Lisa Goff / American Studies

Since January I have been working on a public history project called Take Back the Archive, a digital archive that documents and contextualizes the history of sexual assault at UVA. I am collaborating on this project with Scholars’ Lab and Special Collections, with the support of the English Department, the American Studies Program, and the Institute for Public History, where I am the current director; and substantial buy-in from Women and Gender Studies and the Women’s Center. Two UVA undergraduates, who have now graduated, worked closely with me as research assistants during the spring semester to establish the archive. I am currently overseeing two paid summer interns from UVA (current undergrad students), hired through the University’s Institute for Public History, who are continuing the work. We have made substantial progress and now have more than 300 items catalogued, from news reports to original video interviews. The archive is beginning to attract attention from public historians, feminist scholars, and digital archivists. My Scholars’ Lab collaborator, Jeremy Boggs, and I have been invited to give three conference papers about the archive in the next few months.

My Dream Idea is to take my two current interns with me when I deliver two conference papers about the archive: at the National Women’s Studies Association meeting in Milwaukee this November; and at the meeting of the National Council of Public History in Baltimore next March. They will brainstorm with me about my presentations for both panels; I will introduce them at the events; and they will participate in the Q&A following the panels. The three of us will also attend other panels and conference functions together, and continue the scholarly conversations these engender at meals together. The goal of attending both conferences will be to expand our collective knowledge about the current scholarship on rape and sexual violence; and to familiarize ourselves with other digital archives dedicated to campus history, on the one hand, and histories of survivorship, on the other. After we return, we will put this knowledge to use strategizing the future of Take Back the Archive. I am planning to convene a group of interested UVA faculty and students to critique the archive, and I will invite these two students to present their own findings and recommendations at those meetings.

The budget includes taking both interns to the Milwaukee conference and the Baltimore conference; food and other expenses associated with two forums, one in the fall and one in the spring, at which faculty and students will be invited to review and critique the archive. The forums will benefit broader faculty/student interaction, and encourage collaboration between faculty who study sexual violence and the student leaders who represent the many groups on grounds organized against it. The resulting dialog will be invaluable to the archive, as my student collaborators and I plan the public launch of the archive in the spring of 2016.

Proposed budget:

Travel for2student interns to attend Milwaukee conference (airfare, 2 nights hotel in shared room, meals (assumes NWSA waives conference fees) $1,500

Travel to Baltimore conference for 2 student interns and professor, including 1 night hotel stay $500

Food and other expenses associated with 2 forums, 1 each in fall and spring $1,000

TOTAL $3,000