MLIS & Dual Students: MLIS Core

MAS Students: MAS core & permission of the iSchool Graduate Advisor

GOAL: This course focuses on the role of libraries and information professionals in resisting or reinforcing unequal and unjust balances of power in society. Within the context of a broad range of information professions, this course explores librarianship’s progressive ethos: how libraries and librarians have been agents of social justice and how they have not. Students will engage with information studies scholarship from diverse perspectives and learn how to amplify marginalized voices in the profession. Students will further develop their critical lens through which to examine a number of contemporary issues facing the scholarly and professional community, from rights to information and privacy to changing labour relations in information work. Throughout this course, we will develop professional skills to prepare students to act as inflexion points between information institutions and community advocates.


Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Describe and critique the norms, philosophy, principles, and ethics of the information professions [1.4, 5.1];
  • Conduct themselves in a manner consistent with a contemporary, critical, and progressive version of the philosophy, principles, and ethics of the information professions [5.1];
  • Advocate on behalf of the profession and the diverse constituencies that the profession serves [5.2];
  • Communicate effectively with researchers and activists in cultural services and social justice [2.2, 3.1];
  • Identify and analyze the range of information-related challenges and opportunities that face diverse individuals, communities, and organizations, particularly those marginalized or misrepresented in information interventions [1.1];
  • Respond to the information-related challenges and aspirations of diverse individuals, communities, and organizations through collaboration, support, and humility [1.1, 5.1, 5.2];
  • Describe the principles and ethics of critical information studies and the influences and contributions of related fields such as science and technology studies, gender studies, and race studies to this field [4.1];
  • Critically evaluate information institutions’ programs and interventions [4.2];
  • Articulate the ideas and concepts of critical theory in a variety of communication modes including oral, written, and multimedia [2.1];
  • Synthesize and apply existing scholarship from information studies, critical theory, and cognate fields to identify and develop significant theoretical and practical questions [4.1].


  • The scholarly heritage of critical librarianship and critical information studies
  • Neutrality and the progressive ethos in information professions
  • Codes of conduct and ethics in contemporary information professions
  • Post-colonial, anti-racist, feminist, and queer theory in information work
  • The information professional as advocate
  • Marginalized voices in information studies scholarship
  • Radical, progressive, and social justice librarianship
  • Representation & discrimination in knowledge organization
  • Metrics bias in collection management and scholarly communication
  • Witnessing and holding space as information professionals
  • Communication obstacles and strategies in social justice