Meet 2021-2022 Woodruff Fellow – Kyle Tanaka

This is the first post in a series of interviews conducted by the Woodruff Library with the 2021-2022 Woodruff Library and Emory Center for Digital Scholarship (ECDS) Fellows. Funded by the Laney Graduate School, the library and ECDS award fellowships to advanced graduate students expecting to complete their dissertations by the end of the fellowship period. Fellows are placed within the Woodruff Library and ECDS to work in an area related to their subject specialization or interest, culminating in a formal presentation in the spring.


Kyle Tanaka

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from?

I was born in California, but grew up in the Boise, Idaho area. I went to undergrad in California, moved to New York City for my MA, and then to Emory for the PhD–so I’ve moved around the U.S. a bit.

What’s your favorite book? 

I’d have to go with Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass or The Phantom Tollbooth. Both as a kid and as an adult, I love the wonderful, bizarre, and offbeat humor of these books.

What’s your favorite thing about Emory/Atlanta? 

Dekalb Farmer’s Market! I love the variety of products and especially produce available there. And, living on a graduate student budget, their affordability is appreciated too.

What are you researching for your dissertation? 

My dissertation focuses on the intersection of philosophy and library science to examine how the library contributes to establishing norms of philosophical research. In particular, I’m interested in how patterns of classification shape what is identified as “relevant” to doing philosophy, and how these patterns reinforce patterns of inclusion/exclusion in philosophical traditions and methods.

What interested you about the Woodruff Library Fellowship? 

Because my research thinks critically about how research is taught and framed, the Woodruff Library Fellowship was a natural fit for me. Plus, I’ve worked in libraries of various kinds in various ways since I was 16, so I have quite a strong affinity with libraries!

What will you be working on this year for your Woodruff Library Fellowship? 

One of my professional interests is in exploring other ways my skills and research can be helpful in a context other than a traditional tenure-track job at a research institution. I am especially interested in subject librarian-type positions, so the fellowship will be focusing on a range of responsibilities common to the position. These include a review of professional expectations of librarians in similar roles, teaching research support workshops, and assisting with the implementation of online library platforms.

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