“We Also Built Stockton”: Project Update 3

I have begun to build my education project for digital history in Omeka: http://jenniferhelgren.com/digitalnarratives/exhibits/show/immigrantwomeninstockton

At present, I have written an introduction to the Stockton Immigrant Women’s interviews with an overview of the topic.  A challenge for me is ensuring I have provided enough information without overdoing it.  I am trying to use the Bracero Archive’s sparse background as a model.  I still plan to add excerpts from 2 or 3 interviews to the opening.

I have added the learning outcomes. I have also added two activities, one on image analysis and one on oral history analysis.  Both of these sections are still being developed.  The analyzing oral history section will have a sample interview.

My intended audience is my students in U.S. women’s history. The secondary audience is colleagues who teach women’s history or history of California.  I am writing the webpage directly to students; instructors can easily adapt the materials.

The purpose of the website is to enable students to develop skills related to analysis of primary sources in oral history and to deepen their understanding of US immigration history in the mid to late 20th century. 

The learning outcomes are: “After completing these lessons, students will be able to work with oral history interviews and”

  1. build historical knowledge about women immigrants to the United States in the mid-20th century.
  2. evaluate oral history as evidence and describe how various factors shape the presentation of the self in interviews.
  3. identify ethical considerations regarding the collection and uses of oral histories.
  4. characterize immigrant women’s choices and why they made them.
  5. describe past events from multiple perspectives.
  6. revise commonplace narratives when new evidence is presented
  7. apply historical knowledge and historical thinking to contemporary issues.

One challenge is that loading the separate interviews with the metadata for each is tedious. Omeka does not allow the user to mass-populate the data fields even when they are the same for multiple entries.  This will take a good amount of time.  The other challenge here is that I need to read the interviews to provide the description in the metadata.  So far, I have read ten interviews, so I will start with those.

Another challenge is picking the interview I wish to highlight.  Many are quite long. (The longest is over 80 pages!) I will not have time in the summer session to read them all, so I am guessing which ones will have the content most important to demonstrating unique themes in late 20th-century women’s immigration experiences.

My plans for the next steps:

  1. Build the collection into a gallery with all 54 interviews (I have added 4) and their metadata
  2. Develop a bibliography and revise the introductory remarks (currently based on Miller’s essay) according to newer research: especially Ruiz, E. Lee, Yung, Wallis.
  3. Highlights between 2-3 interviews in the background.
  4. Include one or two recordings of women’s voices if available (for Vu excerpt; Ball; and at least one other).
  5. Look in Sally Miller’s emeriti interview for information about the Stockton Project.
  6. Add gender to analysis question to the opening.
  7. Add questions to image at airport that prod students to think about what they can decipher from an image when they don’t know the precise location, the photographer, or the people in it.  Where might the picture be located? Where are the people heading? Who might have taken the photograph, and why might they have taken it?

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