Archives At Your Fingertips: Teaching with Archives and Special Collections

littlemags01Introduce your class to primary sources from Archives and Special Collections, UConn’s only public archive that offers students opportunities to explore and experience original letters, diaries, photographs, maps, drawings, artists books, graphic novels, student newspapers, travel narratives, oral histories, and rare sound recordings to illuminate a given topic of study.  With over 40,000 linear feet of materials – located in the center of campus at the Dodd Research Center –  the Archives welcomes all visitors to its Reading Room, a quiet space to contemplate potentially transformative resources.

Students are encouraged to drop in for their class project, First Year Experience credit, or simply for their own personal enrichment.

Faculty, teaching assistants, and other instructors are invited to design and schedule an instruction session with staff archivists as early as possible in the academic semester. For examples of class sessions taught recently by staff archivists, see the list outlined below.

The collections offer ample source materials for interdisciplinary research and instruction in such fields as art history; nineteenth and twentieth century American history, social movements, music, literature and book arts; blues music and African American musical culture; Latin American history and culture; children’s literature and illustration; nursing history; human rights; and Connecticut history.

The repository’s collection of personal papers animate the experiences, activities and creative processes of writers, activists, artists, political figures, and UConn faculty and students through time, and are critical for studying the communities and networks in which these individuals worked and thrived.

Popular with students, the Alternative Press Collection, graphic novels, artists books, Comix, Fanzines, science fiction, Socialist/Communist Pamphlets, and other special collections offer a variety of materials for exploring diverse discourses in and across contemporary events and social issues. Publications and ephemera from non-mainstream political movements (Communism, Socialism, Anarchism, and other Radical Politics), Black Power and non-white activism and social justice organizations, Women’s Liberation/Feminist movements, presses and organizations, and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer organizations and movements can be found in the Alternative Press Collection.

Classes that visited Archives and Special Collections for an instruction session last year include the following:

Advanced Photography

African American Experience in the Arts

American Landscapes, Walden and Thoreau

Art of China

British Literature: The Tudors

Children’s Literature

Communication Design

Connecticut Soldiers and the Civil War

The Historian’s Craft

History of Women and Gender in the United States

Introduction to Creative Writing

Irish History

Little Magazines and the Mimeo Revolution

Mexico and Nineteenth-Century Travel Narratives

The Literature(s) of Medieval Iberia

Spanish Literature and Film

Trauma and History

United States and Human Rights

Word and Image: Early Illustrated Books


If you are a faculty member, visit Archives and Special Collections during public hours, Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm.  Or contact the archives staff today to discuss a prospective viewing of materials, instruction session or class visit.  We look forward to hearing from you!

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