About Graham Stinnett

Curator of Human Rights Collections and Alternative Press Collections, Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut. Stinnett holds a Master’s degree in Archival Studies from the History Department at the University of Manitoba, where he also earned a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American History. Stinnett's graduate work focused on human rights non-governmental organizations and their importance to archives and the role of archivist as activist. He has published in the Progressive Librarian on the subject. Stinnett has worked in University Archives with human rights collections at UC Boulder, Manitoba and UConn. His involvement with the Manitoba Gay and Lesbian Archives collection project and the LGBTTQ Oral History Initiative, the El Salvador Human Rights Archive at Boulder and the extensive AltPress & Human Rights Archives at UConn have resulted in a multitude of engagement and outreach activities. He also briefly served as the Archivist for the Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club in British Columbia.

Out of the Frame: Alternative Arts of the 1980s

Out of the Frame: Alternative Arts of the 1980s

Out of the Frame: Alternative Arts of the 1980s

A co-curated gallery exhibition of alternative arts of the 1980s is currently on display at the Dodd Center.  This exhibit features selections of dial-a-poems, artists’ books, offset lithography, punk rock, zines, buttons, show flyers, cyberpunk literature, comic books and related ephemera from the Archives & Special Collections.  By focusing on underground visual and aural arts of fringe countercultures, our goal is to demonstrate the range of expression found within these distinct cultural enclaves.  The show offers materials from three distinct curatorial areas, however the threads that tie these materials together become interwoven through their reactions to the dominant modes of production of the era.

March 3-May 11, 2014

Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

Gallery Hours: 8:30-4:30, Monday – Friday

For more information on the libraries ongoing exhibits, please visit the exhibitions page.

The World Is Being Ripped

Dont Believe What They Tell YouIn conjunction with the Dodd Center, the Archives & Special Collections has acquired NYC artist Seth Tobocman’s The World Is Being Ripped, a series of 14 narrative posters.  This limited edition is the last spray art version which Tobocman released, making its unique street art aesthetic a historical document of design and propaganda.  These stenciled graphics were originally created in the early 1980s to critique the militaristic individualism of the American Cold War economy and its impact on society:

The World is Being Ripped was originally a response to the Cold War, but it came to address a larger question: In a society as predatory and self destructive as this one, can there be any basis for morality? Is ethical behavior even possible in such a context? I like to think that in adopting these images as their emblems, people are answering that question in the affirmative.

– Seth Tobocman    

The stencil art form was created to be an accessible, reproducible, inexpensive and temporary demonstration of design and often political critique or message.  This collection provides a unique glimpse of street art yet intended for the gallery with its rich use of color and linear narrative.  To see this collection in the reading room, contact the curator of Alternative Press Collections.         

Northeast Conference on British Studies

Lion_Rampant_TitleOn October 4th and 5th, the red coats are coming to UConn!  This years annual meeting of the Northeast Conference on British Studies, organized by Prof. Brendan Kane of UConn’s History department, is working collaboratively to promote historical research in archival collections.  The Dodd Center and Archives & Special Collections will be on display the evening of October 4th for the initial day’s reception.  Archives & Special Collections will have materials on display from the early modern period to anti-colonial struggles of the late twentieth century.

Dodd International Justice Research Fellowship Report, 2013

Court Scenes, 1945-1946
Thomas Dodd, Chief Trial Counsel in the Court of the International Military Tribunal, 1945-1946.

In January 2013 I applied for the Thomas J. Dodd International Justice Research Fellowship. This fellowship supports research at the Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, furthering the Center’s aim to promote human rights. The Center is also dedicated to promoting the work and career of Thomas J. Dodd, executive trial counsel for the United States at the International Military Tribunal (IMT Trial). A higher degree by research student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Deakin University, Melbourne (Australia), I was both honoured and excited to be given this opportunity. The fellowship involved a two-week stay at the University of Connecticut (UCONN) campus to conduct Ph.D. research during summer 2013. Over a period of two weeks I worked closely with the Center’s staff searching through the Thomas J. Dodd collection and analysing documents relating to war crimes trials of Nazi criminals held in the aftermath of World War II, specifically the IMT Trial.

The Dodd Center’s collection is exceptional because it brings together a comprehensive range of trial documentation at one location. The Dodd Papers are a valuable set of historical documents that hold relevance in a range of academic fields, not least human rights and history. Moreover, the documents are predominantly printed in English, and include various translated German documents, which normally I and many other scholars would be unable to access. I was excited to be given the opportunity to conduct research in an international setting but also to engage with the valuable archives housed at the Dodd Center.
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Punk Rock in Connecticut

 

EpitomeA recent acquisition to the Alternative Press Collection is one of the first record albums to be printed in Connecticut of the musical genre popularly known as punk rock.  Printed in 1978 by 21st Century Records, the band Epitome released their first album, a self titled vinyl 12″, Epitome ep, containing three tracks: The Thief of Lover’s Lane, Baby No More Tears, and Transistor Sister. Epitome formed in 1977 in Stratford, CT.  Playing venues from Bridgeport’s own The Snakepit, The Shandy Gaff in Milford to New York City’s famous C.B.G.B.’s and Max’s Kansas City.  The youth culture which formed out of the punk scene represents a politicized anti-establishment ethos and aesthetic that challenged previous youth movements from the late 1960s student based revolt.

To listen to this record, please make an appointment with the Alternative Press Curator.

