A Library Matter of Genocide: Native North American Genocides in Library of Congress subject Headings and Classification
Dudley, Michael. A Library Matter of Genocide: Native North American Genocides in Library of Congress subject Headings and Classification. HIST 2804 – Secrets of Museums, February 26th 2016.
The ways in which genocides, war crimes and atrocities are recognized by history can often depend on political considerations and alliances, and are, as a result, reflected in the language used to describe them. So it is with conventional library knowledge organization practices (i.e., LC and DDC) which often display problematic biases that do not always reflect the contents of the materials they seek to describe. This is particularly the case when the incidents in question relate to violent colonial encounters with Indigenous peoples. This session examines how the Library’ s ideologically-situated and euphemism-prone power to name can help to reinforce politically convenient but unjust narratives regarding historical and contemporary atrocities, and instead identifies sources of radical, progressive and Indigenous alternatives that can promote more accurate retrieval of — and, more importantly, honest engagements with — literatures of both the past and present.