Let’s Talk: Discussions among Historians and Archivists Regarding How to Preserve Women’s History Materials
Department of History
San Francisco State University
"Let's Talk: Initial Discussions Among Historians and Archivists Regarding how to Preserve Women’s History Materials”
Nupur Chadhuri, Betsy Perry, and I edited a collection of essays on women’s history methodologies (Contesting Archives: Finding Women in the Sources, 2010) that brought 15 historians together to ruminate on the diverse and innovative methodologies they developed in their work in women’s history. In this roundtable presentation, I will discuss the process of building community through the writing and editing of the volume and through conference panels that brought contributors together for more expansive dialogues. Our thinking about how to expand discussions about women’s history methodologies took a turn in April 2012, when we presented some of our research strategies at the California Association of Archivists meeting. We noted the many archival professionals who got up early that Saturday morning to hear a panel of historians speaking about a book they entitled Contesting Archives, which had not included the voice of a single archivist! During the discussion following our presentations, these professionals expressed their longing to find better ways to collect and catalog historical materials that could enrich the writings that women’s historians labor to publish. Their collegiality and enthusiasm convinced us that historians and archivists need to work together to help preserve women’s history sources and make them available for research.
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