Veteran’s Expressions After War

Currently on display at the Archives & Special Collections is the guest curated exhibit Veteran’s Expressions After War: Every Veteran’s Life Tells a Story and Every Veteran Leaves a Legacy, by Robin Albarano and Jordan Kiper.  This exhibit features visual art, poetry, correspondence, photography and ephemera relating to veteran’s experiences from the Vietnam War to the War in Iraq.  Materials featured draw from The Alternative Press Collection, Cal Robertson Papers and First Casualty Press.

This exhibition will be on display in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center Gallery from January 1st 2017 to February 28th 2017, open Monday to Friday 9 – 4 pm.

 

A correlating exhibition will be on display this spring in the hallway of the Dodd Center featuring photographic prints and oral histories of veteran’s from the Balkans conflict.  Materials featured will be products of Robin’s photographic work and Jordan’s PhD research.

Women of the Black Panther Party

The following post is by undergraduate and UConn History Department intern Maggie Peyton about her current project working with materials in the Archives & Special Collections. 

IMG_3562My name is Maggie Peyton. I am a sophomore here at UConn, majoring in business. I took this opportunity to do research at the Archives & Special Collections because I am very interested in social justice and its history in the U.S. Prior to this internship, I had not taken any history classes on campus or engaged in archival work, so this is a very new and interesting experience.

The objective of this internship is to create an exhibit for the archives for the month of December. My fellow intern and I will be constructing an exhibit about minority women in the Civil Rights/social justice movements of the twentieth century. Specifically, I am focusing on the role of black women. What we know as the Women’s Movement was historically very exclusive and only served to represent upper-class white women. It did not acknowledge nor advocate for the issues unique to women who did not belong to this category. Continue reading

#AIDS35

-Guest blog post by Thomas Lawrence Long, Associate Professor and co-curator of the AIDS35 exhibition on display in the John P. McDonald Reading Room, Archives & Special Collections during the months of August and September, 2016.

AIDS35_small

In 2016 we mark the thirty-fifth anniversary of the first published reports of what would come to be called the AIDS epidemic. Initially identified as rare cancers among gay men, Haitian immigrants, intravenous drug users, and hemophiliacs, AIDS emerged at a moment when a triumphant religious right (organized by the so-called Moral Majority) and political conservatives dominated American media and public life. The convergence of a mysterious infectious disease associated with stigmatized groups or behaviors, on the one hand, and a moralistic neo-liberal social and political movement, on the other hand, created the conditions for competing published representations. These representations invoked divine judgment and apocalyptic anxiety, or critiques of conservative medical authorities and of defunded public health resources.Lingua Franca, June 1991

HIV, the virus causing AIDS, is often transmitted by proscribed behaviors: sexual intercourse (both vaginal and anal) and intravenous drug use. HIV-infected people were thus routinely blamed for their infection and stigmatized as a threat to the general population.  Even among gay men for whom sexual liberation was associated with social and political freedom, the AIDS epidemic created a crisis of confidence.

In a paper presented in 1986 at the annual convention of the Modern Language Association and later published in 1988, communication and cultural theorist Paula Treichler, analyzing the representational conflicts surrounding AIDS, observed that “the AIDS epidemic is simultaneously an epidemic of a transmissible disease and an epidemic of meanings or signification. Both epidemics are equally crucial for us to understand, for, try as we may to treat AIDS as ‘an infectious disease’ and nothing more, meanings continue to multiply wildly and at an extraordinary rate.”

ACT-UP: AIDS Coalition To Unleash PowerTo wrest control of the epidemic’s representational field, AIDS activists, independent queer presses, and AIDS service organizations produced a variety of publications, including safer-sex brochures, tracts and manifestos, zines, and AIDS-themed fiction. Items included in this exhibit come both from Archives and Special Collections and the personal collection of Associate Professor in Residence Thomas Lawrence Long.

 

Ironically, this year marks another AIDS anniversary: twenty years since the introduction of protease inhibitors and other retroviral drug combinations that turned HIV infection from a death sentence to a manageable chronic infection.

For more information on campus wide exhibitions and programming on #AIDS35, click here.

-Thomas Lawrence Long, Associate Professor in residence in the UConn School of Nursing with a joint appointment in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, is the author of AIDS and American Apocalypticism: The Cultural Semiotics of an Epidemic. He is a founding member of the Modern Language Association’s Medical Humanities and Health Studies Forum and an associate editor of Literature and Medicine.

