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Settling Emerging Scholars in Unsettling Territory: A Case Study of Underrepresented Students Working with Dominant Culture Collections Public Deposited

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  • This chapter proposes strategies for teaching students from underrepresented communities the affective and emotional intelligence tactics necessary to navigate library and archive spaces in a predominantly white institution (PWI). Advancing a theory of “representational belonging” (Casewell, Cifor, and Ramirez, 2016, p. 74), the chapter offers as a case study a course the authors designed at the University of Colorado Boulder in fall 2019. The chapter also reviews assessment models which have revealed that negotiating dominant culture collections can be an unsettling experience for students from underrepresented communities. (This may be true regardless of the quality of campus support services.) Even large national initiatives like the Boyer Commission’s landmark 1998 report, dedicated to reinvigorating undergraduate research education, miss the opportunity to design and advance more inclusive pedagogical strategies for diverse student populations. Given that students’ research took place within a PWI archive, course instruction strategically supported cultivating a sense of belonging in a space that has systematically ignored, diminished, or destroyed records relating to marginalized communities. Students gained competencies and tactics for navigating the social spaces within settler archives, such as understanding the history of gatekeeping at a PWI. Having learned to navigate these spaces of cultural memory at one institution, course participants reported having gained new confidence to manage the affective burdens of (re)presenting the/their excluded past in other spaces.

Date Issued
  • 2022-12-15
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Last Modified
  • 2023-01-09
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Peer Reviewed
  • 978-0-8093-3895-5
  • 978-0-8093-3896-2
  • Schneider, Rebecca, and Deborah Hollis. “Settling Emerging Scholars in Unsettling Territory: A Case Study of Underrepresented Students Working with Dominant Culture Collections.” Chapter 14 in Unsettling Archival Research: Engaging Critical, Communal, and Digital Archives. Eds. Gesa E. Kirsch, Romeo García, Caitlin Burns Allen, and Walker P. Smith. SIU Press, 2023. 260-82.