Abstract

Abstract:

Whether the library in question is as small as a personal collection of books or as large as the Borgesian conception of the library as universe, this article argues that “The Library” can function as a fantasy space that denies its role in white supremacy even while it is intimately and affectively tied to it. As such, the fantasy of the library is a significant obstacle in terms of “denaturalizing whiteness in academic library spaces” (Brook, Ellenwood, and Lazzaro 2015). In order to reveal what the fantasy of the library always seeks to obscure, this article examines three types of “affective economies” (Ahmed 2004): that of library awe, that of library nostalgia, and that of library trespass. By drawing attention to these affective economies, the hope is to shift focus away from the library as a fantastic space to the bodies that circulate in libraries. In doing so, a distinction is always drawn between the bodies that belong and do not belong in library space. Given my status as light-skinned Latina academic librarian, I weave autoethnographic analysis throughout the article as a way of addressing that liminal space between belonging and not-belonging in the library, further accentuating how belonging at the library is constructed around whiteness. In contrast to the affective economy analysis that precedes it, the final section of the article examines how library video tours created by students of color portray aspects of library awe and library nostalgia while also establishing the right of bodies of color to take up space in libraries and fashion their own, sometimes fantastic narratives.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-0682
Print ISSN
0024-2594
Pages
pp. 431-449
Launched on MUSE
2020-04-02
Open Access
No
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