Call for Contributions to Book: ‘Teaching (in) libraries and archives’

Students of gender studies are expected to know their way around libraries and archives when searching for information, but are rarely invited to critically reflect on the way these political, gendered knowledge spaces are actively involved in knowledge production practices. Whilst feminist standpoint theory with its recognition that knowledge(s) are situated is now commonplace, libraries and archives have so far escaped critical attention as both knowledge producers in their own right and as constituted by technologies of knowledge. The conventional understanding of libraries and archives as depositories and repositories of knowledge has not yet been structurally interrogated from a feminist perspective, and there is little emphasis on libraries as locations and as subjects and objects of political and social knowledge regimes.

This volume aims to fill that gap, by offering a consideration of (women’s) libraries and archives form different and complementary perspectives. The book will provide inspiration and guidance to teachers of gender studies and assist them in navigating with their students through the complex situationality of the library and archive. The goal of the volume is to ‘open the black box of the library’ through combining and connecting theoretical questions concerning power, knowledge and gender to feminist library practices. It will aim to make teachers aware of the analogies between the histories and practices of gender studies and women’s libraries and archives, and of the questions and challenges involved in preserving and disseminating feminist knowledge. It will showcase the library as a lively, fast changing, and thoroughly political space with which students can be taught to engage both critically and creatively, and within which lies embedded the possibility of a multitude of feminist practices.

The book will be divided in three thematic sections. In the first section Legacies/Histories, libraries and archives will be presented in and through the historical legacies of knowledge production in general, and feminist knowledge practices in particular. The second section Practices provides a showcase of current library practices indicating how the knowledge/power nexus is embedded in these practices. The last section Utopias will provide a glimpse of the library of the future and its new paradigms by linking the library to cutting-edge technologies and new perspectives, for example from science and technology studies. The volume will include an annex with references to relevant databases for gender studies teachers, students and researchers.

Contributions on the following issues are welcome:

  • the intersections between gender, race, class, sexuality in the development of professional librarianship in Europe;
  • the (historical and institutional) relationship between Gender Studies and women’s libraries; 
  • the role of libraries and librarians in the production of cultural memory, identity and citizenship; 
  • the library as cultural icon, metaphor and myth;
  • theoretical engagements with the deployment of power/knowledge through archival practices in library spaces;
  • new library paradigms: libraries as mediators, knowledge brokers, concrete examples of dilemma’s inherent to library work;
  • practitioner insights into feminist librarianship;
  • perspectives on transformations in/of library spaces and practices in relation to new technological developments, such as engagements with libraries as Actor Networks, the (il)legality of information sharing through virtual libraries, and the virtuality of librarianship in the 21st century.

Contributing scholars must be located in Europe. In order to ensure a good geographical spread, perspectives from Eastern and Southern Europe and Scandinavia are particularly welcome.

Contributions submitted must be original and unpublished accounts

Deadline for submissions: 10th April 2012
Internal review process: 15th of May 2012

Please forward your queries and submissions to both editors:

Sanne Koevoets, email
researcher & teacher in Gender Studies and New Media and Digital Culture at the department of Media and Cultural Studies, University of Utrecht, the Netherlands

Dr. Sara de Jong, email:
researcher, Aletta, Institute for Women’s History, the Netherlands

The volume is to be published in the book series ‘Teaching Gender’ of the Atgender Network

Information about the ‘Teaching Gender’ Book Series:
The ATHENA thematic network and ATGENDER bring together specialists in women’s and gender studies, feminist research, women’s rights, gender equality and diversity. In the book series ‘Teaching with Gender’ the partners in this network have collected articles on a wide range of teaching practices in the field of gender. The books in this series address challenges and possibilities of teaching about women and gender in a wide range of educational contexts. The authors discuss pedagogical, theoretical and political dimensions of learning and teaching on women and gender. Previous volumes have for example included ‘Teaching Empires’ and ‘Teaching Intersectionality’. More information about the Teaching Gender Book series can be found here: