TAVP Interns Successfully Oriented

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Last Friday, I got together for an orientation session with Rebecca Lorins, Acting Director of the Texas After Violence Project, and six fantastic undergraduate interns recruited from UT-Austin’s Bridging Disciplines Programs.  Although several of the students had already gotten started on transcription tasks, the two-hour orientation gave everyone a chance to meet each other and set goals for our semester-long project to process a series of TAVP interviews and archive them at the UT Libraries Human Rights Documentation Initiative.  Here’s our super team!  From left to right: Blair Robbins, Jordan Weber, Charlotte Nunes, Jessica Rubio, Lillie Leone, Tu-Uyen Nguyen, and Sharla Biefeld.

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Apologies for the none too high quality image, but thanks to Rebecca for thinking to snap a picture!

Rebecca took the lead during the orientation, offering students excellent background on the history and identity of the TAVP as well as the history of the death penalty in Texas.  She also offered helpful remarks on oral history theory and practice.  I facilitated discussion of two pertinent readings Rebecca selected for the occasion: “What’s Messing With Texas Death Sentences?” by David McCord and “What is a ‘Good’ Interview?” by Ronald Grele.

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Image credit: Jessica Rubio

The interns asked great questions and engaged closely with the readings in discussion.  Several of them made insightful points about how the readings related to their TAVP experience thus far.  For example, Jordan and Sharla talked about how the overall decline in executions in Texas in recent years figures in some of the oral histories they are transcribing.  Their comments led to a dynamic discussion about how individual’s personal stories relate to structural developments in law and policy.

Now that the students are off and running on auditing, transcription, and formatting processes, Jessica Rubio kindly gave me permission to share her reflections on the early days of her internship.  Jessica’s eloquent reflections provide insights into the technical aspects of the auditing process as well as the profound emotional experiences that sometimes attend this process:

“The most relatable way to describe the first week of my TAVP internship is by calling it a whirlwind of emotions; I began the week flooded with excitement and anticipation of what was soon to come and ended the week bewildered by what I’d seen and heard. My first task was listening to and auditing the transcription of an interview with Derrek Brooks, a son of the first man killed by lethal injection in the United States. Throughout the interview I found myself constantly pausing the audio to fully absorb whatever I’d just heard. I came into the story a complete stranger and found that every new piece of information seemed to be more important or more crucial than the last.

Listening to Derrek’s story was like meeting a stranger at a party and playing audience to a first-hand account of their life from beginning to end; at the onset the only thing you know will happen is that there will be ups and downs in their story along the way. Even though I was expecting the ups and downs of Derrek’s story I found that each dip and rise of this rollercoaster was more profound than I had expected. I directly felt Derrek’s emotions throughout, from the obvious pain he feels due to an absent father to the eagerness in his voice to tell of what he feels to be an injustice and his goal to exonerate his father posthumously.

While auditing Derrek’s interview was certainly a monumental task to step off with, I’m certainly glad my introduction to this internship didn’t play out any other way. I really believe that delving in so deep so quickly instantly opened my eyes to what to expect out of this internship and also what all this process entails. I feel that every task from here on – large or small – I’ll be prepared for. I’m glad I had this base to jump from because I now fully see just how this work effects those both directly and indirectly involved.”

Syllabus and Course Schedule for English 316K: Survey of World Literature

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Here’s the syllabus and course schedule for the two World Literature survey classes I’m teaching this spring.  Where will digital and material archives fit into lectures, assignments, and activities?  Stay tuned!

ENGL 316K: Masterworks of Literature: World, Spring 2014

Instructor: Charlotte Nunes, charlotte.nunes@utexas.edu

Welcome to English 316K: Masterworks of Literature: World.  This class will provide a broad survey of world literature from the late eighteenth century to the present.  We will focus on Anglophone texts that emerge from and speak to specific colonial contexts.  We will consider how literature has historically related to the social, political, legal, and economic institutions of imperialism.  As we read, we will learn about each author’s biography as well as the history and critical conversations surrounding each text.  In each class session we will practice close-reading skills through the analytical discussion of selected passages.

