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Archives Concentration

The Archives Concentration is designed to make histories of all kinds public and accessible through research projects and professional training. A combination of academic course work, practical experiences and independent research projects teach students about the institutions and repositories that shape our knowledge and understanding of our collective pasts. Students integrate classroom and hands-on learning to examine archives and archival studies, including the collection, preservation, interpretation and display of artifacts, manuscripts and historic sites.

Requirements & Courses

Learning Goals

Students in the archives concentration should be able to:

  • Engage in first-hand use and interpretation of archival primary sources in a variety of academic disciplines and subject areas.

  • Understand the institutions and repositories that shape knowledge of our collective pasts. 

  • Communicate archival research to a wider public audience through exhibits, digital projects, and oral presentations.

  • Understand the ethics and responsibilities of archiving and develop the ability to think critically about archives and memory.

  • Integrate academic course work and experiential learning. 

  • Reflect on internships and course work in terms of skills learned, career possibilities, and consideration of further studies at the graduate level.

Courses

ARX 120/ BKX 120/ MUX 120 Colloquium: Concentration Gateway Course (2 Credits)

Offered as ARX 120, BKX 120 and MUX 120. This course serves as a shared gateway for the Archives, Book Studies and Museums concentrations. Students explore histories, futures and systems of knowledge production, preservation, organization and distribution through the kinds of objects and evidence held by archives, libraries and museums. As evidence of their evolving and complex operations, this course introduces the history of such institutions, their evolving public mission, issues central to their work today, and the creation and uses of materials they hold. The course critically engages the emergence of such institutions, specifically within this regional context and in this framework of a college campus. S/U only. Enrollment limited to 25. (E)

Fall, Spring, Annually

ARX 141 What I Do in the Archives (1 Credit)

This course is a lecture series that serves as a “gateway” course to the Archives Concentration and an introduction to the methods and discoveries of archival research. The talks feature faculty members, archivists, scholars, and writers describing their own journeys, practices and insights in encountering archival materials. S/U only. {H}

Spring

ARX 340 Seminar: Taking the Archives Public (4 Credits)

This seminar brings together a cohort of archives concentrators and other advanced students to explore contemporary issues at the intersection of archives and public history. The readings focus on case studies and the challenges in preservation, access and interpretation of archival materials. The class analyzes how these materials become part of a meaningful and usable past for general audiences while taking into account the dynamics of national and collective identity formation, trauma, memorialization, social justice, and the changing digital landscape in the fields of public history and cultural heritage work. Enrollment limited to 15. Juniors and seniors only. {H}

Spring

ARX 400 Special Studies (1-4 Credits)

For qualified juniors and seniors. Admission by permission of the instructor and director of the program. No more than two special studies or a total of 8 credits may count toward the concentration.

Fall, Spring

Crosslisted Courses

ARX 120/ BKX 120/ MUX 120 Colloquium: Concentration Gateway Course (2 Credits)

Offered as ARX 120, BKX 120 and MUX 120. This course serves as a shared gateway for the Archives, Book Studies and Museums concentrations. Students explore histories, futures and systems of knowledge production, preservation, organization and distribution through the kinds of objects and evidence held by archives, libraries and museums. As evidence of their evolving and complex operations, this course introduces the history of such institutions, their evolving public mission, issues central to their work today, and the creation and uses of materials they hold. The course critically engages the emergence of such institutions, specifically within this regional context and in this framework of a college campus. S/U only. Enrollment limited to 25. (E)

Fall, Spring, Annually

Archives Concentration

Requirements
  1. A gateway course: ARX 141 or ARX 120/ BKX 120/ MUX 120
  2. Four electives that involve significant archival research, approved by the Archives Concentration Advisory Committee
  3. Senior capstone seminar involving an independent research project resulting in a public history exhibit: ARX 340
  4. Two practical experiences or internships, totaling at least 100 hours each.

Additional Programmatic Information

Internships

Internships are an integral element of the Archives Concentration. Students complete two internships (paid or supported by Praxis) that enable each student to acquire practical, first-hand knowledge of the professional work of archivists, curators and archival researchers. Concentrators are eligible to receive a second summer of Praxis funding through Smith’s Praxis Plus program. Students can also support internships through the Rosenthal Fund.

