Syncretism as a concept is thousands of years old but is new to me.
Plutarch (AD 45-125) claimed to have found an example of syncretism in the Cretans, who reconciled their differences and came together in an alliance whenever they were faced with an external threat. He labeled this coming together as “their so-called ‘syncretism’.” For Plutarch, syncretism was not only a testament to political expediency but also fostered peace and brotherly love.
Open like quiltingDonna Lanclos (The Anthropologist in the Stacks) presentation at #open17 used syncretism as a way of being open when serving communities made up of diverse cultures.
“Population movement and contact brings people together from different places, and the power relations that also inform that context result in not a seamless blending of religious practices, but a seaming together, a picking and stitching so that you can see the original component parts in the something new that emerges.”
Do not treat a community like “users”
Donna was speaking about libraries but I substitute that with learning environments.
Decolonizing. Breaking down the power structures that are barriers to inclusion in institutions such as libraries. Libraries, like anthropology, emerge from and reproduce colonizing structures. They “other” in defining who belongs and who doesn’t, what “fits” and what doesn’t. And here I am particularly indebted to the work of Linda Tuhiwai Smith, nina de jesus, April Hathcock, and Fobazi Ettarh.
How can we make space, fight for space so that the definition of library emerges from the community in which the library sits, so that the library becomes indelibly the community?
our responsibility is to our community, whether they are “in the library” or not..
Libraries as a social place, with a mission that is beyond content.
(What is the most important thing in the world?)
(It is the people, it is the people, it is the people)