CSRC Virtual Boxes Proposal

Image of archive from wikipedia photos.

Image of archive from wikipedia photos.

This is a sketch of a proposed project I’m working on with Lizette Gurerra.

Inspiration: This project draws inspiration from several sources.  One classic archival assignment is to bring students of history or cultural studies into the archive, randomly assign them a box and ask them to write an essay or construct a historical narrative based on the materials.  At the same time, there is also a tradition of archivist traveling to classrooms and bringing with them a “trunk” of materials for students to handle and examine.

Project Summary:  The purpose of this project is to facilitate the construction of  narratives,  making use of UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center archive materials through the creation of virtual boxes that can be explored by educators, students, scholars and community members.  The narratives created by the “box” users would ultimately become part of the archive and the boxes’ history.

Project Rationale The ability to work with archival materials in order to research and construct historical narratives has previously been limited to those with the privilege of accessing  the archive in person.  These institutions rarely are the same ones designated as “Hispanic serving.” This project would allow educators, students (6-12 as well as college and university students) and community members to  have the powerful experience of opening an archive box and working with the original materials.

How would it work:  Boxes should be able to both be randomly assigned by teachers and / or users so as to create a sense of surprise and adventure, especially in a classroom situation.  Yet there should also be the ability to request a box on a specific topic so as to make archival materials accessible to community members and students.

Box topic ideas: For this project our focus will be on the Southern California Chicano Movement of the 1960s – 70s.  Specifically:

  • Blowouts
  • Moratorium
  • Creation of MEChA
  • Race and gender
  • Arts and popular culture (murals, music?)
  • LGBT (Cyclona)
  • Chicano Park
  • Labor (UFW, Justice for Janitors, Francisa Flores, Regeneracion)
  • Literature (Manazar Gamboa)

Questions: What platform could we use to build and maintain this site? Thinking about Omeka, but that’s mainly because I heard about it at THATCamp MLA and was fascinated by it.  Ideas for cool names for the project.  Possibility for users to add their own narratives (and materials) to the site.

Other questions and issues we haven’t even thought of yet.  Please let us know what you think.

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