To count toward the concentration, an internship will:

  • Consist of at least 100 hours of work (or 220 hours if receiving Praxis funding)
  • Let students gain skills in processing collections, writing finding aids or subject guides, or making exhibits or creating social media with archival materials in at least one of their internships
  • Be supervised by a professional at least once a week
  • Be approved by the concentration adviser
  • Come from a wide array of local, regional, national and international opportunities that are identified and/or approved by the concentration. Students are responsible& for researching and securing appropriate internships.

Other Practical Experiences

Some other experiences such as working for faculty members in archival projects through CFCD grants or Quigley fellowships may also qualify as one of the two practical experiences.

If you already completed one or more practical experiences (internships, paid or volunteer work) before entering the Archives Concentration, you are still eligible to receive credit for these experiences.

You will need to document your experience as follows:

  1. Complete the Practical Experience Approval Form with your concentration adviser
  2. Submit the Superviser Evaluation
  3. Write a reflection paper (about two pages) that addresses the following questions:
  • What were your main duties and accomplishments during your internship, volunteer or work experience?
  • What aspects of your experience were most valuable?
  • What insights did you gain about yourself and your preferred working style?
  • What did the experience help you to think about your future career goals?

Additional Course Information

Gateway Course

The gateway course to the Archives Concentration introduces students to area sites of potential research and internships, as well as to the Smith and Five College network of archivists, faculty researchers and potential advisers for senior projects.

ARX 120 ARX/BKX/MUX Gateway (new Spring 2023)
This course serves as a shared gateway for the Archives, Book Studies, and Museums concentrations. Students will explore histories, futures, and systems of knowledge production, preservation, organization, and distribution through the kinds of objects and evidence held by archives, libraries, and museums. As evidence of their evolving and complex operations, this course introduces the history of such institutions, their evolving public mission, issues central to their work today, and the creation and uses of materials they hold. The course critically engages the emergence of such institutions, specifically within this regional context and in this framework of a college campus.

Electives in the Concentration

The courses listed here may be counted as electives toward the Archives Concentration only when you have completed an archival paper or project for the course. Not all of these courses are offered each year. Consult the Smith College Course Search for current offerings and times. Five College courses that meet these criteria may be counted toward the concentration. You should discuss all of your courses for the concentration with your ARX adviser.

Encouraged Electives

IDP 132: Designing Your Path (1 credit, s/u, offered each semester for students in any class year)
This course engages you in thinking about five main questions: Where are you now? How did you get here? What are the possible paths forward that will allow you to pursue what matters to you? What are approaches you can take in order to experiment with and learn about these paths? The content includes topics like identity development and identity foreclosure, choices and trade-offs in college and life, imposter phenomenon, making mistakes and the value of ambivalence. You will become more comfortable experimenting with potential academic, work, and personal trajectories, and with seeking resources to learn about those that interest you right now. If you take this class earlier in your Smith career, you will use it to inform your path through college; if you take it later, then you will use it for thinking beyond graduation.

IDP 232 Articulating Your Path (1 credit, s/u, offered each semester, best for juniors and seniors) 
This course provides a context for you to reflect on your most important learning experiences and to write about them in a way that highlights your skills, capacities and values. You will also connect these experiences, broadly and specifically, to the work you want to do in the world. Over the semester, you will create a personal reflective portfolio to contain the writing that you do in class. This writing may be useful in developing graduate school or fellowship statements, writing cover letters, or preparing for interviews.

First-Year Courses

  • FYS 104 Podcasts and Archives
  • FYS 120 Writing Home
  • FYS 149 An Even Playing Field: Women, Sport and Equity
  • FYS 153 The Bollywood Matinee: Gender, Nation and Globalization through the Lens of Popular Indian Cinema
  • FYS 161 Immigration and the New Multiethnic Societies
  • FYS 179 Rebellious Women
  • FYS 171 Women Writing Resistance
  • FYS 182 Fighting the Power
  • FYS 184 Educating Women
  • FYS 187 Writers and the Body: Health and Illness in African Diasporic Women's Literature
  • FYS 192 America in 1925
  • FYS 197 On Display:Museums, Collections, and Exhibition
  • ENG 119 What's for Dinner?
  • ENG 199 Methods of Literary Study

Interterm

All offered during interterm for 1 credit, S/U only
Mini Archives Research Courses

