CalRBS Speaker Series: Global Book History and the Library
Curator of Rare Books and History of Printing, UCLA Library Special Collections
Wednesday, 8/4, 5:30pm
This talk discusses how materials were ‘valued’ in research library collections as they evolved from the early modern period to the modern period. Through an approach framed by racial capitalism, I discuss examples of value creation shared by most research libraries around themes of curiousness, colonialism, and canon-formation. By considering how value is created, this talk will illustrate how each of these values intertwined the development of rare book collections with the values emerging from Euro-American white supremacist ideologies.
About the speaker
Devin Fitzgerald is the Curator of Rare Books and the History of Printing at UCLA Library Special Collections. He received his PhD in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University in 2020, with a dissertation on the global circulation of Chinese books in the 17th century. His most recent article, “Manchu Language Pedagogical Practices: The Connections Between Manuscript and Printed Books,” explored the history of Manchu language education during the Qing dynasty in order to reconstruct the relationships between printed pedagogical genres and their manuscript counterparts. His current book project is a study of comparative Chinese and Anglo-American bibliography.
CalRBS Speaker Series:
Global Justice and an Ethical Imperative: CalRBS at a Social Crossroad
Robert D. Montoya
California Rare Book School
Wednesday, 8/11, 5:30pm
What is the role of a continuing education program such as CalRBS? And in what ways can CalRBS situate itself as a proponent of positive social change, authentic democratic activity, and global justice? As the social and political circumstances of our daily lives continue to shift radically from day-to-day—manifesting in conflict, ideological polarization, climate catastrophe, and widening income inequality, to name a few—our public memory institutions find themselves in a impossible role: they not only must preserve the documentary outputs our society and make them available for use, but they must also augment the failing social infrastructures that should otherwise provide adequate food, education, shelter, and epistemic empowerment. The shape of librarianship and rare book curatorship has changed in critical ways. Further, as library repositories around the world continue to lose funding, and in tandem reduce their programming and collecting activities, we are seeing rapid declines in many sectors of society, ranging from voter participation rates, literacy levels, and an understanding of science and knowledge outputs. The result of this is an uninformed and passive citizenry, a decline in public and individual health, and the degradation of our ecological surroundings. This grim reality is none other than a social, cultural, and epistemic emergency of the highest level.
The question is: Do librarians, curators, and the like have the pedagogical, theoretical, and methodological tools to meet these intense global challenges and support a reparative way forward? In this talk I will speak to new directions for CalRBS that emphasize the social and ethical responsibilities of libraries and curatorial spaces, and the necessity to integrate critical, anti-colonial, humanitarian, radical, and interventionist pedagogy alongside what we traditionally know as rare book and library education. I see this, simply, as a deep responsibility of the profession.
About the speaker
Robert D. Montoya is an assistant professor in the UCLA Department of Information Studies, School of Education and Information Studies, Director of UCLA’s California Rare Book School, and Director of the Library, Ethics, and Justice Lab. His research focuses on information representation and positionality, critical, ethical, and justice-oriented LIS work, public libraries, and international library development. He received his PhD from the Department of Information Studies at UCLA, a MLIS with a specialization in rare books, print and visual culture from UCLA, and a MFA in creative writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles.
CalRBS Speaker Series: Prison libraries, indigenous typography, and experimental publishing: reflections on #RadPubCDMX
Librarian for Digital Collection Development
Wednesday, 8/18, 5:30pm
The Radical Publishing in CDMX speaker series held in 2020-2021 represented an attempt to highlight transnationalism in bibliographic studies and tie bibliographic history to the current sociopolitical context from an explicitly global south perspective. As an archivist dedicated to building transnational postcustodial collaborations between the global north and south, I will explore the dynamics of transnational solidarity as well as hyperlocal collaborations in cultural heritage settings as they were highlighted in the Radical Publishing in CDMX speaker series, and offer some potential lessons for global north institutions. I will also reflect on the necessity of critical interventions, such as Radical Publishing in CDMX, and their possibilities for shifting centers of power within the cultural heritage field.
About the speaker
T-Kay Sangwand is a Certified Archivist, librarian, and DJ. She is currently the Librarian for Digital Collection Development at UCLA Library and holds a MLIS and MA in Latin American Studies from UCLA. Over the past twelve years she has worked at both UCLA and UT Austin to build preservation partnerships for human rights documentation and cultural heritage materials in the US, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. In 2017, she was named a Fulbright Specialist in Library and Information Science and in 2018-2019, she was a Fulbright Scholar with Mexico’s Ministry of Culture. She is currently a 2020-2022 Rare Book School / Mellon Foundation Cultural Heritage Fellow. Since 2001, T-Kay has worked in community radio and currently hosts the program “The Archive of Feelings” on dublab.com