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KNOW and Information Literacy: Voices

This guide offers ideas, suggestions, and above all else, an invitation to Puget Sound faculty to collaborate with librarians when designing student research assignments under the KNOW (Knowledge, Power, Identity) rubric.

Adding Voices

Use these databases to explore non-mainstream media coverage of the news.

Who Speaks? Who Listens? Who Decides?

Key questions for students to ask include:

Who is speaking?  How does the the act of speaking reflect power and privilege disparities?

Who is listening?  Underrepresented groups may be speaking, but their opinions may not be listened to due to power and privilege differences.

Who decides who may speak?  Who decides to whom to pay attention?

Assignment Ideas

  • Consider a class session in the Archives and Special Collections.   We have several lesson plans on campus history that encourage critical thinking about the creation of an archival record and the place of underrepresented groups within that record.
  • Invite students to compare non-mainstream and mainstream voices.  For example, in the August 16, 2015 issue of The New York Times Magazine, journalist Nick Pinto writes about "The Bail Trap," which disproportionately affects lower-income people.  However, a quick search of Ethnic NewsWatch shows that this has been a focus of the African American press for quite some time.  Witness this April 1999 article from The Afro-American Starthis 2012 article in The Louisiana Weeklyand many more.
  • Encourage students to critically engage with the ways that they access the news.  How does the Google News aggregator work?  How does the Facebook "Trending News" feature work?  What is included/excluded?

Silences & Absences

The second chapter of Trouillot's book offers a typology of the ways--whether deliberate or unconscious--in which silence in the historical record can be enforced.