Syracuse University iSchool professor LaVerne Gray was the featured speaker at the March 17, 2022 Augusta Baker Diversity Series.

Her talk,  “Soil Sifting: Unearthing Ancestral Communities in the Black Informational Experience, was about unearthing black lives and the communities that surround them, and the unique opportunity this provides to reveal the cultural dimension of micro-histories that have shaped society. This talk features familial/genealogical research to place ancestors in the company of others. Using narrative examples from research exploring the informational lives of Black women and other collective efforts, the lecture situates knowledge sharing and cultural consciousness. These community-based information spaces account for the tradition of collective liberation, engendering voice, and facilitating change from the grassroots.

Two other Syracuse iSchoolers have also had the honor of participating in this series. Professor Beth Patin, whose 2021 talk was on epistemicide. Epistemicide is the killing, silencing, annihilation, or devaluing of a knowledge system and this happens when epistemic injustices are persistent and systematic and collectively work as a structured and systemic oppression of our particular ways of knowing. Thus far, we’ve identified 4 types of epistemic injustices: testimonial, hermeneutical, participatory, and curriculum. Assumptions of neutrality in language, social processes, and professions are part of how we arrived at the present historical moment in time. Acknowledgement of and taking steps to interrupt epistemic injustices and its specific harms are necessary actions towards justice.

And alumna Becky Leathersich, who is part of the next lecture on the topic of evaluating AAPI representations in youth literature. Register for her talk here.