Hope A. Olson, professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will give a guest lecture on classification and culture at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) on Tuesday, April 6, 2010, at noon in 347 Hinds Hall (the Katzer Room).

Olson’s lecture, “Greco-Euro-Settler Classification: Universality or Homogenization?,” will focus on the history and cultural context of classification through the ages, from ancient Greece to the Dewey Decimal Classification system. Her presentation will include excerpts of texts from Aristotle, Emile Durkheim and Marcel Mauss, Melvil Dewey, and the current Dewey Decimal Classification. These excerpts all demonstrate three characteristics of classification: mutually exclusive categories, teleology, and hierarchy. She will then examine why this view of classification is not universal by discussing classification from feminist, Chinese, and indigenous perspectives.

Olson is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Information Studies. Her research interests include classification theory, classification and culture, the organization of information, and the feminist, post-structural, and post-colonial perspectives. She holds an MLS from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Information Studies.

Olson’s talk will be recorded and available for viewing online later. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch. Drinks will be provided.