The library has a cunning plan to take over the world – or rather, to help our students take over the world. So this semester, I’m hanging out with Peg O’Connor and the GWS colloquium, hoping that we can “read” libraries, publishing, the online world, and scholarly discourse with a critical lens. These are some of the questions on my mind:

  • Where does Library of Congress classification hide women, gender and sexuality, and what do these categories tell us? How do Library of Congress subject headings work, and how do they fail to work well? How does gender intersect with libraries, books, and reading? How do those notions in popular culture collide with the way academics organize and reward research?
  • How did trade publishing become a feminized profession and why are men in publishing still paid so much more than women? What are the implications of ebooks for privacy, censorship, and the corporate control of culture? What are some sites of resistance? (Zines!)
  • How you can outfox the system to coax useful articles out of databases. How traditions of scholarly publishing¬† work and why sometimes they don’t work. How the commodfication of specialized knowledge has affected libraries and scholarship and the academy itself.
  • What are the major issues shaping the future of the Internet? What does the Internet offer for your research?
  • How open culture and the idea of “intellectual property” are clashing and what it means for both culture and for the individual scholar/citizen.

I hope we’ll be able to discuss these issues – and spend time working on research projects in the library – while also¬† doing what you signed up for: examining feminist responses to contemporary film, music, television, sports, fashion, advertising, and cyberculture, exploring the ways that race, gender, class, sexuality, and ability are portrayed in these various media, and the various and at times ingenious ways these media are used to subvert dominant representations and norms.

My goals are

  • to help you do your research for this course
  • to gain insider knowledge of how libraries, publishing, and the internet work
  • to think about these institutions critically so that you can use them subversively now and in the future

The photo used in the header is by Chris Luckhardt. It was taken in an abandoned school-supply warehouse in Detroit which has an interesting story of its own.


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