LATS 410
Arquivistas: An Archival Storytelling Course Spring 2022
Division II Writing Skills

Class Details

Archival storytelling: the “creative practice of resurfacing hidden, untapped, and untold historical treasures and reimagining that content in various storytelling presentations that speak to modern-day audiences” (Arbo Radiko). In this generative writing and critical-practice course, students explore/inhabit the role of writers and storytellers as preservers of history and culture. With a focus on documenting and/or reimagining Latinidades, the course invites students to address: the unique narrative forms archives may take beyond collections of artifacts; how archives can inform the creation–and definition–of literary work; the relationship between archives and power; information the archivist/storyteller may choose to include or omit, reveal or conceal; how the archivist/storyteller might practice what scholars Michelle Caswell and Marika Cifor call “radical empathy,” one that takes into account the diverse affective roles and responsibilities of the: archivist, records creator, records subject, records user, and community member. The course is designed to help students address the above through assignments that build towards final projects. Through the creative process, students learn to: research, compile, and analyze materials from various open-access repositories; identify and write emergent stories from collected material; and present these stories to the public using narrative elements and tools in the digital humanities. Projects may include virtual exhibits, data stories, annotated maps, historical fiction, ekphrastic poetry, finding aids, and interactive timelines. Projects may also examine the Latinx experience on campus, building on archival efforts initiated by students for the LATS Program 15th Anniversary Exhibit at Williams College Library. Guests will include artist Mark Menjivar (Texas State University) and archivist/librarian Jensen Ortiz (CUNY Dominican Studies Institute).
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 3530
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Assignments and in-class exercises; attendance; participation; peer review
Prerequisites: n/a
Enrollment Preferences: LATS concentrators; students who haven't taken creative-writing courses but are interested in the topic; students interested in the digital humanities; students who have met their other curricular requirements
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
WS Notes: Two five-page papers (each receiving critical feedback from professor on grammar, style, and argument); a midterm project proposal with critical feedback from professor and peers; one taxonomy glossary based on course readings and proposed project; one annotated bibliography; artist statement and notes on craft; one final paper submitted with corresponding creative project.
Attributes: LATS 400-level Seminars

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