This course carries a Global Cultures Flag.  For more information about this flag, visit http://www.utexas.edu/ugs/core/flags/global-cultures.

Required Readings:

  • Excerpts from The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (available on Canvas)
  • Selections from Empire Writing: An Anthology of Colonial Literature 1870-1918 (Oxford UP, 2009), edited by Elleke Boehmer
  • Untouchable (Penguin Classics, 1990) by Mulk Raj Anand
  • “Irish Revel” by Edna O’Brien (available on Canvas)
  • Cathleen ni Houlihan by W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory (available on Canvas)
  • Welcome to our Hillbrow (Ohio UP, 2011) by Phaswane Mpe
  • Onitsha Market Literature (available on Canvas)
  • “Returning to Haifa” by Ghassan Kanafani (available on Canvas)
  • “The Same Trouble” by Sajjad Zaheer (available on Canvas)
  • “A Spoiled Man” by Daniyal Mueenuddin (available on Canvas)
  • “Pale Horse, Pale Rider” by Katherine Anne Porter (available on Canvas)
  • The Absolutely True Confessions of a Part-Time Indian (Little, Brown and Co., 2009) by Sherman Alexie
  • Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Pantheon, 2004) by Marjane Satrapi

Course Schedule (subject to tweaks and changes!)

M

1/13

Welcome and introduction to ENGL 316K
W 1/15 For today, read pages 19-43 of the excerpt from The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (available on Canvas)
M

1/20

NO CLASS: MLK, Jr. Day
W

1/22

For today, read the following in Empire Writing: An Anthology of Colonial Literature 1870-1918: Edward Wilmot Blyden, from “The Aims and Methods of a Liberal Education for Africans,” pages 64-69; J.E. Casely Hayford, from Ethiopia Unbound, pages 361-368; and poems by Claude McKay, 369-377
M

1/27

For today, read the following in Empire Writing: An Anthology of Colonial Literature 1870-1918: J.A. Froude, from The English in the West Indies, pages 112-120; and J.J. Thomas, from Froudacity, pages 120-125
W

1/29

For today, read the following in Empire Writing: An Anthology of Colonial Literature 1870-1918: poems by Toru Dutt, from Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan, pages 69-72; poems by Sarojini Naidu, 311-316; Rabindranath Tagore, from Gitanjali (Song Offerings), pages 377-381; and W.B. Yeats, Introduction to Gitanjali (Song Offerings), pages 382-387
M

2/3

For today, read the following in Empire Writing: An Anthology of Colonial Literature 1870-1918: Leonard Woolf, “Pearls and Swine,” pages 415-430
W

2/5

Exam #1
M

2/10

For today, read the “Preface” (by E.M. Forster) and pages 9-117 of Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand
W

2/12

For today, read pages 117-157 of Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand 
M

2/17

For today, read “Irish Revel” by Edna O’Brien and Cathleen ni Houlihan by W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory (available on Canvas)
W

2/19

Archival Research Workshop
M

2/24

Class visit to the Harry Ransom Center
W

2/26

For today, read pages 1-62 of Welcome to our Hillbrow by Phaswane Mpe
M

3/3

For today, read pages 62-124 of Welcome to our Hillbrow by Phaswane Mpe 
W

3/5

Onitsha Market Literature (available on Canvas)
M

3/10

NO CLASS: SPRING BREAK!
W

3/12

NO CLASS: SPRING BREAK!
M

3/17

For today, read “Returning to Haifa” by Ghassan Kanafani (available on Canvas)
W

3/19

In-class close-reading essay
M

3/24

Exam #2
W

3/26

For today, read “The Same Old Trouble” by Sajjad Zaheer (available on Canvas)
M

3/31

For today, read “A Spoiled Man” by Daniyal Mueenuddin (available on Canvas)
W

4/2

For today, read “Pale Horse, Pale Rider” by Katherine Anne Porter (available on Canvas)
M