Graded S/U. Enrollment limited to 20. 1 credit

  • ARX 105 Class Matters: Organizing for Economic Justice
  • ARX 106 Oral Histories and Archives
  • ARX 107 Making Teaching and Learning Tangible: Understanding Children Through Archives

Afro-American Studies

  • AFR 202 The Black Archive
  • AAS 243 Black Activists Autobiography
  • AAS 237 20th-Century Afro-American Literature

American Studies

  • AMS 201 Introduction to the Study of American Society and Culture
  • AMS 203 Women, Sex and Gender in Early America
  • AMS 210 The Democratization of Clothing in the United States, 1780-1930
  • AMS 220 Curating American Memory
  • AMS 221 New England Material Culture
  • AMS 237 The Material and Visual Culture of Consumerism in America, 1750-1914
  • AMS 302 New England Material Culture: Historic Deerfield
  • AMS 341 America in 1925 (Richard Millington)

Art History

  • ARH 101 Writing Art/Art Writing
  • ARH 267 Gender, Sexuality and the Built Environment
  • ARH 272 Revolution, Industry, Empire: The Art of the Nineteenth Century
  • ARH 291 Be My Valentine: Ephemera, Ephemerality and Affect
  • ARH 300 Studies in American Art: Collecting American Art at Smith: The Seelye and Tryon Era

East Asian Studies

  • EAS 200 Methods and Approaches to East Asian Studies: Korean Diaspora: Korea Inside & Outside
  • EAS 350 Modern Girls and Marxist Boys: Consumerism, Colonialism, and Gender in Early 20th-century East Asia

Education and Child Study

  • EDC 341 Child in Modern Society

English

  • ENG 120 Colloquia in Literature: Reading and Writing Short Poems
  • ENG 199 Methods of Literary Study
  • ENG 135 Introduction to Creative Nonfiction: Writing about Sports
  • ENG 275 Witches, Witchcraft, Witch Hunts 
  • ENG 299 Green Victoria
  • ENG 299 Crafting Creative Nonfiction
  • ENG 312 Converts, Criminals and Fugitives: Print Culture of the African Diaspora, 1760–1860
  • ENG 341 Poetry of War

Exercise & Sports Studies

  • ESS 100 Playing the Game intro to Exercise and Sport
  • ESS 550 Women in Sport

French

  • FRN 360 The Year 1830
  • FRN 254 France Before the Revolution

Government

  • GOV 205 Urban Politics
  • GOV 311 Politics of Urban Social Movements

History

  • HST 240 Stalin and Stalinism
  • HST 246 Memory and History
  • HST 249 Early Modern European History
  • HST 252 Women and Gender in Modern Europe, 1789-1918
  • HST 253 Women and Gender in Contemporary Europe
  • HST 266 Emancipation and the Afterlife of Slavery
  • HST/SWG 270 Oral History and Lesbian Subjects
  • HST 275 Introduction to Public History
  • HST 278 Decolonizing US Women's History
  • HST 280 Women Writing Resistance
  • HST 286 Recent Historiographic Debates in Gender and Sexuality
  • HST 289 Aspects of Women's History
  • HST 313 Problems in East Asian History
  • HST 355 Smith College Relief Unit
  • HST 371 African American Women in Slavery and Freedom
  • HST 383 Domestic Worker Organization
  • HST 390 Teaching History

Jewish Studies

  • JUD 110j Elementary Yiddish: Language and Culture

Landscape Studies

  • LSS 105 Introduction to Landscape Studies
  • LSS 200 Socialized Landscapes
  • LSS 240 Cultural Landscapes and Historic Preservation
  • LSS 300 Rethinking Landscape

Presidential Seminars

  • Cultural Literacy
  • PRS 317 Fearing Haiti

Psychology

  • PSY 374 Psychology of Political Activism
  • PSY 375 Political Psychology of Gender

Program for the Study of Women and Gender

  • SWG 105 Intro to LGBTQ Histories
  • SWG 150 Introduction to the Study of Women and Gender
  • SWG 200 The Queer 90s
  • SWG 222 Gender, Law and Policy
  • SWG 223 Sexual Harassment and Social Change
  • SWG/HST 270 Oral History and Lesbian Subjects
  • SWG 271 Reproductive Justice
  • SWG 305 Queer Histories and Cultures
  • SWG 314 Documenting Queer Lives
  • SWG 312 Queer Resistances: Identities, Communities and Social Movements
  • SWG 370 Women Against Empire

Theatre

  • THE 154 "Reading" Dress: Archival Study of Clothing

Selection of Recommended Five College Courses

The following are Five College courses that are recommended for Archives Concentration credit. Consult current course catalogue to check availability.

