Feminist and Queer Information Studies Reader by Rebecca Dean and Patrick Keilty (Eds.)
This reader came from the same genesis as the Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies Colloquium (I wrote about the 2014 event here). It was attending this colloquium that raised my awareness about this work, and I'm so glad it did. This is an excellent reader for anyone in information science, feminist and queer studies, or interested in the intersections of these fields.
I'm always excited when I see my various professional and personal interests coincide. Feminism and queer studies is a huge part of my life, and I've chosen to pursue library and information science as my career. I love it when I see that others are interested in the harmonies and tensions between areas of interests that I am personally engaged with.
I remember being hugely impressed with the variety and breadth of content included in the work. There are works by well established library professionals and academics (such as D. Grant Campbell and Pamela McKenzie), as well as works from people involved in archival theory and practice (such as Ann Cvetkovich).
What I valued most, however, was the inclusion of writers that are well known in queer studies circles that I had not thought to connect to LIS. This is especially true in the case of the inclusion of The Brandon Archive by J. Jack Halberstam (credited as Judith Halberstam) which is a chapter in a book I will discuss elsewhere in this project, In a Queer Time and Place, and the inclusion of the essay On Torture: Abu Ghraib by Jasbir Puar. Puar and Halberstam are hugely influential thinkers in my life, but I had never connected their works to information science before reading this collection.
This work is thought provoking and takes a holistic, interdisciplinary look at feminism and queer studies in the broad field of information studies in a way that has continued to challenge me to look at a lot of my favourite fields in new ways.
Story (50%): Unlike the non-fiction works that have a story appeal in the building of one single argument throughout the work, the story appeal of this work is more subtle. Each chapter is its own little, self-contained argument, and the book read quickly as I was able to piece together each author's take on gender, feminism, and information science. I wanted to keep reading to see the varied ways these scholars were approaching the subject. While it was not a breathless roller coaster ride like some works that have the story appeal factor can be, I wanted to experience each author's take on these intersecting fields.
Language (50%): Like A Bang, a Whimper and a Beat, I am attracted to the heavily academic style of writing in this book. The contributors are giving scholarly treatment to concepts that I and others experience every day, and I reading their arguments and feeling like I'm expanding my knowledge and learning something about myself and the world around me.
Character is not a major appeal element for this work as the essays were more abstract and did not lend themselves to seeing myself in them or relating to specific people. Setting was also not a factor in my enjoyment of this work.