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Creating Knowledges: A Discussion on the Significance of Gloria Anzaldúa and Archival Collections

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Roundtable discussion held at the 2018 El Mundo Zurdo hosted by the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldua.

For many of the discussions, scholars focusing on Anzaldua’s life and work, the use of her historical materials provides a crucial foundation for these endeavors. Without Anzaldua’s
archival collections, not only would research around about her work be stalled or impossible, but also so would efforts to expose reveal her writing, teachings and legacy to others. This can be said of many other archival collections of underrepresented, excluded, or erased individuals and
communities. This roundtable seeks to address the following topics related to the central theme of representation in history and paving the way for others to occupy a place in the historical narrative.

Panelists included: Itza Carbajal, Antonia Castaneda, Laura Rendon, and Liliana Wilson

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Creating Knowledges: A Discussion on the Significance of Gloria Anzaldúa and Archival Collections

  1. 1. Creating Knowledges: A Discussion on the Significance of Gloria Anzaldúa and Archival Collections Roundtable Discussion
  2. 2. Speakers A visual artist best known for her intricate drawings with surrealistic renderings. She was born in Valparaiso, Chile where she began drawing at the age of eight. Liliana’s early paintings sought to process the trauma she had witnessed as a young woman in Chile. In her native country Liliana experienced the dramatic political changes that followed the 1970 election of Salvador Allende and the subsequent military coup which initiated a wave of human rights violations. She immigrated to the United States in 1977 and pursued studies in art at Texas State University. Liliana’s art has been exhibited in the United States, Mexico, Argentina, and Italy. Liliana current work represents images of children as immigrants and refugees transitioning into creatively crafted unknown worlds. Laura I. Rendón is a student advocate, education scholar and consultant. A native of Laredo, Texas, Rendón’s work has focused on reducing educational inequalities connected to college access, persistence and graduation of low-income, first-generation students. Rendón developed “validation theory,” which has been extensively employed by scholars and educational organizations as the framework to work with underserved student populations. Rendón is also a teaching and learning thought leader in the area of contemplative education. Further, Rendón is author or editor of an extensive number of books, journal articles and practice and policy papers focusing on Latinx student success. Rendón’s archives can be found at the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection Library, University of Texas-Austin. Chicana feminist historian Antonia I. Castañeda received her BA at Western Washington State College, her MA at the University of Washington, and her Ph.D. in U.S. History at Stanford University. Castañeda held teaching appointments in Chicano Studies and Women’s Studies at the University of California in Santa Barbara and in the Departments of History at the University of Texas at Austin and St. Mary’s University, San Antonio. Now retired from university teaching, Castaneda remains an active scholar as well as a public historian, historical consultant and community activist.
  3. 3. Moderator Is the daughter of Honduran parents, a native of New Orleans, and a child of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. I live in Austin, Texas currently working as a Latin American Metadata Librarian. She received a Master of Science in Information Studies with a focus on archival management, digital records, museum studies, and cultural policy and nonprofit management from the University of Texas at Austin School of Information. Before that, Itza obtained a dual-degree Bachelor of Arts in History and English with a concentration on creative writing and legal studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio. In her current position at LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Special Collection at UT, Itza works with metadata through the use of post custodial methods for digital archives and cultural heritage collections with partners in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia Latin American Digital Initiatives (LADI) - Portfolio -
  4. 4. QUESTIONS ● How was the nature of the research and teaching landscape prior to the inclusion of marginalized and excluded voices (such as Anzaldua’s) ● What sorts of barriers exist (structurally, mentally, physically, legally, etc) to the diversification of historical collections and materials ● How can institutions, organizations, and staff develop internal mechanism for greater representation? ● How would a broader historical narrative impact research, teaching, learning, well-being, etc? ● Has Anzaldua’s collection paved the way for others to create a space for their historical contributions? How? ● How can Anzaldua’s collection and work create future opportunities for others to reclaim a space in history? ● What are the other possibilities for Anzaldua’s archive and other similar collections? (specifically for uses in the arts and sciences)
  5. 5. From an archivist’s point of view
  6. 6. archivist - the physical and human labor behind the materials, place, and concept. archive - typically refers to the physical place where materials are held archives - usually refers to the actual materials held in archives Archives (with a capital A) - theoretical concept oftentimes invoking philosophers such as Jacques Derrida and his writings in Archive Fever. Big emphasis hypotheticals and on the power structures of archive(s). What is an archivist, archive, archives, and Archives
  7. 7. Brief Overview of Anzaldua Collection The Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Special Collection acquired personal and biographical materials, correspondence, written works, research materials, photographs, audiovisual materials, and artifacts document the life and career of Gloria Anzaldua in 2004-2005. Since the acquisition, the Anzaldua archive has been one of the most heavily visited and used collection at the Benson with scholars and users from all the over the country and world. Finding Aid - UT News - Austin News -
  8. 8. Impact of Anzaldua Archive New ways to engage Emphasize significance of marginalized stories Access to unknown storiesExpand Anzaldua’s Impact Access to underrepresented people and stories ● Access to underrepresented and/or new stories ● New opportunities and ways to engage with and understand Anzaldua’s work ● Solidify recognition and significance of marginalized stories ● Continue to strengthen, incorporate, and expand Anzaldua’s wisdom upon her passing ● Access to other stories either lost, ignored, erased, or NOT YET visible in mainstream history
  9. 9. Resources "Archive." Statement of Principles | Society of American Archivists. Accessed May 14, 2018. "Archives." Statement of Principles | Society of American Archivists. Accessed May 14, 2018. Caswell, Michelle. "’The Archive’ Is Not an Archives: On Acknowledging the Intellectual Contributions of Archival Studies." Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture 16, no. 1 (August 4, 2016). Derrida, Jacques. Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression. IL: University of Chicago Press, 1996. "Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa Papers, 1942-2004." University of Texas Libraries. Accessed May 21, 2018.