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Archives Concentration

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Gateway Course

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


ARX 141 What I Found at the Archives

A sampling of the surprising insights produced by archival research conducted in a variety of disciplines and locations in the U.S. and abroad. The seven-week lecture series will highlight archival discoveries made by faculty researchers and professional archvists, both the eureka moments of personal discovery and the ways archival research enriches and often significantly revises existing narratives or scholarly interpretations. Guest lecturers will reflect on contemporary directions and challenges in their fields. Weekly readings and several short essays. Elected S/U only. This course serves as a gateway to the archives concentration. {H} 1 credit
Offered in alternating years
Seven-week lecture series
Richard Millington
Offered Spring 2018

ARX 141 What I Do in the Archives
Serves as a gateway course to the Archives Concentration and an introduction to archiving from “behind the scenes.” Rather than researching in archives, this course will ask you to think about how archives function by making visible the processes, choices, ethics, and technologies employed by archivists. In other words, our key question will be “What do archivists do?” Our speakers, all archivists and historians, will introduce you to their work in archives, including preservation, curation, processing, oral history, donor relations, public history, and community outreach. Graded S/U only. {H} 1 credit
Seven-week lecture series

ARX Courses

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
Offered Spring 2018


Mini Archives Courses

ARX 100 Each of these courses meets for a week and earns 1 credit.

Graded S/U. Enrollment limited to 25. 1 credit (S/U only)
Offered Interterm

ARX 103j: Editing Sylvia Plath's Poetry
This course teaches students how to transcribe and edit poetry drafts in preparation for a variorum edition of Sylvia Plath’s late Ariel poems. Technical aspects related to the editing of a text are discussed, including transcription, emendation and digitization. Plath’s manuscripts, journals, annotated library and other biographical material in the Plath Collection in the Mortimer Rare Book Room are available during the course, as well as her papers in the Smith College Archives. The publishing history of Plath’s writings and the management of her literary estate are considered. Guest lectures by Plath scholars and technical exercises with digital humanities experts are included in the course. Each student is required to transcribe and prepare a digital variorum edition of one poem from the Plath Collection. Whenever possible, footnotes will be based upon primary sources. Graded S/U only. Enrollment limited to 15. Credits: 1
Karen Kukil
Offered Interterm 2018
Jan. 8-12 1-4pm

ARX 105j Class Matters: Organizing for Social Justice
This course will introduce students to several SSC collections of individual papers and organization records that shed light on the fight for economic justice, especially for American women, both white and of color. In addition to some short secondary source readings, students will then choose pre-selected documents from 14 designated collections and in conversation with each other, both in class and in five written responses on Moodle, discuss the ways in which a particular individual or organization has addressed issues of economic injustice, what worked, what did not, what needs to happen next. Enrollment limited to 20. Kathleen Nutter
Offered Interterm 2018
Jan. 16-19 1-4pm

ARX 107j Making Teaching and Learning Tangible: Understanding Childhood Through the Archives

Children’s experiences are often left out of history and historical accounts. Yet, children and youth feel empowered when they can encounter themselves in history. This course will have students work through a question using the SSC collection that examines situated childhoods. In addition, students will learn how to formulate their own research question and gather archival documents that would facilitate lesson plans or discussion with elementary, junior high, and high school students about the expectation of children and childhood at different points in history. This course is suited for students who have a passion for child development or who want to develop their pedagogical repertoires. Graded S/U only. Credits: 1
Shannon Audley-Piotrowski
Not Offered Interterm 2018

Electives in the Concentration