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#CiteBlackWomeninLIS Challenge: Introduction

What is Cite Black Women?

Cite Black Women is a campaign to push people to engage with the intellectual and creative production of Black Women. Christen A. Smith, found of Cite Black Women, co-authored an article in 2021 entitled "We are not named”: Black women and the politics of citation in anthropology" which explored how Black women anthropologists were continuously left out of the scholarly discourse. Smith along with her co-author, Dominique Garett-Scott analyzed 5,445 citations from the top 5 leading Anthropology journals and found that despite Black women representing 2.6% of the profession, they only showed up in 0.87% of citations.

The Cite Black Women Praxis:

#1 - Read Black women's work
#2 - Integrate Black women into the CORE of your syllabus (in life & in the classroom).
#3 - Acknowledge Black women's intellectual production. 
#4 - Make space for Black women to speak. 
​#5 - Give Black women the space and time to breathe. 

#CiteBlackWomenInLIS Challenge

As most are already aware, librarianship is over representationally White. Only 6.8% of librarians are Black, and it's unclear how many are Black women because of a lack of intersecting data points. It is safe to assume, however, that Black women are underrepresented in our profession and scholarly discourse.

In response to Sofia Leung's keynote for the 2020 Critical Librarianship & Pedagogy Symposium, Jessica Dai created the #CiteBlackWomeninLIS Challenge which actively encourages people to intentionally read Black women's work in LIS and apply that work to our standard practice.

I aim to bring her challenge to our library. The libguide outlines assigned readings each month by Black women in our field. There will be a standing meeting the last Thursday every month at 3pm (except for November which will be on December 1st to account for the Thanksgiving holiday).

All are welcomed to attend the discussion meetings. While you do not have to do all the readings to attend the meetings, it is strongly encouraged.  A lot of what is written comes from lived experience so honor the experiences, voices, and intellectual production of the women who fill this libguide. While reading, think about key takeaways and actions you can take to incorporate the authors’ perspectives and experiences into your work and scholarship.

Please note that these readings might invoke emotional reactions, and you may want to reflect and check-in on yourself through this process. If you have questions about any part of the readings, you are encouraged to take on the labor of self-education first.

Resources for White Colleagues

In going through this process, it is important to practice metacognition and check-in with yourself. If you are new to this journey, it might help to check out the following resources to provide context to typical shared reactions among White people when first stepping into DEI issues. It can also help you in being mindful of your reaction so you can study and understand it better.


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Breanne Crumpton