4/7

For today, read pages 1-98 of The Absolutely True Confessions of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
W

4/9

For today, read pages 99-149 of The Absolutely True Confessions of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
M

4/14

For today, read pages 150-230 of The Absolutely True Confessions of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
W

4/16

For today, read the “Introduction” and pages 3-53 of Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
M

4/21

For today, read 54-153 of Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
W

4/23

In class today: screening and discussion of animated adaptation of Persepolis
M

4/28

Exam #3
W

4/30

Last Day of Class; discussion/reflection; course evaluations

The Story of This Blog

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I recently completed my PhD in English at the University of Texas at Austin.  Currently, I teach World Literature classes at UT and co-Chair the Rapoport Center Human Rights and Archives Working Group.  Over the course of writing my dissertation on fiction of the British Empire, I continually looked to archives for the incomparable sense of context they offer.  Archival materials including the Anti-Slavery Reporter and Aborigines’ Friend, published out of London from 1840 to 1931, Leonard Woolf’s unpublished correspondence during the mid-nineteen-teens with E.W. Perera, Sri Lankan lawyer and activist, and various typed and handwritten drafts of Coolie (1936), published by Anglophone Indian writer Mulk Raj Anand, all provided valuable insights into how novelists like E.M. Forster, Leonard Woolf, and Winifred Holtby oriented themselves to literary and political collaborators in areas of India, Sri Lanka, and South Africa.

The more I used archives as a student, the more interested I became in using archives as a teacher.  During a Graduate Assistantship at the UT Bridging Disciplines Programs, I learned about the growing trend toward inquiry-based learning in higher education.  Recognizing the utility of archival research tasks for facilitating undergraduate research skills such as thinking critically, identifying and summarizing main ideas, recognizing the contingency of knowledge, delineating fields of inquiry, and building research questions, I initiated a project to expand support for undergraduate archival research at UT’s many glorious archival institutions.  I created a series of resources for both students and educators on archives and interdisciplinary education, and developed an interactive Archival Research Workshop, which I have presented to undergraduate classes in English, History, and Government.

This semester—spring 2014—will be a fun one in terms of archives and education.  I’m integrating a substantial archive component in the two world literature surveys I teach.  And as Archives and Education point-person for the Human Rights and Archives Working Group, I’m collaborating with Rebecca Lorins of the Texas After Violence Project (TAVP) to offer a team of UT undergraduate interns a meaningful opportunity to learn about digital archives by building them.  The students are processing interviews with people who have been affected by the death penalty in Texas, and archiving them at the UT Libraries Human Rights Documentation Initiative (HRDI).  Rebecca and I hope that the project will provide a rich internship experience for the students while substantively advancing the mission of the TAVP.

I established this blog to document and reflect upon these projects, as well as to chronicle events and opportunities of interest having to do with archives and education at UT and beyond.  I hope you’ll visit often!  I welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions for content.

Welcome! About This Blog.

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Welcome to the ArchivesEducate blog!  I am co-Director of Digital Scholarship Services in the Skillman Library at Lafayette College in Easton, PA.  Previously, I was a Mellon/Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Scholarship in the Department of Research and Digital Scholarship at the Smith Library Center at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.  I started this blog in Spring 2014 to document and reflect upon my projects having to do with archives and undergraduate education.  In the process of relating some of my adventures in archives and education, I hope to gain insights that will improve my own work in academic libraries and contribute to the broadening body of theory on the roles archives can play in higher education.

I’m very excited about the capacity of archives—both digital and material—to enhance undergraduate education.  Are you interested in archives and education?  Let’s talk!  E-mail me at nunesc@lafayette.edu, follow me on Twitter @CharlotteLNunes, or contact me here: