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Black Studies

Research guide for resources focused on Black Studies.

Citation Politics

Thank you to NorQuest College Library and X̱wi7x̱wa Library at the University of British Columbia for sharing much of the content for the citation and evaluation section of this guide.

 

"A number of Indigenous feminists and other scholars of colour have advocated powerfully for a more mindful and ethical consideration of our citational practices in academia. I think here especially of the work of Audra Simpson (Mohawk) and Jodi Byrd (Chickasaw), Sara Ahmed's feministkilljoys blog, and the Citation Practices Challenge by Eve Tuck (Unangax), K. Wayne Yang, and Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández—and especially that we not continue to replicate the closed circuit of white heteropatriarchy in affirming the same group of voices over and over again." (From Why Indigenous Literatures Matter by Daniel Heath Justice).

 

Critical Literacy

Information literacy forms the basis for common library and classroom skills. It is a set of abilities that enable individuals to:

  • evaluate and choose information critically from a range of sources;
  • use information effectively and ethically;
  • create new knowledge in given information environments--both academic and personal.

Critical literacy represents an approach to information literacy that takes into consideration the social, political, and economic contexts that influences how we evaluate and choose information.

Critical literacy is of particular importance in putting anti-racism, anti-discrimination, and decolonization into practice. The sense of credibility we often give to certain types of perspectives is rooted in colonial, Eurocentric attitudes that hold white, able-bodied, heterosexual, cisgender men in the highest regard. Often we unconsciously treat these attributes as the norm associated with terms like expert, academic, or professional. The voices of women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of coloor), people with disabilities, people who identify as LGBTQ2S+, or other marginalized identities are commonly underrepresented or undervalued, even when their lived experiences are the focus of work.

By approaching information critically—with the background and perspective of the subject, author, institution, or publication in mind—we can re-examine what it means to be a credible source on a topic.

 

Here are some useful questions to ask while researching and evaluating information:

  • Who created this information and what are their credentials?
  • Why was this information created?
  • When was this source created and is it still current?
  • Is the author part of the community they are writing about?
  • Who is claiming to be an authoritative figure on the topic?
  • Whose voices are being privileged?
  • Can I find any authors to cite who are part of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) communities, LGBTQ2S+ communities, or be inclusive to other voices? 

 

Here are some tips and questions for finding culturally-relevant information about Indigenous communities or topics:

  • Look for community-produced reports, books, etc.
  • Check community websites. Consult with their own heritage or research departments. 
  • Look for wording or statements about community involvement – this includes acknowledgement of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC)
  • Look for wording like community-led or community-based
  • Is there recognition of community as being a crucial part of the research process? Is the community identified as an active participant in the research? 
  • Is there any recognition of Indigenous ownership of Information or intellectual property rights?

Thank you to NorQuest College Library for permission to reuse this content. (Minor changes in spelling have been made where Canadian and American spelling differ.)

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