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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Trippin’ Over the Color Line: The Invisibility of Race in Library and Information Studies


The issue of race has been evaded in the field of Library and Information Studies (LIS) in the United States through an unquestioned system of white normativity and liberal multicultural discourse. To counteract these paradigms, this paper draws from various scholarly writings about race and racial formation in order to center race as the primary axis of analysis in the reinterpretation of major theoretical issues in LIS. Beginning with an analysis of the historical construction of libraries as an institution complicit in the production and maintenance of white racial privilege and then turning toward present-day discourses surrounding diversity and multiculturalism, this paper discusses at length the epistemological forms of racism that exist in LIS.

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