Volume 5, Issue 1, 2009
An introduction to the section of this InterActions special issue on archives and recordkeeping that focuses on Memoria, voz y patrimonio: The First Conference on Latino/Hispanic Film, Print and Sound Archives and Sixth Institute of the Trejo Foster Foundation for Hispanic Library Education. This conference/institute offered a glimpse of the breadth of Latina/o archival collections, practice, research and concerns. The guest editors of this Latina/o archival section are Clara M. Chu and Rebecca Dean, with contributions by Patrick Keilty, of the UCLA Department of Information Studies.
Taking into account the very complexity and contestability of the terms “Latino” and “Hispanic” to identify its subject matter, this paper draws on contemporary research on archives and identity, philosophy, Latino Studies, and efforts to chronicle the history of Latinos in New York State to ask how the Latino/a archivist can document Latino groups in the United States without restricting the multifaceted ways in which they construct and negotiate their identities. Is the establishment of a historical narrative for various Latino groups necessarily indicative of a codification of identity? Can the stuff of communal history be deployed in such a way as to encourage difference and not essential notions of what it meant and means to be “Latino” and/or “Hispanic” in the United States? These are some of the questions this paper explores in the hopes of teasing out the tensions that exist between historical validity and essentialism, historical re-inscription and foreclosure.
Latina/o Traditional Medicine in Los Angeles: Asking About, Archiving, and Advocating Cultural Resources
This essay concerns an ethnographic project intended to document Latina/o traditional medicine in Los Angeles, organize the materials, and make information accessible to others. The paper describes methods and techniques for eliciting and recording the medical traditions. It presents some initial findings, discusses interview protocols as well as opportunities and challenges in obtaining information from individuals, discusses issues that arise in regard to transcription-translation and data management, and illustrates several ways of making the traditions available to different audiences.
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This Latino/a Archival Resources guide is divided into eight sections which include: (1) Latino or Ethnic Archives, (2) Latino and Ethnic Sound Archives, (3) Latino Film and Video Resources, (4) Filmmaking Resources, (5) Latino Museums and Art Galleries, (6) Genealogical Resources, (7) Latino Commercial Media Sites, and (8) Archival and Research Resources. Internet searches were conducted to identify the resources and where a description was found about a resource and a website was available, such information has been included. In some cases ethnic resources were provided because they include Latino/a content or would be of assistance/relevance to Latino/a archival practice, research and/or education.
EPILOGUE: Meditations on the future of Latina/o archival and memory practice, research and education
Since the Memoria, Voz, y Patrimonio (MVP) Conference (2003), the archival literature continues to grapple with issues pertinent to Latina/o archives. Extending the work of the MVP Conference, drawing on the archival and cultural studies literature, and grounded in our experiences with under-represented communities, this epilogue offers our meditations on the future of Latina/o archival and memory practice, research and education. The archives and archivists as social structures and agents, respectively, are viewed through the lens of Pierre Bourdieu’s symbolic power whereby they need to be liberated from the symbolic domination legitimized and reproduced in the classic archives.
Perpetuating and Extending the Archival Paradigm: The Historical and Contemporary Roles of Professional Education and Pedagogy
Archival Science has been defined as the systematic body of theory that supports the practice of appraising, acquiring, authenticating, preserving, and providing access to recorded materials. In the first of a two-part analysis of the past, present and future of archival education and pedagogy, this article deconstructs the concept of Archival Science by examining the development and evolution of its key ideas and principles, and the historical interplay between them and such constructs as modernism, objectivity, scientific management, nationalism, sovereignty, and colonialism. It argues that education in Archival Science, which traditionally has included elements of both professional practice and scholarship and which has only scantily reflected upon the pedagogies it has employed, has played a fundamental role in perpetuating the cultural hegemony of dominant groups. It has done so by inculcating archival ideas and principles without simultaneously providing sufficient historical analysis of their derivations or original intent, and without nurturing a critical perspective that would encourage sensitivity on the part of future archival professionals and scholars to the cultural and social implications of what are often regarded as “value-neutral” concepts and practices, particularly in terms of their impact on the record-keeping and memory practices of marginalized and under-represented groups.
As graduate archival education programs have grown in scope, the variety of courses offered has changed to include some that prepare students to grapple with challenging and sometimes controversial aspects of the profession. This paper offers insights gained from teaching a course on archival advocacy, one that expanded over more than a decade from a focus on access to public outreach to ethical issues. This shift in focus created particular problems in engaging students who come to the graduate program with basic presuppositions about archival work that do not often mesh with the reality of this professional community; challenges also arise because of the kinds of training students expect from professional schools within the university. The essay places this course in the context of the modern university and the changing archival community and considers the challenges and potential successes of engaging graduate students within a professional school.