicate if you are the original author or have the original author’s permission and provide the citation for the original. Please send proposal as a .docx attachment and in the body of the e-mail along with your CV and a short biography. Our deadline for proposals is December 15, 2018.

Please e-mail the editors at DecolonizingAreaStudies@gmail.com with any questions about the book including procedural questions or to ask about potential fit for your proposal.

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