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Centering justice/decentering whiteness: the case for abolition in information literacy pedagogical praxis

Teresa Helena Moreno (University Library, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 13 November 2023

Issue publication date: 5 March 2024




The purpose of this paper is to make visible the field's propensity to center whiteness even in engaging inclusive practices in information literacy classrooms. This paper offers abolitionist pedagogy as a means to understand and address these concerns.


This paper uses interdisciplinary research methods in the fields of education, library science, feminist studies, Black studies and abolition studies to examine and provide an analysis of current information literacy practices by using abolitionist pedagogy to articulate how it is possible to expand information literacy instruction practices.


Current information literacy practices and methods that seek to create inclusive learning environments for racialized and minoritized learners rely on a set of institutionalized practices such as critical information literacy and culturally sustaining pedagogies. An examination of these practices through an abolitionist pedagogical lens reveals how the field has engaged in reductive and uncritical engagement with these methods despite employing them to create inclusive spaces. Using abolitionist pedagogy as a lens, this critical essay examines the field's foundations in whiteness and illustrates pathways for transformative educational justice.


There has been much work on inclusive teaching practices that discusses challenging information literacy structures' reliance on dominant culture.? To date, there has been little to no scholarship on how information literacy practices could engage in abolitionist pedagogical praxis.



Moreno, T.H. (2024), "Centering justice/decentering whiteness: the case for abolition in information literacy pedagogical praxis", Reference Services Review, Vol. 52 No. 1, pp. 133-148.



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