Step 5: Consider Emotions and Ethics
An overhead transparency used by Gloria Anzaldúa in her teaching. From the Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa Papers. Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.
Looking at images, documents, and videos from women's human rights struggles can be an emotionally challenging experience. It might make you feel inspired and committed, or powerless and numb. You might find it helpful to talk to others about your experiences, to write in a journal, or to take a break and focus on something else.
Archival research also has an ethical component. Is there a way for you to be in dialogue with the speakers in the archives rather than just viewing them as objects of study? As you conduct your research and frame an argument, it can be helpful to think about these questions:
- What were the creator's historical and cultural contexts?
- What were the steps between the creation of this material and my viewing of it?
- What materials are absent from this collection? What stories are not told?
- What responsibilities do I have in representing this collection in my work?
Archival research on women's human rights can be challenging, but extremely rewarding. Good luck in the archives!