ALISE 2022 Annual Conference
October 24-26, 2022 | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania



2022 Keynote Speaker

Yolanda Covington-Ward, Ph.D.

Professor and Department Chair
W.E.B. DuBois Department of Afro-American Studies
President, Association for Africanist Anthropology (AfAA)
Executive Board Member, Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD)
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Yolanda Covington-Ward is Department Chair and Professor in the W.E.B. DuBois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is currently President of the Association for Africanist Anthropology, Vice-President of the Liberian Studies Association, and is an executive board member of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD). She received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in Afro-American Studies from Brown University. Her research focuses on embodiment, identity, religion, performance, and politics, emphasizing the agency and creativity of people of African descent in transforming the worlds around them. Her first book Gesture and Power: Religion, Nationalism, and Everyday Performance in Congo (Duke University Press, 2016) was awarded the 2016 Amaury Talbot Award for African Anthropology from the Royal Anthropological Institute and the 2017 Elliott P. Skinner Book Award from the Association for Africanist Anthropology. Her second book project, Transformation through Migration: Community, Conflict, and Identity in the Liberian Diaspora, is currently under contract at the University of Pennsylvania Press. She has also co-edited two volumes, Embodying Black Religions in Africa and Its Diasporas and African Performance Arts and Political Acts.
She has received a number of prestigious fellowships and awards including but not limited to the Ford Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship, a grant from the National Science Foundation, the Teshome H. Gabriel Award for Distinguished Research and Scholarship in African Studies, and she is also a former Fulbright fellow. In 2020, she chaired the committee that created the curriculum for the nation’s first required course on Anti-Black Racism. Over 11,000 students have taken the course at Pitt so far. For her leadership in these efforts, she was recognized with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Creating a “Just” Community Award (presented by the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) in 2021.



Keynote Presentation: Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Broadening Horizons and Circles: Centering Inclusion, Justice, and Responsibility in the Information Professions

Information is at the center of our society, from industry, to health, to technology. In recent years, debates over information have moved to the center of many national political conversations. School and library boards have moved to ban books and curricula, the narratives and experiences of marginalized groups have been both attacked and disregarded, and misinformation permeates social media, news cycles, and everyday conversations. What does all of this mean for library and information science professionals and educators?

The lecture asks, what role does information play in the pursuit of freedom and justice and alternately, in the suppression of social change? Dr. Covington-Ward will address these questions through the lens of three interconnected themes: access, inclusion, and responsibility. Drawing on examples from Black communities in the past and present and across the Pan-African world, including the Haitian Revolution, early 20th century African-American historical societies in the United States, and movements in West Africa, among others, Dr. Covington-Ward aims to encourage a reassessment of the possibilities and limitations of information in a changing global world