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Thursday, July 19 • 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Information Literacy Beyond the Academy: Enabling Participation in Multiple Information Contexts through a Critical Rhetorical Awareness

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In describing the choices experts make to align themselves with disciplinary conventions and expectations, each of the Framework for Information Literacy six frames situates IL’s value within a single, broad context: Academia. But does academic expertise easily transfer to the personal, professional, and civic contexts students also inhabit? Is it useful for addressing all the situations encountered in those contexts?
To become information literate in all contexts, a critical awareness of how ideologies condition participation is necessary. Informed by rhetoric--which recognizes how social contexts constrain available means of persuasion--this awareness can help students read and adapt to the demands of any context. In its turn towards social constructionist philosophies, the field recognizes that a discourse, lay or academic, “can never be innocent, can never be a disinterested arbiter of the ideological claims of others because it is always already serving certain ideological claims.”1 Every practice, from selecting search strategies to choosing appropriate evidence to integrating source material, is situated. Nothing is universal; a practice’s value and meaning must be understood in context. A critical awareness of any rhetoric’s situated nature can act as a schema for learning context-specific expectations and practices when the need arises.
This presentation will demonstrate the essential elements of a critical awareness based on rhetoric. It will also analyze how the existing Frames limit the development of a transferable awareness. Finally, it will propose conceptual and semantic changes to the Frames that will accommodate a more expansive approach to information literacy.

1. Berlin, J. (1988). Rhetoric and ideology in the writing class. College English, 50, 477- 494.

avatar for Joel Burkholder

Joel Burkholder

Reference and Instruction Librarian, Penn State York

Thursday July 19, 2018 2:30pm - 3:30pm MDT
Library Event Space (L 139)