Undergraduates in the Archives – Hebblethwaite 5
5How do you integrate archival work, logistically and practically, into your curriculum?
Assistant Professor, Department of Languages, Literature & Culture – University of Florida
PI, The Vodou Archive
¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 The Vodou Archive is being unveiled currently (spring of 2012) in my course “Introduction to Haitian Vodou.” On a weekly basis, different parts of the archive will be highlighted and students will be expected to visit the digital library to read or view the assigned materials. In order to stress the importance of The Vodou Archive as a digital library, I will also require that students write essays about some of its components. As Florida has numerous active Vodou communities, students will be encouraged to produce materials for the archive, such as photographs or recordings from Vodou ceremonies and rituals.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 The work undertaken in collaboration with undergraduates to produce Vodou Songs in Haitian Creole and English and The Vodou Archive has been integrated into the curriculum in numerous ways. For example, students are assigned reading materials that spring from the collaboration. Based on the topics selected for essays, students are encouraged to read or examine parts of The Vodou Archive. For example, students who want to write about how Catholic chromolithographs camouflage Vodou lwa (spirits) are encouraged to visit the selection in The Vodou Archive (click here); other students might need photographic data about Vodou (click here); other students may need to consult important but hard-to-find works such as Arthur Holly’s (1928) Dra-po (click here); finally, some students will want to listen to rare recordings made by Maya Deren held exclusively by The Vodou Archive (click here). The Vodou Archive is rich and diverse assemblage of documents; while not all of it can be directly included in the curriculum for all students, individual students are encouraged to branch into the parts of the archive that are relevant to their own work.
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Another way that I will increase student contributions to The Vodou Archive will be through the creation of The Vodou Journal, a planned dimension of the digital archive: ten of the students’ best essays will be submitted to The Vodou Journal for peer review and possible publication. I hope that this unique opportunity for undergraduates to make a significant contribution to the scholarship on Vodou will also stimulate greater attention to writing and introduce undergraduates to the process of scholarly publishing in general.