Session 6: Pedagogical Approaches

Moderator: James King (University of Pittsburgh)
Migrating Memories: Diaspora, Archives and Human Rights / Anne J. Gilliland (UCLA) and Hariz Halilovich (Monash University)

This paper will provide a critical analysis of emergent themes, innovative pedagogical approaches, and lessons learned in an experimental graduate course entitled Migrating Memories: Diaspora, Archives and Human Rights. This face-to-face course, collaboratively taught as a series of day-long weekly seminars at UCLA in October and November 2014 by faculty members from UCLA (Gilliland, archival studies) and Monash University (Halilovich, anthropology) explored the (re)construction of migrants’ memories and identities as distinct transnational and translocal practices taking place in both private and public domains, in reality and imagination, and in the realms of real and cyber space. Building upon relevant intersections between their respective research interests and disciplinary backgrounds, Gilliland and Halilovich sought to expand the current scope and applicability of archival studies professional and research education to the study and documentation of the diasporic experience, especially where diaspora is a consequence of war, genocide and forced displacement. The course attracted students from the master’s programs in library and information science and Latin American studies, as well as from doctoral programs in anthropology, Chicana/o studies, education, English, history and information studies.

Students were introduced to the significance of memory in establishing diasporas and explored various forms and practices, both tangible and intangible, of memory and memory work in migrant and refugee communities across generations: from oral histories and testimonials to performative enactments of memories (e.g., commemorations, exhibitions, art, literature, and film) to the establishment of more formal memory structures such as archives, libraries, museums, monuments, and documentary and print production. Employing fiction, creative non-fiction and documentary film as well as critical works, the course was consciously designed to move across humanities and arts as well as social science disciplinary perspectives. This pedagogical approach was also intended to encourage awareness of and receptivity to the many ways in which memory can find expression, to integrate participants’ personal backgrounds and motivations, and to encourage creative research and production (e.g., creative writing, art and music) as alternative forms of capturing and expressing the diasporic experience.

Considering Memory in the teaching of Archives: A Survey and Analysis of Memory Studies Pedagogy in the United States / Jeannette Bastian (Simmons College)

Beginning in the late 20th century, Memory Studies gradually evolved from an area of interest to social historians into a distinct area of academic pedagogy touching many disciplines while developing a singular lens of its own. Courses in Memory Studies can be found in a variety of disciplines but there are relatively few in archival programs. Rather, memory issues are often implicit, rather than explicit components of archives courses. The interdisciplinarity of memory studies, however, offers exciting opportunities for synergy with archival education as well as raising questions about the nature of the relationship between memory and archives.

This paper reports on an ongoing survey and analysis of memory studies courses offered in academic programs in the United States. Using over forty syllabi from a variety of programs as the primary data set, the survey includes an analysis of readings, programs, topics and assignments primarily culled online. A secondary data set analyzes conclusions reached by peer-reviewed articles about the emergence of Memory Studies as an academic discipline.

The final portion of the presentation relates the teaching of memory studies to the teaching of archives. The shifting role of memory in light of the emergence of memory studies holds implications for archival pedagogy, not least of which is examining the changing role of memory in the understanding of archives and records.