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Andrew Whitworth

Andrew Whitworth

Later this month, the Purdue Libraries Seminar Committee will present “Xenophilia: How the Love of Difference Is Essential for Information Literacy,” a lecture delivered by Andrew Whitworth, director of teaching and learning strategy, Manchester Institute of Education, University of Manchester, U.K.

Whitworth’s talk, which is set from 10-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29 in the Purdue Memorial Union’s West Faculty Lounge, will focus on the notion of “xenophilia” and how it can support information literacy practices. Online registration is available at https://purdue.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1MTFxeCG7hEppVb.

“We should see information literacy as a set of practices that emerge as practitioners in various settings learn to navigate ‘information landscapes.’ As with real landscapes, while these may come in particular types, each is essentially unique; thus, information literacy—the ability to make critical judgments about the relevance of informational resources—is a set of context-specific practices,” Whitworth explained.

According to Whitworth, although this view compels attention to the role of brokers and boundary zones that allow dialogue between different contexts, in these zones, different practices are negotiated and shared visions can potentially emerge.

“What is required to make best use of these zones is not an information literacy focused on searching strategies, but on an openness to difference and variation—thus ‘xenophilia’: the love of difference,” he added.

Whitworth’s presentation will expand on the notion of xenophilia—not only how it can be defined as a moral and ethical principle, but also as a pedagogy and a feature that can be designed into information systems.

“In a world where political currents took notable shifts toward insularity in 2016, it may be one basis for practical strategies of resistance to these trends,” Whitworth said.

Whitworth, whose scholarship focuses on critical theory and education, information practice and information literacy, mapping of information landscapes, and workplace and community learning, is the author of two books on digital and information literacy, “Information Obesity” (2009) and “Radical Information Literacy” (2014). He is also a co-author of the 2012 “Moscow Declaration on Media and Information Literacy.”

For more information, contact Clarence Maybee, associate professor and information literacy specialist, at (765) 494-7603 or via email at cmaybee@purdue.edu.