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Open Access Publications from the University of California


InterActions is an open access journal hosted by the eScholarship initiative of the California Digital Library, edited and managed by graduate students, based at the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. Our publication’s authors foster an open and critical dialogue with readers and colleagues through applying diverse social justice frameworks to the discussion of pressing issues in the fields of education and information.


Theorizing Knowledge Organization as Translation Praxis

Drawing from concepts within the fields of information science and translation studies, I argue that the classification of knowledge is more powerful than the production of knowledge itself because it regulates its access; hence, it selectively divulges its existence. Where this power/knowledge resides and how it is distributed speak of a justice system. Therefore, if we are to collectively construct a catalog of human knowledge, we must allow for autochthonous ways of knowing, principally in its design, usage, and administration. In this interdisciplinary essay, I intend to spark discussion and further theorization about ways in which translation praxis can generate less transgressive ways of classifying knowledge, keenly keeping in mind the underrepresented cultures around the world. To this end, I submit that a theory of translation is sorely needed as part of a process of knowledge organization, specifically one capable of moving beyond logocentrism in acceptance of more fluid and diverse ways of knowing. Such theories would urge us to decenter the outdated and power-laden Aristotelian view of human communication which argues for an objective Truth that can only be revealed through language. Instead, re-imagining knowledge classification through a lens of translation can offer novel techniques to construct more equitable and just systems of knowledge organization.

New Horizons for the Individual Research Consultation: Critical Hermeneutics and Habermas’ Goal of Intersubjective Agreement

Critical hermeneutics is the theory of interpretation situated within an ethical trajectory that encourages an awareness of power differentials in communication. It emphasizes intersubjectivity, or that which is mutually agreed upon between two persons and has the potential to overcome the social injustices taking place within late-capitalism and infuse Individual Research Consultations (IRC) with mutually beneficial dialogue. As universities become more culturally diverse, librarians need to learn new ways to be inclusive and empower students to flourish as unique and individualized researchers. This article examines how Habermas' Intersubjective agreement attempts to end the isolation and warring of the structuralist and poststructuralist camps by taking the possibility of rational negotiation among responsible and autonomous individuals seriously. Habermas builds on Austin's speech act theory to develop the basic principles of common language and uses critical hermeneutics to expose mechanisms of control that inhibit intersubjective agreement. When librarians begin to embrace critical hermeneutics as a methodology for intersubjective agreement in the IRC, there exists a greater potential for librarians and users to come to a more robust level of satisfaction and accuracy in both source retrieval and in achieving the ALA's ethical goals for information literacy through a fusion of the modern and post-modern horizons.

Cultural Learning in Foreign Language Courses: An investigation into how college students make meaning of cultural information in the classroom

For years researchers have shown the positive role that foreign language courses play in increasing the cultural knowledge and understanding of university students. However, at a time where internationalization is now at the forefront of nearly every major US university, foreign language courses are being cut and defunded at unprecedented levels. Clearly, the cultural benefits that foreign language courses provide are not meeting the standards necessary to be seen as key contributors to the goals of internationalization. Thus, the research presented in this paper is an initial student-centered investigation into the process of cultural learning within foreign language courses. By focusing on how students perceive of and understand the cultural information they are exposed to in the classroom. As a result, the research suggests important areas in which foreign language courses can improve the role they play in facilitating cultural learning, and hopefully, begin to receive the recognition they deserve in improving cultural understanding and awareness.

Research Briefs

Examining the Trump Presidency’s Impact on Latinx Undergraduate Students at an Elite 4-year University

In recent years, the 45th President of the United States has used language that some regard as offensive towards the Latinx community. This study seeks to understand how Latinx college students during the Trump era have been affected by the political climate. Specifically, this investigation aims at (a) sharing how the Trump presidency has impacted Latinx students’ educational experience at a prestigious public university, including their mental health and well-being, and (b) comparing feelings/sentiments of the 2016 election to that of 2020. This study will be based upon surveys that have been distributed to Latinx undergraduate students. The survey also includes 2 open-ended questions that are designed to include student narratives. This report will show that Trump’s presidency has had a negative impact on Latinx students’ educational experiences and well-being; which in turn helps in understanding Latinx students’ perseverance in higher education.

Literature Reviews

A Review of Program Inquiry for Refugee Adult Education in the United States

According to the UN Refugee Agency's annual Global Trends Report, 68.5 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide as of June 2018. This humanitarian crisis raises the question of responsibility on host countries to address the dire need for education access. Questions around how existing adult refugee educational programs should be evaluated remain relatively unexplored. The purpose of this review is to examine existing bodies of academic literature on how evaluation is applied in adult educational programming for refugees within community organizations and how programs utilize evaluation to improve their effectiveness in serving adult refugee populations in the United States. This literature review explores two questions: (1) how is evaluation structured in practice in nonformal educational programs for refugee young adults and adults in the United States? (2) What outcomes typically follow the implementation of evaluation within these programs (i.e. does evaluation influence the effectiveness and accessibility of adult educational programming, such as by providing educational and vocational training?). Considerations which emerged from this review include utilizing theory knitting in evaluation to reduce theoretical segregation and accumulate additional theory that may be present within the current literature. Exploring socio-cultural capital frameworks such as Yosso’s Community Cultural Wealth can further categorize and investigate additional experiences based on specific ethnicities in emerging literature within refugee integration in a country of resettlement in addition to Ager and Strang’s Understanding Integration Framework. Lastly, to better identify the approaches on use of evaluation within the scope of nonformal adult educational settings for adult refugees, expanding Alkin & Christie’s Evaluation Theory Tree to include international perspectives from the development sector should be considered.

Issues in Community Archives Research

Since their rise over half a century ago, community archives have filled in the gaps that mainstream archives have knowingly or unknowingly left, preserving the history of typically marginalized groups on their own terms. But it is only in the past decade or two that scholars have begun seriously contending with community archives, a timeline that perhaps not coincidentally overlaps with the archival profession’s increased focus on its own role in perpetuating power relations and systems of oppression. How has the so-called traditional archival community conceived of its relationship to both power and community archives, and what potential do community archives hold to help the archival field rectify its history of exclusion? Through a review of trends in the current literature on the topic, this paper will explore community archives as an alternative to traditional archival practice. Ultimately, this paper will argue for a reconceptualization of community archives as part of the archival continuum rather than as traditional or mainstream archives’ binary opposite. If archives and archival professionals want to begin to grapple with their legacy of power and exclusion, rethinking how we conceptualize archival working taking place outside of the academy and traditional heritage sector is a promising place to begin.