The Sankofa Intervention

Combatting the Epistemicide of Parasitic Omission Through Civil Rights Literacy in Community Information Contexts


  • Beth Patin Syracuse University School of Information Studies
  • Tyler Youngman



epistemicide, parasitic omission, beneficent gatekeeping, third harm, civil rights literacy, epistemic injustice


Rocket City Civil Rights (RCCR) disrupts hegemonic epistemic history by reimagining community histories and driving social change through community collections derived from local libraries, archives, museums, digital projects and learning resources. This work amplifies the roles community information collections play in addressing epistemicide and epistemic injustices. Epistemicide is the annihilation of a way of knowing and its injustices are harmful to our capacity of knowing. We present specific tools used to suppress knowledge including parasitic omission and beneficent gatekeeping. We interrupt these tools and methods of epistemicide through the utilization of Sankofic principles, which in our context means going back and collecting the narratives that have been omitted in our community’s history, curriculum, and collective narrative. Using RCCR as a case study, this research demonstrates how building civil rights literacy can help correct generational harm by amplifying the missing narratives within our communities, thus deriving new insights for LIS education.


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Juried Papers