Our Comics, Ourselves on Exhibit

Our Comics, Ourselves at Interference Archive
Our Comics, Ourselves at Interference Archive Brooklyn, New York

The Archives & Special Collections at the University of Connecticut will host the first traveling installment of the exhibition Our Comics, Ourselves co-curated by Jan Descartes and Monica McKelvey Johnson.  Premiering at the Interference Archive in Brooklyn, NY in January of 2016, this exhibition featured comics  selections from the Interference Archive collections as well as private collections on loan.  The exhibition includes comic books, graphic novels, DIY comics, and various comics paraphernalia primarily from the United States, 1945 to present. The works range from autobiographical to sheer fantasy, and explore feminism, abortion, racism, cultural identity, social activism, veterans of war, sexual abuse, immigration, public health, civil rights, gender and sexual identity, and more.

Video of Exhibit Installation

The works on exhibit are outside what has been called “mainstream” in comics—in other words, they do not replicate heroic aspirations of a monolithic American boyhood. They do not aspire towards unified idealism. Instead, these are the stories about all of us—either made by us, for us, or in our names. They are complicated, and sometimes messy. By attempting to narrate around mainstream standards and into uncharted territory, these comics let more of us know that we, too, belong to this world and that maybe, therefore, we are also able to participate in and shape it.
UConn’s Graham Stinnett, Archivist for Human Rights and Alternative Press Collections, guest curated a portion of the digital supplement of the exhibition on tumblr featuring materials from the University of Connecticut’s Alternative Press Comix Collection earlier this year. The curated tumblr blog is part of an ongoing contributor driven narration of comic books, personal history and identity.
The UConn Archives exhibition of Our Comics, Ourselves will run from June 14th – August 22nd 2016 in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center Gallery which is open to the public, Monday – Friday 8:30 – 5pm.

Celebrate People’s History

Ca9Nle9XIAEJt8p (1)Currently on display at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, a recently acquired set of Celebrate People’s History Poster Series from the Justseeds artists cooperative.  The Archives & Special Collections has added this poster series to its collection because of the strong linkages to the Alternative Press Collection which contains posters, flyers, pamphlets and newspapers about the movements depicted in the series.

This collection was organized and curated by Justseeds founder Josh MacPhee for distribution to all corners of public and social spaces:

“The Celebrate People’s History posters are rooted in this do-it-yourself tradition of mass-produced and distributed political propaganda, but detoured to embody principles of democracy, inclusion, and group participation in the writing and interpretation of history. It’s rare today that a political poster is celebratory, and when it is, it almost always focuses on a small canon of male individuals: MLK, Ghandi, Che, or Mandela. Rather than create another exclusive set of heroes, I’ve generated a diverse set of posters that bring to life successful moments in the history of social justice struggles. To that end, I’ve asked artists and designers to find events, groups, and people who have moved forward the collective struggle of humanity to create a more equitable and just world. The posters tell stories from the subjective position of the artists, and are often the stories of underdogs, those written out of history. The goal of this project is not to tell a definitive history, but to suggest a new relationship to the past.

CPH posters have been pasted up in the streets of over a dozen cities. Each time I receive emails from people wanting to know more. Our streets can be a venue for asking these questions, and the CPH posters can play a role in answering them. Soon after the first poster was printed, educators began asking for posters for their classrooms. It’s been great to see the posters become part of curriculum, and to see lessons built around them. Once when giving a talk about CPH, I was approached by a student in training to become a teacher. She was first introduced to the posters when they hung in one of her grade school classrooms, almost a decade earlier. Now she intends to use them in her future classes. I hope that these posters can continue to act as some small corrective to the dominant narratives told in schools, and that more teachers engage students in alternative ways of understanding the past.”

This exhibition will be up in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center from February 1st – April 15th, 2016.

 

The Ku Klux Klan, Rebel Pride and Anti-Klan Resistance

Anti-Racism Coalition of Connecticut, pamphlet.

Anti-Racism Coalition of Connecticut, pamphlet.

