Information Literacy in a Post-Truth Era
April 7, 2021
The founders of American democracy believed it could not survive without an “informed citizenry”. What does an informed citizenry look like in today’s world? And what role do we have as educators and students to support it? First, we look at the significant challenges to institutional and media legitimacy that emerged in the second half of the 20th century, which rightfully called attention to the ways longstanding Western knowledge practices excluded marginalized communities and silenced important histories. We ask about the status of norms and mores in the aftermath of this challenge, in an era often called “post-truth.”Second, we consider the challenges of teaching information literacy. To the extent that we teach it at all, how have our instructions to “do the research” and “avoid fake news” failed? We invite instructors to interrogate their own information literacy practices (which are typically invisible); and to understand, empathize with, and value students’ information literacy practices.
Jeffery Gonzalez, Assistant Professor of English, teaches courses on 20th and 21st century American literature. His research and writing explore how literary forms and narratives relate to economic, political, and social concerns. He has published essays in the academic journals Critique, Mosaic, and College Literature, among others.
Catherine Baird, Online and Outreach Librarian, teaches and studies information literacy, and her recent publications examine MSU faculty and students. She and collaborator Jonathan Howell, Associate Professor of Linguistics, have written and presented on librarian-faculty collaboration. Their current book project, Teaching Information Literacy, offers faculty an accessible and practical introduction to recent research in the learning and information sciences.