Take Back the Night, the Day, the Street, the Home…

Wednesday, April 17th is Take Back the Night on the University of Connecticut campus.  An event recognized across North America in response to violence against wimmin.  Since its inception Take Back the Night has been about reclaiming space beyond the physically passive act of recognition and observation.  Wimmin, the disproportionate victims of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and harassment, have found solidarity through the action of speaking out and mobilization en masse against this violence.  It’s sister mobilization, Slutwalk, has also achieved support across the broad spectrum of wimmin who experience patriarchy in the streets, an intended social space for interaction in work, transit and play.

The Alternative Press Collection (APC) in the Archives contains numerous publications on wimmin-positive theory and praxis in response to gender violence since the 1960s.  Of note is the feminist publication Aegis: Magazine on Ending Violence Against Women published in 1978 by the Feminist Alliance Against Rape.  Defined by the magazine’s statement of purpose, the movement to build solidarity through information was seminal in establishing wimmin’s resources in regions where silence was (is) the normative response to gender violence:

The purpose of Aegis is to aid the efforts of feminists working to end violence against women.  To this end, Aegis provides practical information and resources for grassroots organizers, along with promoting a continuing discussion among feminists of the root causes of rape, battering, sexual harassment and other forms of violence against women.

Depicted in the image below is the cover of the September/October 1979 issue, portraying the advocacy debate around wimmin’s rights to self defense.

Aegis

In addition to our extensive APC collection of periodicals is a recently acquired special collection art installation about building solidarity and non-violence amongst wimmin through art therapy.  In this case, pulping panties into paper!  From the Peace Paper Project comes another alliterative piece, Panty Pulping!  The installment consists of loose pieces of paper made from mulched wimmin’s underwear that has been forged anew through storytelling and constructing the foundations of a new page for which a narrative can be written about wimmins voices together.

To view these pieces or any materials about wimmin’s rights and radical feminism, please contact the curator.

 

#Occuprint

One of our recent acquisitions is a poster collection created by Occuprint of the Occupy Wall Street Screen Printing Guild.  The collection consists of thirty-one posters which were selected from hundreds on the Occuprint website.  The materials were produced under creative commons allowing for free copying and usage as well as open submission by artists illustrating the occupy movement world wide.  These logos and images are now finding their way onto t-shirts, buttons, flyers and websites.  The prints began as sketches and signage made on pizza boxes in Zuccotti Park, New York during the Occupy Wall Street encampment which evolved into the polished and colorful images printed by the guild.  Demonstration art and signage is not an original artifact of the Occupy movement, as our Poras Collection of Vietnam War Memorabilia demonstrates; infact the modern poster is often reliant on the influences of previous counter culture and purposefully self-aware.  However, this material is a representation of demonstration sign art which was never part of the demonstration itself, thereby creating a digital archive of art in a political vein originating across the globe to both mimic the Occupy Wall Street movement and symbolize the individual geographies of protest.  Its appeal for mass reproducibility, as occured in previous eras of resistance and demonstration, is in itself a form of protest to the commodification of art as an industry for profit, a root cause of “the 99%” slogan. 

These posters can be viewed by appointment only, please contact the curator of the Alternative Press Collection for details.  A great resource of digitized demonstration posters from the 1960s and 1970s can be found at the Oakland Museum of California.

Martin Luther King Jr. and “Why I Oppose the War In Vietnam”

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) said from the pulpit at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on April 16, 1967, “I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettoes without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today – my own government.” 

“Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam” – Dr. Martin Luther King jr. Dodd Center, Archives & Special Collections LP’s.

This edition of Martin Luther King Jr. day means many things this year.  A significant day to reflect on historical achievements in the United States for African Americans and people of color regarding civil rights and segregation,  and as a nation, its first African American Commander in Chief takes office today.  Though the Archives & Special Collections at the University of Connecticut may not contain Lincoln’s bible which will be used today in the swearing in of President Obama for his second term, we do have important materials that help contextualize why the issues of human rights for people of color in the United States and around the world matter now as ever.   

A linkage between the US government’s role in violence in the third world during the War in Vietnam and the violence against people of color at home was a major topic of King’s speeches in the last year of his life.  Other important figures like Olaudah Equiano, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois,  Malcolm X and Angela Davis have also taken the stance on racism and human rights abuse to the internationalist position that a violence against people of color around the world is a violence to all.  On this inaugural day of the President of the United States, taking the steps of the building which he will stand upon, built by African Americans enslaved 150 years ago, will symbolize an overwhelming achievement in a nation’s history.  For the role of African Americans in the making of this country that has systematically seen its power turned to their oppression, the event symbolizes an equally outstanding time in history which lays deep within the meaning making of the citizen, the culture, and the class.  The struggles of African American draftees, Medgar Evers of the NAACP, Harriet Tubman and the underground railroad, Freedom Riders from North to South and The 54th Regiment of Massachusetts all became witness to the atrocity and injustice brought to their people.  The contextual archive, such as Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam, also bears witness to those injustices which continue on to lay the groundwork for the now, the tomorrow and thereafter. 

“We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values, we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing oriented society to a person oriented society, when machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies…true compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar, it comes to see that an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring.” – Martin Luther King Jr., April 4, 1967.       

Materials on Civil Rights and Human Rights can be found at the Dodd Center’s Archives & Special Collections such as the LP Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam.  For access to other radical LP’s from our Alternative Press Collection, please contact the Curator.