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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

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
Offered Fall 2015
Seven-week lecture series

ARX Courses

ARX 340 Capstone Seminar for the Archives Concentration

The capstone seminar brings together a cohort of concentrators to explore contemporary issues at the intersection of archives and public history. The seminar readings will focus each week on case studies about contemporary controversies in interpretation and dissemination that explore the competing uses of the past made by various groups. The readings also encourage students to ask expansively "what counts as an archive?" In addition, each concentrator will complete an independent project that draws upon concentrators' own expertise developed through their coursework and their practical experiences. Open only to students in the Archives Concentration. Enrollment limited to 15. {H} 4 credits
Kelly Anderson
Offered Spring 2015

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 102j: From Subjects of Reform to Agents for Social Change: Working Women in the Industrial Program of the YWCA
Through hands-on research with primary sources from records of the YWCA, we will consider how working women in the first three decades from of the 20th century used the Industrial department to transform the national organization and their own lives and working conditions. How the YWCA's strategies—education of single working girls at risk in low-wage factory jobs, cross-class organizations, and summer camps— provided the tools for working women to become leaders, labor-organizers, and educators of the middle-class professional staff of the YW to embrace labor activism as central to their mission. Enrollment limited to 25.
Susan Van Dyne
This course will not be offered JTerm 2015

ARX 103j: Editing Sylvia Plath's Correspondence
This course will teach students how to edit correspondence. Focusing on the Sylvia Plath Collection in the Mortimer Rare Book Room, students will read and edit Plath's unpublished letters to her Smith College friends. Technical aspects related to the editing of a text will be discussed, including transcription and emendation. Plath's poetry and prose manuscripts, journals, annotated library and other biographical material will also be considered during the course, as well as her papers in the Smith College Archives. Each student will be required to transcribe and edit one letter from the Sylvia Plath Collection. Whenever possible, footnotes will be based upon primary sources. Graded S/U only. Enrollment limited to 15. 1 credit
Karen Kukil
This course will not be offered JTerm 2015

ARX 104j: Becoming a College Woman:Re-seeing Gender at Smith, 1879-1901
By researching diaries, memorabilia books, and students’ letters home during 2 decades of Smith’s early history, we’ll consider how students constructed themselves as “college women,” a new social category at the end of the Victorian era. How did their experiences in the classroom and in their social life --test the boundaries of conventional femininity? How did sports, drama, female friendships, clubs and chemistry, for instance, transform gender conventions? How did the homosocial world of the women’s college intersect, complement, and contradict at times the heterosocial world of life beyond the college? How do the ephemeral artifacts (bulging scrapbooks, scribbled letters) of ordinary women help us write a social history of the evolution of the “new woman”? Graded S/U only {H/S} 1 credit. Enrollment limited to 25.
Susan Van Dyne
This course will not be offered JTerm 2015

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
January 12-16, 1-4pm

ARX 106j Oral Histories and Archives
Over the week, students will be introduced to oral history as both a form of evidence and as a method. We will explore the oral history collections in the Sophia Smith Collection-including Voices of Feminism, Population and Reproductive Health, Living Women’s History, Documenting Lesbian Lives, and the Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project-in order to evaluate oral history as a primary source. What do we learn from oral testimony that is different from traditional archival sources? How do we read this kind of text? And how are these sources produced? Students will also be introduced to oral history techniques in order to prepare for theses and/or independent research projects that employ oral history methods. The course will draw on the resources and staff of the Special Collections and the Center for Media Production.  Daily moodle posts, two oral reports. Priority will be given to Archives concentrators Graded S/U only {H/S} 1 credit. Enrollment limited to 25.
Kelly Anderson
This course will not be offered JTerm 2015

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
January 2016
Shannon Audley-Piotrowski

Electives in the Concentration