Weekly Response Alana Mohamed

I was especially excited to read Furner’s article on Dewey because I have recently been thinking of race and Dewey. I can’t remember if I wrote about this before but I was looking at Dewey subjects recently and realized that for European and American literature there were subdivisions such as “fiction” “non-fiction” “drama” “poetry”–vast categories that hinted at the variations and nuance within these regional literatures. However non-Western countries were hardly afforded the same privilege. Categorization was mostly based on location (“Africa”->”South African literature”) which was surprising to me. I know that there is a lot of bureaucracy surrounding change in classification but I never knew how slow things were to change!

I was particularly interested in Furner’s discussions of self identification and mixed race people, something I had never thought of before.  I began to think about user-based tagging and classification. If we gave mixed race people to define information on their terms what would our classification system look like? I truly have little idea and know that there are a broad spectrum of people who consider themselves mixed race and a broad number of varying issues they face. I did think it was cool to imagine a new language in categorizing based on a new perspective. It makes me wonder about the diversity of catalogers and librarians. Would it make a difference if we sought out marginalized people to navigate and classify their own histories?


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