On June 18 2015, Dylann Roof, 21 years old, shot and killed nine African-Americans at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.  When Roof was apprehended, he wore the flags of Apartheid-Era South Africa and Rhodesia, former white supremacist settler colonial states in Southern Africa.  Roof also had Confederate flags hung on his walls and frequented white power websites.  These race based murders fueled an ongoing debate about Confederate symbolism and its usage in the private and public spheres.  The Alternative Press Collection at the Archives & Special Collections is comprised of fringe publishing from both ends of the political spectrum such as White Patriot and Death to the Klan.  The current debate around the Confederate flag draws on long standing uses of historical interpretation and cultural identity dating to the Civil War and Reconstruction era of 1861-1877.  As demonstrated in this exhibition currently on display in the Archives through these selected materials from the Alternative Press, Northeast Children’s Literature and Labor collections, figures such as Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, abolitionists John Brown and Frederick Douglass serve as symbolic totems of heritage, spirituality and citizenship. Continue reading

Kent State and Student Strike at UConn

The Week of the Strike, May 9 1970

In 1968 students at UConn demonstrated against the ROTC and military recruiting on campus as national uprisings began to foment against the war in Vietnam.  Corporate job recruiting by General Electric and Olin Mathieson on Gilbert Rd. drew confrontations between protestors and state police along with President Homer D. Babbidge’s approach toward a business friendly posture for the university.  The combative times of the UConn Crisis in 1968-1969 was the prologue to an even more eruptive year to come.  Lyndon Johnson’s escalation of the war led to major backlash in the mid to late 1960s which President Nixon’s administration promised to diminish by quietly widening military campaigns into neighboring Cambodia.

Student demonstrations in over 1,250 college campuses across the country led to confrontations with local police and the national guard.  On May 4th, 1970 protests at Kent State University in Ohio led to national guardsmen firing into demonstrators killing four individuals and wounding several others.  The events of 1970 galvanized much of the public’s perception on the war in Vietnam however clashes at home along class and race lines similarly disrupted any clear consensus about the war at home and abroad.  The days following the Kent State shootings on the University of Connecticut campus would produce the actions of students, faculty and administration which declared 1970 as the high water mark for social upheavel. The events below were extracted from the extensive archive documented by student organizations, administration and the Daily Campus:      Continue reading

Archives to Host Pre-College Digital Media Course

 

2013-0052_gm030 Emzon Shung and Chron.Dis. Present, Box 1 Folder 1.

2013-0052_gm030 Emzon Shung and Chron.Dis. Present, Box 1 Folder 1. Joe Snow Punk Rock Collection, Archives and Special Collections, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut.

This summer, Research Assistant of Digital Media & Design Clarissa Ceglio and Archivist Graham Stinnett will be co-teaching two courses on Digital Humanities and Archives. The courses are for junior’s in high school intended to provide them with early education in University tools and resources such as libraries, archives and digital instruction. The course will focus its primary source work on the Joe Snow Punk Rock Collection at the Archives & Special Collections, where students will have a first hand experience with punk flyers, posters, stickers, pins and ephemera within the collection. Students will benefit from a behind the scenes experience with historical records and artifacts in an archives to prepare them for future research access in an academic setting. The archival experience will then be extended into the digital realm, where students will construct portals for digital content and description and analysis of primary resources on the web.  Students will learn about techniques for manipulating digital content and interface tools to build contextual digital media pages.  Providing students the opportunity to engage in archival resources at an early age promotes further investigation into historical documents as education and research continues at the University level and beyond.

War, Struggle, and Visual Politics: Art on the Frontlines

April 21 - April 22, 2014

April 21 – April 22, 2014

The Archives and Special Collections in collaboration with the Dodd Center and Booklyn Artists Alliance, are hosting two days of events on War, Struggle and Visual Politics: Art on the Frontlines.  Events will be held in the Dodd Research Center on April 21st and 22nd in conjunction with the Week In Humanities.  Artists Seth Tobocman, Stephen Dupont, Marshall Weber, Chantelle Bateman and Aaron Hughes will be holding talks, workshops and presenting artwork around the focus of politics and activism in art and war.  Students, community members, veterans and artists are encouraged to attend these events to provide a dynamic facilitation of how we utilize art, activism and memory to cope with war.

Art work will be on display in galleries as follows:Aaron Hughes : Institute for the Humanities : College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Seth Tobocman : Contemporary Art Gallery : School of Fine Art

Stephen Dupont : Coop Bookstore : Downtown Stores

For a full list of events, please follow this link for the Week in Humanities.

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.         

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.

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.