Critical Approaches to Credit-Bearing Information Literacy Courses. Angela Pashia and Jessica Critten, eds. Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries, 2019. 328p. Paper, $62.00 (ISBN 978-0-8389-8947-0).

Scott Curtis


One of the more fraught adjectives in academic discourse is the word “critical.” The term “critical” as a precedent to any number of terms (“theory,” “pedagogy,” “literacy,” and “librarianship” are only a few) brings to the reader’s mind an array of scholarship, a large body of literature and criticism, as well as a spectrum of possible interpretations of meaning and consequence. At their core, each of these critical approaches represents a close examination and questioning of that which represents the consensus, the status quo, the establishment understanding of the subject. Our shared consensus understanding has developed through systemic choices, leading to an academic and larger socioeconomic environment that has centered the viewpoints of, and worked to the advantage of, predominantly white middle- and upper-class heterosexual men. A critical approach to information literacy pedagogy therefore seeks to decenter this predominant, consensus viewpoint from how we teach information literacy.

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