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OT: libraries (was Re: dialectal diversity in English)

From:Stone Gordonssen <stonegordonssen@...>
Date:Wednesday, May 7, 2003, 23:00
>If the list'll tolerate some more personal OT ramblings, I'm of the opinion >that a certain bit of eurocentrism is perfectly justified in history books >written by Europeans for Europeans. But eurocentrism, or >rather "occidentocentrism", is taken too far when my local library has >three >history books on France for each one on China, Korea or Japan, not to >mention >dozens on the Native American tribes of what is now the US, and _none_ on >pre- >Columbian Mesoamerica. Am I the only guy who finds the Aztecs more >interesting >that the Sioux, or even interesting at all? The absolute worst still >remains
The contents of libraries are determined by the interests, finances, politics and philosophies of the populace which the libraries serve. At best, they reflect the diversity of that populace; at worst, only the core "approved" elements of that populace. E.g. Seattle Publc Library has much on the culture of Asia; Phoenix Public Library, much on the culture of US southwest. Add to this those individuals and groups who legislate, sue and physically pilfer libraries to ensure that the libraries contain only those texts of which they approve. (I expect this to progressively worsen across the USA. Since the passage of the Patriot Act, the US Gov can demand access to library patrons' records re: materials checked out while the libraries are restricte from altertingthe patron.) What can anyone do? Volunteer to be on the board for the library, make requests for the purchase of specific books for the library, donate books to the library. Still no one library can meet all the needs of anyone working on speciialized reasearch. Interlibrary loans can help with this *if* the library supports them (first time I requested an interlibrary loan in Phoenix, the staff reacted as if I'd suddenly sprouted goat-horns from my forehead).
>the history books we had in high school - not only did they waste paragraph >after paragraph expunding on the evil eurocentrism of older school >textbooks, >they also devoted a pathetic few percent of the space available to >non-Western >history, and portraited non-Westerners almost exclusively as passive >victims >of European aggression. After readin them, one might be forgiven if one >believed that the slave trade and colonialization was all that ever >happened >in sub-Saharan Africa.
Pretty disgusting, eh? Nice mea-culpa act without having to actually acknowledge credit where it is due in other cultures. _________________________________________________________________ MSN 8 with e-mail virus protection service: 2 months FREE*


Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>