Teaching With Archives
The mission of the archives is pedagogical at its core. We do instruction for classes, collaborate with faculty on curriculum planning, and consult with students about their research. We support all Barnard departments and also partner with middle and high school classes as well as support extracurricular research for Barnard students. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested in teaching with archives.
Teaching with archives can help achieve several pedagogical goals:
- Build critical archival and primary source research skills, for analysis and use of paper/analog collections as well as digitized and born-digital archives and primary source databases
- Deepen subject understanding of course topics with relevant primary sources from Barnard Archives collections and digitized materials
- Support historically-focused senior thesis or capstone research (with materials from the Barnard Archives as well as from other repositories) in a variety of disciplines
- Understand material culture and strengthen close reading skills of documents
- Extract and analyze data from archival collections
- Create and curate digital humanities projects, exhibits, and creative projects with archival materials
- Build personal and collective archives and learn personal digital preservation skills including web archiving and digital curation
We offer multiple tiers of instruction to fit your pedagogical needs:
An introduction to critical archival theory and research tailored to the learning objectives and topics of a course. Sessions typically include discussion around definitions of archives, an overview of archival labor and how archival collections are mediated, strategies for accessing archival materials, and an interactive document analysis workshop using materials from the Barnard Archives followed by discussion. We also offer one-class intros to finding and using primary sources (including but not limited to archival materials) and can develop research guides for classes or specific topics.
Examples of course collaborations involving one-class intro sessions have included:
- Urban Studies Junior Seminar
- American Studies Junior Colloquium, Senior Seminar, and electives
- History Senior Seminar and electives
- English Survey of American Literature, 1871-1945
- Political Science Research Methods
- Art History Art/Work: Sex, Aesthetics, and Capitalism
- Religion Indigenous Religious Histories
- Sociology Senior Seminar
- Teacher’s College Historical Methods (graduate school class)
- Youth Historians in Harlem (high school class)
For examples of lesson plans that could either be taught as one-class sessions or scaffolded, see Sarah Barlow-Ochshorn's (graduate fellow, 2021-2022) Writing with the Archives mini-workshop series.
A more involved collaboration in curricular and syllabus planning, multiple instruction sessions, and projects structured around archival research, archival digitization, and/or digital humanities projects. Typically these embedded courses involve collaboration with our colleagues in the personal librarians program and in the Milstein Centers.
Examples of semester-long course collaborations have included:
A one-class or half-class long discussion of personal digital archiving and submitting work to Academic Commons, typically for graduating seniors. Sessions include a discussion of strategies for preserving personal and curricular digital materials, helpful tools, and how to submit to Academic Commons.
Collections for Teaching
Are you interested in teaching with materials from the Barnard Archives? Using our finding collections page, you can search for materials that fit your pedagogical goals and the topical area of your course. Collection strengths include histories of feminist organizing; reproductive justice; the history of Barnard and education in the 20th century; feminist artists, authors, and scholars; and zine culture and zinesters. Please contact us at email@example.com for more assistance, and we’ll be happy to recommend collections.
We offer research consultations to Barnard and Columbia students doing primary source and/or archival research. We can also set up blocks of time for drop-ins or group consultations for your class; please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org before adding this to your syllabus.
We also offer consultations to staff, faculty, and researchers doing research in the Barnard Archives and Special Collections and consult on archival and digital preservation questions.
Book a research consultation with Martha Tenney: https://barnard.libcal.com/appointments/martha