The iSchool was well represented at the international conference, "Information and Power in History," which was held at the VU University Amsterdam on March 16-17. Organized by the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, in collaboration with Radboud University and Utrecht University, the conference attracted scholars from a wide variety of historical and other disciplines.
Professor Alistair Black and Associate Professor Bonnie Mak delivered the paper, "Period, Theme and Event: Pedagogical Keys to Understanding the Place of Power Relations in the History of Information." Their presentation offered a "period-theme-event framework," identifying the promise of the information history field by highlighting the work of researchers who do not necessarily answer to the label of "information historian." Much of this work raises issues of power and more specifically, the concept of power relations, including resistance to power. The paper was based on Black and Mak's information history course at the iSchool, which runs as a seminar and functions on a discussion of publications by scholars in a variety of disciplines.
Doctoral candidate Claudia Serbanuta spoke on the subject of "Leveraging Information-Organization Knowledge in Communist Public Libraries in Romania." Her presentation shared preliminary results of her dissertation research, an oral history project documenting and analyzing the services provided by communist public libraries. The paper discusses how, in spite of intricate political and contextual limitations, public librarians leveraged their professional knowledge in institutional relations with the party. By doing this, they gained the trust and support of local leaders and managed to also fulfill their professional duties.
Taking a break from his annual trip to Belgium to examine the archives of Paul Otlet's Mundaneum, Professor Emeritus Boyd Rayward was among the conference participants.
Black gave the concluding remarks of the conference and provided the participants an opportunity to reflect on future development of Information History as a discipline.