Amherst College

American Studies

  • AMS 274 Native American Literature: Decolonizing Intellectual Traditions

English

  • ENG 62 Writing and Reform
  • ENG 75 The Unprinted Page: Working with Manuscripts
  • ENG 274 Native American Literature: Decolonizing Intellectual Traditions

History

  • HIST 84 Seminar in U.S. Cultural History: Class and Culture Wars at the Turn of the 20th Century

Hampshire College

Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies

  • HACU 235 "Odd" Women: Gender, Class and Victorian Culture

Social Science

  • SS 121 Biography and History: Radicalism, Anti-Communism, and Internationalism in the 1950s
  • SS 235 Queer Publics

Mount Holyoke College

Gender Studies

  • GNDST 333f U.S. Gender History Research Seminar

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Art

  • ART 297 Monuments and Memorials

History

  • HST 397 Introduction to Public History
  • HST 497 Mining the Museum: Adventures in the Theory and Practice of Museum Work
  • HST 397 Public History Workshop
  • HST 397 Special Topics: History of Reproductive Rights in the U.S.
  • HST 791 Seminar in U.S. Women's and Gender History

In the capstone seminar for the Archives Concentration, ARX 340 Taking the Archives Public, students create online exhibits of archival materials from the Sophia Smith Collection and College Archives.

CAPSTONE SEMINAR

ARX 340 Taking the Archives Public
The capstone seminar brings together a cohort of concentrators to explore contemporary issues at the intersection of archives and public history. The seminar readings focus each week on case studies about contemporary challenges in preservation, access and interpretation of archival materials. In a variety of media, students analyze how these materials become part of a meaningful and usable past for general audiences. In addition, each concentrator completes an independent project, usually an exhibit that draws upon concentrators’ own expertise developed through their coursework and their practical experiences. Enrollment limited to 15. {H} Credits: 4
Kelly Anderson
Normally offered each spring

Advisory Committee

Kelly Anderson

Women & Gender Studies

Lecturer in the Study of Women & Gender and Lecturer in Archives

Kelly Anderson

Carrie N. Baker

Women & Gender Studies

Sylvia Dlugasch Bauman Chair of American Studies and Professor of the Study of Women and Gender

Carrie Baker

Samuel Ng

Africana Studies

Assistant Professor of Africana Studies

Samuel Ng

Andrea Stone

English Language & Literature

Associate Professor of English Language & Literature

Andrea Stone

Related Forms

Declaration of Concentration

Students who have been accepted into the concentration and received their adviser’s name need to fill out the
→ Program of Study Declaration Form.
This is the last step in making the concentration official in Workday.

Practical Experience Forms

After discussing the proposed practical experience with their advisers, students need to fill out the corresponding practical experience approval form in order to have the experience count towards the concentration requirements:

  • Summer Internship (100 hours or more) → Internship Credit Application
    All students undertaking a summer internship of at least 100 hours are eligible to receive academic credit (0.25 credits per experience) that will appear on their transcript. We encourage all students who qualify to apply for internship credit. Students applying for Praxis funding don’t need to fill out this form, and should instead use the “Praxis with Credit” form below.
  • Unpaid Summer Internship (220 hours or more) → Praxis with Credit Application
    All Smith students are eligible to receive a stipend payment for one normally unpaid internship through the Praxis program at the Lazarus Center. These internships must take place during the summer, and must comprise at least 220 working hours. Students in Concentrations are eligible to apply for Praxis a second time– Praxis Plus. When applying for a Praxis internship, the applicant must specify if the internship counts towards a concentration and should fill out the “Praxis with Credit” application.
  • Other Internships and Practical Experiences
    Students whose internships do not meet the above requirements because they take place during Interterm, during the school year, or for any other reason, should fill out the following forms.
    Prior to starting the internship please fill out the → Practical Experience Approval Form.
    Upon completion of the practical experience please fill out the  Practical Experience Completion Form.
  • Retroactive Credit for an Experience
    Students who completed a practical experience relevant to the concentration prior to being accepted into the cohort should discuss the experience with their concentration adviser as soon as possible. Once the experience is approved, students must fill out the  Practical Experience Completion Form and check the “Retroactive Experience” box on the form.

