Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality, and to see the links to virtual rooms.

Accepted Paper:

“The link between books and literacy is self-explanatory”: Critiquing libraries, literacy and children’s books in a rural Malawian village.  
Thandeka Cochrane (King's College London)

Paper short abstract:

Based on 18 months doctoral fieldwork studying libraries, literacy and children’s book in rural Malawi, this paper asks how one can go about critiquing these concepts that seem to hold an unequivocal good. It suggests that a concrete focus on relations of power can help navigate this terrain.

Paper long abstract:

Surely, everyone thinks libraries, children books and literacy are unequivocally good things? So how does one go about critically studying them? This paper reflects on 18 months doctoral research in a village in northern rural Malawi studying libraries, literacy, and children’s books. It reflects on the difficulties of taking a critical stance on practices and objects - libraries, literacy and books - that are so deeply tied into conceptions of positive good(s) that many find it incredulous that one would want to critique them. In the paper I explore how I tried to navigate the tension of seeing potentially destructive and oppressive relations of power at play in the production of literacy practices, building of libraries and the distribution of children’s books, with the feeling, held by myself as well as others, that these things are in some way inherently good and that all children should have access to them. By unpacking the ways in which libraries and imported and donated Anglophone children’s books circulate into the villages on lines of colonial entanglement, I explore how this can lead to a reproduction of colonial hierarchies and exclusions. I suggest that paying close attention specifically to the relations of power that these are entangled in, and the marginalisations and inequalities that these relations produce can help us navigate the difficult tensions of critiquing what we like.

Panel Evid01a
Critiquing what we like I
  Session 1 Friday 2 April, 2021, -