Wednesday, July 27, 2022       Events

Examining the Roots of Universities in Slavery and Anti-Black Racism

2pm ET / 11am PT  ·  Virtual Open Access   ·   Open Data   ·   Open Education

As part of SPARC's Knowledge Equity Series, this panel will discuss the roots of libraries, archives, and academic institutions in slavery and anti-Black racism.


Wednesday, July 27th, 2022


2pm ET / 11am PT

Our knowledge systems exclude many perspectives because legacies of injustice are built into their foundations. Racism, colonialism, and other forms of discrimination limit whose voices are heard, whose interests are prioritized, and whose knowledge counts. Openness can create pathways to more equitable systems of knowledge sharing; however, in pursuing this potential, it is important to explicitly recognize the ways these inequities are built into the foundations of academic systems.

To help situate the work of opening up research and education within this essential context, SPARC will host a discussion series to provide an introduction to broad concepts and considerations of epistemic injustice and knowledge equity in the areas of academic libraries and archives. These discussions will examine how universities, and thus academic libraries, are rooted in oppressive systems like white supremacy, racism, and settler colonialism, and how that is connected to our current work in libraries.

In the first panel of this series, we will be joined by the speakers below for a 60-minute discussion on the roots of libraries, archives, and academic institutions in slavery and anti-Black racism.

  • Dorothy Berry, Digital Curator, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Dr. Kirt von Daacke, Assistant Dean and Professor, Department of History, University of Virginia
  • Dr. Shaundra Walker, Director of the Ina Dillard Russell Library, Georgia College & State University
  • Moderator: Kanishka Sikri, PhD Candidate, York University and Research Associate, Knowledge Equity Lab

To assist participants in building their understanding of topics explored in these webcasts, we are collaborating with Sofia Leung to provide resources for hosting local accountability & unlearning study groups as a part of this series. These resources will be provided to participants ahead of the discussions and will be made available online.

Anyone is welcome to register for this discussion. A recording will be made available the following day for those who are not able to join live. We also encourage the community to use the recordings and study group resources to participate on whatever schedule is most convenient—even if that is after the series itself has ended.

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