Saturday, March 28, 2015

SPA Spanish Sabbatical Prep: to read

Lesbian realities/lesbian fictions in contemporary Spain. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2011.

Robbins, Jill. Crossing through Chueca: lesbian literary culture in queer Madrid. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

SPA Sabbatical Prep: Deusto

Cobo Ortega, A., Rocha Blanco, R., & Alberto Vanti, A. (2013). Information Management in Global Environments: Swarm Intelligence in multilingual economic document repositories. Informacao & Sociedade: Estudos, 23(1), 27-38. Retrieved from

Garcia-Zubia, J., P. Orduña, U. Hernández, I. Angulo, and J. Irurzun. 2009. "Students' review of acceptance, usability and usefulness of WebLab-Deusto." Journal Of Digital Information Management 7, no. 3: 173-180. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts, EBSCOhost (accessed March 19, 2015).

Sáenz, Josune, Nekane Aramburu, and Carlos E. Blanco. (2011). Knowledge sharing and innovation: the case of Spanish and Colombian high-tech firms. Proceedings Of The [12th] European Conference On Knowledge Management [v.2], 863-871. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts, EBSCOhost (accessed March 19, 2015).
(not available anywhere)
Aramburu, Nekane, Josune Sáenz, Marta Buenechea, Mika Vanhala, and Paavo Ritala. 2014. "Comparison of the Intellectual Capital Between Finland and Spain." Proceedings Of The European Conference On Knowledge Management 1, 55-62. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts, EBSCOhost (accessed March 19, 2015).

Monday, March 9, 2015

My androgynous journey

From the time I was very young, I never felt comfortable with "girl" clothes or activities. Skirts and dressed were uncomfortable, showed my legs, were impractical, but pants were for boys/men. I always felt alone, different, scared. I clearly was not a boy but a tomboy - and that term was often used pejoratively. I was athletic but cried easily. As a 9- and 10-year-old, I ran a mile every day before school, and ran the 50-yard dash for the school track team. When I wore shorts in the summer, my dad asked why my legs were so big - my runner muscles deemed "ugly." I never liked wearing shorts again in public until recently. Both growing up and as a young adult I only ever felt safe outdoors and alone, where I could be just me, no one watching or judging.

Puberty was a nightmare. I didn't have any role models. My flannel shirts hid my femaleness but also led to others mistaking my gender--I didn't like either "miss" or "sir." Being female meant I was vulnerable to rape: a constant lack of safety. Being "lesbian" meant I was afraid that every girl/woman would think I was trying to hit on them. I feared being victimized if I outwardly expressed femininity or masculinity.

Being post-hysterectomy is so much better. Even though I have gained weight and look more clearly female, I am happier now with my body. But, having survived childhood sexual abuse, I still have to set clear boundaries with others over and over.

In high school I started reading LeGuin, which helped me understand gender differently, especially The Left Hand of Darkness. In university, I read Marge Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time, which used the androgynous "per" (short for person?) instead of he or she. That made sense to me. Later, Minnie Bruce Pratt's S/he and Barrie Jean Borich's My Lesbian Husband also helped me place myself.

When I came to work in GR in 1990, I was told by one lesbian not to come out until I was tenured, as her resignation had been demanded when she was publicly out(ed). She refused and fought to retain her position. One of my librarian colleagues told our director before he hired me, "You know she's a lesbian" in her judgmental and denigrating way, but he respected my privacy until I chose to tell him myself. In 1991, the university was discussing multiculturalism, which only included African-American issues, not other races/ethnicities and certainly not religion or lgbt. I asked to speak at the Faculty Forum and was reluctantly put on the agenda. The first few speakers were all white men who read their speeches (mostly anti-multiculturalism). I only had a few notes on one index card and spoke about the lack of representation of an invisible minority, both in books and in classroom discussions, passionately pleading for lesbians and gay men to be included in this definition of multiculturalism. The white man who followed me stood up and began to sing "Homo on the Range." No one stood up; no one called him on it; no one protested.

In the early 1990's, I volunteered at the LGBT Network of West Michigan. One of my friends came out as a female-to-male transgender man. I valued this friend, his confidence in me, and I learned through our conversations what this meant, as he learned himself. I learned to address and refer to him differently. I witnessed the difficulty he had with the medical system, without insurance, trying to get the right hormones. When he had the double mastectomy, I brought food and changed his drains, squeamish though I am, because he didn't have money for nursing care. When I read about feminist separatism, it did make some emotional sense to me, but not at all practical sense, as I had so many men friends. Michigan Womyn's Music Festival's policy of admitting women-biologically-born-women only was hateful to MTF transgender women, and it did not fit my views on equality. I joined Allies & Advocates at work, the LGBT Fungroup and later iteration Faculty & Staff Association. I became a convinced Quaker partly because of their views on the equality of all people and social justice activism trying to make the world better for all. When my wife and I became a couple, I experienced coming out all over again. But I faced my discomfort and fears, worked through them. Finally, these groups gave me a sense of safe community, where I am accepted as I am. And I keep learning, though other transgender friends, through my reading.

Lately I experienced an act of emotional/verbal violence in what was supposed to be a safe place and discussion, by someone who knows nothing of my story but who exercised his priviledge and power to label me, incorrectly, as "cisgender," i.e., born biologically female and identifying as female. His labelling was an act of aggression, trying to silence me. By labeling me instead of asking me to identify myself or asking for more of my story, he engaged in de-legitimizing and implicitly denying my perspectives, experiences, understanding, beliefs. No one stood up; no one called him on it; no one protested. And that motivated me to write some of my story here.

So here I am, an androgynous lesbian, an activist for most of my life. Setting boundaries, taking care of myself (with the help of wife, friends, therapist, psychiatrist), and hoping to challenge this man to learn to communicate nonviolently and facilitate difficult discussions without reacting with emotional/intellectual violence.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Information Literacy and Social Justice Activism

Consciousness-raising articles:

Beilin, Ian. "Beyond the Threshold: Conformity, Resistance, and the ACRL Information Literacy Framework for Higher Education." In the Library with the Lead Pipe. Feb. 25, 2015.

Wow, this is for the social activist! Similarly, this:
Beatty, Joshua. "Locating Information Literacy within Institutional Oppression." In the Library with the Lead Pipe. Sep. 24, 2014.

Joshua Beatty writes that the threshold concept framework bolsters prevailing power structures, especially when using capitalist metaphors such as "information marketplace" or "information ecosystem" and "authority" or "credentials" as judgments for "good" or "scholarly" resources. I think back to these 2 articles, which offer a more holistic view:
The framework does mandate, “understand that authority is the degree of trust that is bestowed and as such, authority is both contextual and constructed” and “understand that the quality and usefulness of a given piece of information is determined by the processes that went into making it.” For me, these come close to seeking to understand and remedy underlying issues that contribute to inequity and violence. Expertise cannot be limited to people with "higher" education degrees.

Interestingly enough, patron-driven acquisitions helps balance the disparity between librarians-as-experts choosing the "best" materials and students choosing their own materials. And I look to scientists as the best proponents of open access against the capitalist-driven publishing industry. However, I recognize that as an academic myself, I am both part of an inequality-creating/maintaining institution, and as a Quaker, am resistant. Paradox, anyone?