Advising Checklist for Graduation

Students are required to submit a completed Concentration Advising Checklist at the start of their final semester. This form documents the completed components of the concentration requirements, and must be signed by the student’s concentration adviser. Completed form should be sent to the registrar’s office (registrar@smith.edu) and to the administrative coordinator for concentrations (concentrations@smith.edu).

Practical Experiences

Examples of On-Campus and Local Opportunities

  • Paid internships at Smith repositories (SSC, SCA, MRBR), several each year, including CDO, SWG (SSC), Fraenkel (SSC). Most are term, some summer.
  • Internship Program at the Smithsonian Institution
  • Volunteer work in a regional historical society—Historic Northampton, Forbes Library local history collection, the Coolidge Library, Old Deerfield.
  • Volunteer work gathering and processing the archives of a Smith student club, organization, publication, for donation to the campus archives.
  • Quigley research assistantships in SWG that involve archival research
  • STRIDE work on the Smithipedia

Digital Archives

  • Jewish women’s history archives
  • Women and social movements archives
  • George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media

Editing Projects in Archival Collections

  • Margaret Sanger Papers Project (NYU)
  • Emma Goldman Papers (Berkeley)
  • Eleanor Roosevelt Papers (GW)
  • Stanton-Anthony Papers (Rutgers)

Praxis Opportunities Throughout the United States

  • Hormel Collection on gay and lesbian history (San Francisco Public Library)
  • Lesbian Herstory Archives, Brooklyn
  • Swarthmore Peace Collection
  • Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History (New York)
  • Mary Baker Eddy Library, Boston
  • American Antiquarian Society, Worcester
  • Rockefeller Archives Center, Sleepy Hollow New York
  • Iowa Women's Archives at the University of Iowa
  • Hunter College Center for Puerto Rican Studies, NYC
  • Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (New York Public Library)
  • Newberry Library, Chicago
  • Huntington Library, California
  • National Library of Medicine's History Division, Bethesda Maryland
  • The Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives in Philadelphia

International Internships

  • NGOs based in Geneva
  • Sexuality archives located in Amsterdam
  • Women’s Library of the London Metropolitan University
  • Mass Observation Archives at the University of Sussex
  • International Information Centre, Amesterdam
  • Archives for the Women’s Movement, Amsterdam
Rebecca Samay Rosenthal '07

The Rebecca Samay Rosenthal ’07 Fund supports student internships and capstone research in the archives and book studies concentrations.

During her undergraduate years, Rebecca, known as Becca, was a student assistant in the Mortimer Rare Book Room, where she processed the correspondence in the Sylvia Plath Collection under the direction of Karen Kukil, associate curator of special collections. After graduation, Becca tried her hand at music promotion and banking before returning to her first passion—archival work. She was in the process of earning her graduate degree from Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science before her untimely death in October 2012, at the age of 27. Friends and family established this memorial fund in 2014 in the hopes that each recipient will honor Becca's multitalented gifts and extraordinary appreciation of special collections, becoming devoted archivists and librarians in her stead.

How to Apply

To apply for the Rosenthal Fund, please download and fill out the application below.

Rosenthal Fund Application

For more information, please contact Beth Myers, director of special collections.

Recent Recipients of the Rosenthal Fund

  • Tanya Pearson ’16: Women in Rock Oral History Project, awarded funds for capstone research
  • Sarah Orsak ’16, Archiving Gretchen Phillips, awarded funds for an internship
  • Jenny Park ’18, Women’s Suffrage Movement Tactics, awarded funds for capstone research

Past Student Work

To access the following exhibits, you must first log in to sophia.smith.edu. Access is limited to Smith email addresses only.

Application

Next application deadline is March 15, 2024

Sophomores and juniors are encouraged to apply online. First-year students may apply in the spring after completing at least one course in the concentration.

Apply Now

Contact Archives Concentration

Pierce 304
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01060

Phone: 413-585-2975 Email: kpanders@smith.edu

Director: Kelly Anderson 
Administrative Assistant: Yona Kimball-Smith