We are thrilled to announce that Beth Patin and Tyler Youngman of Syracuse University have been awarded the prestigious ALISE Best Conference Paper Award for 2022

Their paper, “The Sankofa Intervention: Combatting the Epistemicide of Parasitic Omission Through Civil Rights Literacy in Community Information Contexts” explores how building civil rights literacy can help correct generational harm. 

Patin is an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University, and is also the President of nonprofit organization Rocket City Civil Rights (RCCR), which works to disrupt hegemonic epistemic history by reimagining community histories and driving social change through community collections derived from local libraries, archives, museums, digital projects and learning resources. 

Their work amplifies the roles community information collections play in addressing epistemicide and epistemic injustices. Epistemicide is the annihilation of a way of knowing and its injustices are harmful to our capacity of knowing. 

Examining the work of RCCR, Patin and Youngman’s paper presents specific tools that work to suppress knowledge including parasitic omission and beneficent gatekeeping. And interrupts these tools and methods of epistemicide through the utilization of sankofic principles which in this context means going back and collecting the narratives that have been omitted in the community’s history, curriculum, and collective narrative. 

Using RCCR as a case study, their research demonstrates how building civil rights literacy can help correct generational harm by amplifying the missing narratives within our communities and discusses these implications for library and information science education.

This award from ALISE recognizes the impact that this work will have on how we educate future librarians and information professionals.

“First and foremost, I am an educator,” says Patin. “I’ve always chosen to pursue work that allows me to impact larger communities, from a classroom, to the entire school, to educating the next generation of educators that will go out and interact with that many more kiddos. We have been miseducating librarians and this work speaks to how we fix this in our graduate schools and in our practice. And, I got to use my family’s history to make this argument. It feels awesome to receive this award for this work.”

Youngman, a PhD student with Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, has been pursuing this type of work since his undergraduate years. In addition to the honor of receiving this award, he is excited at the opportunity to connect with the wider community of educators and librarians and see the impact of his research pursuits. 

“I am beyond thrilled to attend ALISE this fall, as I recently finished my MSLIS in 2021 and just completed my first year as a PhD student, so many of my conference and professional experiences have been virtual,” explains Youngman. “As an aspiring LIS educator, I am incredibly excited to network with LIS professionals and gain new insights on the state of the field. As a doctoral student, I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in innovative and collaborative research projects with fellow faculty and students, including with my advisor Dr. Beth Patin. I am overjoyed that this paper was recognized for its contributions to LIS theory and practice, and I look forward to continuing this important work on epistemicide.”