The Sister Thea Bowman Lecture Series on Social Justice in Library and Information Science

Event Start Date: Thursday, October 7, 2021 - 6:00 pm

Event End Date: Thursday, October 7, 2021 - 7:00 pm

Title: The Ethics of Epistemic Justice: Addressing Epistemicide through Social Justice in LIS
Speaker: Dr. Beth Patin

Please RSVP to receive the link to the online lecture event.

Abstract: The information professions need a paradigmatic shift to examine the ways we have systematically undermined knowledge systems falling outside of Western traditions and I argue for an ethical shift to address these injustices within our programs, services, and curricula. Epistemicide is the killing, silencing, annihilation, or devaluing of a knowledge system. Epistemicide happens when epistemic injustices are persistent, systematic, and collectively work as a structured oppression of particular ways of knowing. Addressing epistemicide is critical for information professionals because we task ourselves with handling knowledge from every field. There must be a reckoning before the paradigm can truly shift; if there is no acknowledgement of injustice, there is no room for justice.

About the Speaker: Beth Patin is an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. Beth’s research agenda focuses on the equity of information in two research streams: crisis informatics and cultural competence. She is the co-founder of the Library Information Investigative Team research group and a recipient of the Meredith Teaching Award for Early Excellence. Currently, she is working on projects about epistemicide (defined as the silencing, killing, or devaluing of knowledge systems), libraries during disaster and crisis, and digital humanities and the Civil Rights Movement. In 2007, Beth was named an American Library Association Emerging Leader. Currently, she is a member of the Advisory Board on the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries. Website:

Accommodations and Special Needs: For disability accommodations please contact the department at or 202-319-5085. In all situations, a good faith effort (up until the time of the event) will be made to provide accommodations.

About the Lecture Series: Advancing social justice is a long tradition and core value of information professionals and cultural heritage institutions. The Department of Library and Information Science at CatholicU has always embodied the principle of social justice in its teaching, research and service. It instills a mindset that nurtures a commitment to community service, an openness to change and global perspectives, and a dedication to the philosophy, principles, and legal and ethical responsibilities of the field for the society. In order to represent its tradition in upholding core values and responsibility for social justice, in spring 2019, we are pleased to inaugurate a dedicated lecture series on social justice named after Sister Thea Bowman.

Sr. Thea BowmanSister Thea Bowman was a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration. She attended Viterbo College in La Crosse, Wisconsin, while preparing to enter the convent. She earned a M.A. and Ph.D in English from The Catholic University of America. She went on to teach at elementary schools and later at CatholicU and Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana. After sixteen years in academia, Sister Thea Bowman became a consultant for intercultural awareness for the Diocese of Mississippi. Her programs were designed to break down racial and cultural barriers. She believed that through communication and understanding of other cultures and ethnicities, racial injustice could be minimized. Many felt that Sister Thea Bowman’s efforts left a lasting mark on U.S. Catholic life in the late 20th century. An influential speaker on music and diversity and inclusion, her work continues to have a profound impact on the world. After battling cancer, Sister Thea Bowman, died in 1990. The United States bishops endorsed her canonization to sainthood in November, 2018. Her case will continue for approval through commission. If approved, her cause will proceed to the Vatican where she will be declared venerable.

Symposium and Colloquium Committee

Sung Un Kim (chair)
Jane Zhang
Sue Yeon Syn

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