Unexpected and overlooked: Understanding epistemicide in information science


This year’s conference theme asks us to re-examine our work by seeking overlooked, under-cited, and emergent voices and scholarship, and transformative methodologies, partnerships, and relationships within and beyond our field. Indeed, the information professions need a paradigmatic shift to examine the ways we have systematically undermined knowledge systems falling outside of Western traditions. Epistemicide is the killing, silencing, annihilation, or devaluing of a knowledge system. Epistemicide happens when epistemic injustices are persistent, systematic, and collectively work as a structured oppression of particular ways of knowing. Addressing epistemicide is critical for information professionals because we task ourselves with handling knowledge from every field. There has to be a reckoning before the paradigm can truly shift; if there is no acknowledgement of injustice, there is no room for justice.

Jun 7, 2021 12:30 pm — 2:00 pm
Beth Patin
Beth Patin
Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA

Beth Patin is an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. Beth’s research agenda focuses on the equity of information in two research streams: crisis informatics and cultural competence. She is the co-founder of the Library Information Investigative Team research group and a recipient of the Meredith Teaching Award for Early Excellence. Currently, she is working on projects about epistemicide (defined as the silencing, killing, or devaluing of knowledge systems), critical community resilience, and digital humanities and the Civil Rights Movement. In 2007, Beth was named an American Library Association Emerging Leader. Currently, she is a member of the Advisory Board on the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries.