Tag Archives: history

A news bureau photograph of Kashmiri refugees who had been driven from their homes by the turmoil of 1947.

Read, Hot, and Digitized: 1947 Partition Archive

Read, hot & digitized: Librarians and the digital scholarship they love — In this series, librarians from UTL’s Arts, Humanities and Global Studies Engagement Team briefly present, explore and critique existing examples of digital scholarship.  Our hope is that these monthly reviews will inspire critical reflection of and future creative contributions to the growing fields of digital scholarship.

Increasingly simple and cost-effective digital technologies have made capturing and distributing oral histories a robust and growing field for archivists and for researchers, and, by extension for students and scholars seeking primary source, personal narratives to augment their understandings of history.  One of the most compelling South Asian oral history projects is the 1947 Partition Archive.  The Archive’s mission is to preserve eyewitness accounts from those who lived through the exceptionally turbulent and violent period when the Indian subcontinent gained independence from Britain, divided into the nation-states of India and Pakistan, and millions of people migrated from India to Pakistan, from Pakistan to India, from India and Pakistan to other parts of the world.  The work of the Archive is especially pressing: it has been 72 years since Partition and those still alive and able to directly recount their stories are increasingly rare.  As such, the core of the Archive’s work is to use its digital platform to encourage and motivate more interviews.

Using the power of “the crowd” to create content as well as to fund itself, the 1947 Partition Archive is demonstrably transparent in its methodologies; of particular use to those new to video oral histories is their “Citizen Historian Training Packet” which walks a novice through best practices for interviewing, strategies for good video capture, recommendations for incorporating still images into videos and even how to employ social media to generate interest (and potentially more interviews!).   The Archive has gathered over 5000 interviews so far and uses a very persuasive interactive map (StoryMap) on its front page to document the scale and scope of migration while simultaneously indexing the interviews; on the map itself, try searching a city either in “migrated to” or “migrated from” to generate a list of interviews, many with detailed text summaries that can be easily shared through social media, email, etc.

A handful of video interviews are available on the front page of the Archive’s website and raw, unedited recordings are available upon request.

Recently the Archive has partnered with Stanford University Library to preserve and archive the recordings.  To date, approximately 50 interviews are available through streaming on the site and (contingent on funding) one can hope for more to be available soon.  On the Stanford site, one can navigate by language, author, place & date of recording, but those just beginning to explore the subject may find the “Today’s Story” a good place to start.

The stories bravely shared through the 1947 Partition Archive are simultaneously compelling and devastating in their intimate descriptions of destruction, of violence, of loss.  And yet, they also provide hope: all interviewees survived the ruin that was Partition and the very act of sharing their stories demonstrates a hope for and generosity towards future generations to learn from the past.

The UT Libraries has an extensive collection related to Partition; those new to the topic might begin with a short story by Saadat Hasan Manto, “Toba Tek Singh,”  a novel by Khushwant Singh, Train to Pakistan, or by Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children, or Vishwajyoti Ghosh’s curated graphic novel, This Side, That Side.

Stanford University's 1947 Partition website.

 

 

 

Collections Highlight: The Memoirs of Santa Anna

Antonio López de Santa Anna. “Mis memorias, escritas de mi puño y letra sin ayuda de nadie,en mi último destierro,” 1872. Paper, 12 x 7 in. Genaro Garcìa Collection, Benson Latin American Collection.
Antonio López de Santa Anna. “Mis memorias, escritas de mi puño y letra sin ayuda de nadie,en mi último destierro,” 1872. Paper. 12 x 7 in. Genaro Garcìa Collection,
Benson Latin American Collection.

Mexican politician and general Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna wrote these memoirs during his final exile in Havana in 1872.

Sometimes referred to as “the Napolean of the West,” Santa Anna — who served as president of Mexico in multiple, non-consecutive terms — is infamous for losing control of Texas and the extensive territories of the U.S. Southwest in 1836.

The Trail That Made Texas

When Alonso de Léon took his troops from the Rio Grande to the Guadalupe river – and later to the Neches – in search of French settlements, he probably had no idea that his tracks would pave the way for the creation of the state of Texas.

The Benson Latin American Collection is hosting an exhibition of photographs by Christopher Talbot from the National Historic Trail formed by de Léon’s expedition.

El Camino Real de los Tejas is on display at the Benson through the end of the month, and a reception with Talbot in attendance takes place tomorrow, Wednesday, September 21, from 5-7pm.

You can RSVP to the Benson’s Facebook event page.

“The Past is Never Dead.”

Here’s some great news from our colleagues across campus.

The History Department has just launched an informative, interactive history web site. Not Even Past provides current historical writing for a popular audience. For history buffs who want reading recommendations and short, interesting, digestible stories every day, the website offers text, audio, and video histories on subjects that span the globe. The site is designed for anyone who is interested in history, from an avid reader of history to a history film aficionado.

The content and “picks” are written by the department’s 60-person faculty with additional input from the graduate students. Notevenpast.org is rich with book and film recommendations, video interviews, podcasts, online commentary, and even virtual classes (free) every semester.

The History Department’s new site is one-of-a-kind – no other university or institution offers a similar resource. Not Even Past will be identified with the individuals in the History Department at UT, giving readers a personalized experience of great history writing as well as promoting the strengths of the department and the University of Texas. Not Even Past also differs from other History department sites in its stylish visual design and its cutting-edge user-friendly functionality.

And just in case you want to follow up on the current reading recommendations from Not Even Past, they’re all part of the collections at PCL (and currently available).

American slavery, American freedom : the ordeal of colonial Virginia / Edmund S. Morgan.

Disowning slavery : gradual emancipation and “race” in New England, 1780-1860 / Joanne Pope Melish.

Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave / written by himself with related documents ; edited with an introduction by David W. Blight.

Editors discuss new book on Latino expericence during World War II

texlibris_beyondthelatinoThe Center for Mexican American Studies hosts a discussion of Beyond the Latino World War II Hero: The Social and Political Legacy of a Generation (University of Texas Press, 2009) with editors Maggie Rivas-Rodríguez and Emilio Zamora today at 4 p.m. at El Mercado Uptown,  1702 Lavaca St.

Beyond the Latino World War II Hero extends on the work of the U.S. Latino & Latina World War II Oral History Project which was founded by Rivas-Rodriguez. The project has interviewed more than 650 men and women of the World War II generation and has multiple components, including a photographic exhibit, a play, three books, and a website which was developed with and hosted by the University of Texas Libraries.

Maggie Rivas-Rodríguez is Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and in 1999 founded the U.S. Latino & Latina World War II Oral History Project. Emilio Zamora is Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of The World of the Mexican Worker in Texas.