Brazilian Black Librarianship
The Fight Against the Epistemicide of Black Thought in the Library Profession
In Brazil, only recently has Brazilian Black Librarianship (Biblioteconomia Negra Brasileira in Portuguese; BNB) experienced renewed interest as an intellectual, professional and bibliographic movement that ranges from professional training and performance to theoretical and epistemological reflections on the critical reflections produced by Black librarians, as well as research on ethnic and racial issues, socioeconomic conditions, and the Black population within Library and Information Science (Biblioteconomia e Ciência da Informação in Portuguese; BCI). This article presents the BNB movement through its history, praxis, and curricular transformation of the library profession in the context of the epistemologies produced by Black librarians in Brazil. The justification for this study lies in debating how LIS as a field promotes and reproduces whiteness and the death of knowledge of Black librarians (and librarians belonging to non-white ethnic and racial groups), resulting in the exclusion of this knowledge in libraries, praxis, and librarian education training. In other words, whiteness in Brazilian librarianship is instituted as an exercise in epistemicide, nullifying or hiding other epistemologies. For the socio-critical construction of the framework of this research, we analyzed of books, articles, theses, dissertations, annals of scientific events in the field, and manuals published in the period from 1987 to 2020. Such information sources were drawn from databases, websites of scientific events, class councils and professional associations, graduate programs in information science, and the Brazilian platform for researchers' curricula, Currículo Lattes. In this theoretical framework, we sought to uncover the way that Brazilian LIS education promotes Eurocentric (white) thinking and renders racial debate and Black intellectuals invisible, drawing from the philosophies of Grada Kilomba, Sueli Carneiro and Boaventura de Sousa Santos. Anchored in these theoretical references from different areas of knowledge, we debate the fight against the epistemicide of Black thought within the scope of scientific production in Brazilian librarianship. Finally, we bring the profile of Black Brazilian librarians and their performance with ethnic-racial issues, and the scientific production of Black librarians at BNB that gave rise to the movement to introduce Black epistemologies in LIS. The conclusion points to critical perspectives that bring the discussion on race to the center of the field and the formation of a Brazilian tradition of theories and methods through the struggles and resistance of the country's Black communities.
Pre-print first published online 7/17/2023
Copyright (c) 2022 Franciele Carneiro Garcês-da-Silva, Gustavo Silva Saldanha
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