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Open Access Publications from the University of California

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Interactions is based at the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies.

Partial funding provided by the UCLA Graduate Students Association

Articles

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.

Freire, Alienation, and Contemporary Youth: Toward a Pedagogy of Everyday Life

This paper asserts that Freire’s pedagogy has ongoing relevance for the study of contemporary youth alienation, given the centrality of estrangement in Freire’s philosophy and praxis. I argue that a critical pedagogy and sociology of youth alienation must: 1) interrogate the cultural logic of everyday life, 2) confront the spread of existential nihilism and loss of meaning amidst commodification and spectacle in capitalist society, and 3) investigate the subordination of education as a political and social project, as well as ethical end, amidst an intensification of instrumental reason. A renewed emancipatory project for critical pedagogy, based on a return to alienation as a core problematic, would confront widespread youth alienation and the general crisis of youth in late capitalism.

Increasing Minority Students' Access to Graduate Schools

Although higher education in the United States spans nearly four centuries, minority students continue to struggle to gain access to institutions of higher education, particularly at the graduate and professional levels. Based on survey data we collected in 2002 and 2003, we examined the financial considerations that Summer Research Opportunities Program participants took into account when deciding whether or not to pursue graduate degrees. We found that the participants from higher income brackets were more likely to tolerate a less favorable graduate school financial aid package than students from low- to middle-income brackets, which suggests that lower-income students are less likely to pursue graduate study if they are not offered competitive financial aid packages.

How Objective is Objectivity? A Critique of Current Trends in Educational Research

This paper explores the question of objectivity, focusing considerable attention on its explicit and implicit goals. It engages the critiques of positivism and objectivity from a variety of theoretical lenses including critical theory, poststructuralism, critical pedagogy, postcolonialism and feminism. It then explores recent trends in educational research that tend to fit within the positivist framework, including the recent National Research Council report Scientific Research in Education. It concludes by offering an alternative vision of critical educational research, where objectivity is abandoned as a goal and standpoint theory and critical hermeneutics are combined to create a more reflexive, phenomenological and dialogical epistemology founded on clear ethical and political positionality.

How the West was One? The American Frontier and the Rise of a Global Internet Imaginary

This paper connects the Turner thesis and the construction of a frontier imaginary to contemporary American practices as evidenced by the exportation of advanced Western science and technologies throughout the globe, using the Internet as a representative example. The dissemination of the Internet to non-Western cultures is a major global strategy at present, and the paper finds that this is occurring via the conceptual strokes of the “American West.” The paper argues that visions of a democratic Internet involve the metaphoric evocation of Turner’s frontier democracy and imperial progressivism. However, the “Western” directionality of imperialism is dialectically related to “whole-earth” discourse through a pervading global localism.

Wax Blocks, Data Banks, and File #0467839: The Archive of Memory in William Gibson’s Science Fiction

Concurrent with the so-called “Age of Information” has come a willingness to conceive of the human subject as a rich network of embodied informational systems. N. Katherine Hayles has been a pioneer in cultivating this line of thought, a study she dubs “posthuman” development. The notion of the posthuman has found ample expression in popular science fiction, especially in “cyberpunk.” While many talented authors contributed to the development of this genre, perhaps no other author has so fundamentally engaged with issues of memory, information science, and subjectivity in his cyberpunk fiction than William Gibson. This article attempts to link the concept of the archive of memory in William Gibson’s science fiction to Hayles’ posthuman development and Freud’s work on the psychical apparatus.

Memory Slain: Recovering Cultural Heritage in Post-war Bosnia

Violent conflicts between ethnic and religious groups in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the first half of the 1990s found both civilians and cultural heritage targeted for destruction. By attacking cultural heritage such as libraries, archives, museums, religious sites, and historic architecture, factions attempted to manipulate the collective memory of the region. Once the conflict ended, the people of Bosnia and others have made efforts to preserve remnants and reconstruct what was lost. Other routes to regaining the collective memory, including evidence presented in the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, should also be considered to supplement the documentary record. In this way, a more fully realized collective memory can be constructed, so that voices that were once silenced may be heard again.

Book Reviews