The Recuperation of Historical Memory in the Iberian Peninsula: Social Media as Resistance
The recent upsurge in the recovery of bodies from mass graves (circa 2000-present) dating back to the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) has unearthed forcibly repressed memories from one of Spain’s most violent and oppressive periods: Francisco Franco’s dictatorship (1939-1975). With the enactment of the Historical Memory Law by Parliament in 2007, the Spanish public now has a legal channel through which they can exhume mass graves from the War and postwar, but the job of locating and recovering bodies of victims continues to fall on autonomous communities and private entities. The lack of a state-sponsored exhumation of mass graves after the dictatorship has created a void in collective memory. I argue that the disinterment process acts as a catalyst for the rebuilding of suppressed or unexplored sentiments silenced by a fascist dictatorship and, later, through the transition to a democratic government. The large corpus of digital and social media on the Web pertaining to the recuperation of historical memory demonstrates how present-day Spaniards continue to grapple with events stemming from the dictatorship. Digital media and its various modes of dissemination encourage the constant updating of information and provides producers of digital materials and users of social networking sites (“Facebook,” “Twitter,” “YouTube,” “Flickr”) the means to constantly renew conversations about the recuperation efforts. By cyclically publishing digital texts online that show the rituals and commemorations pertaining to the ongoing reburials, contemporary Spaniards keep the physical sites of memory alive by broadcasting the repeated rituals of exhumation and inhumation as the identification of remains continue. Blogging, website building, and participating in social media circles generates local and regional online communities centered around memorial rites. Digital productions (photographs, videos, social networks) allow communities of survivors—both physical and virtual communities—to highlight the process of locating the disappeared. The consideration of different genres and modes of representation surface a pattern of ritualistic practices that advances from the search for the missing, to the exhumation process, leading to the reburials and culminating in commemorations honoring the victims. The array of multimedia elements containing rituals of reburial and commemoration disseminated through the Web give a polyphonic voice to community efforts. Geographic Information Systems (GIS)—also referred to as digital mapping platforms—lend the ability to layer a variety of multimedia elements onto a digital cartographic interface. Thick mapping efforts convert a purely geographic space into a place by imbuing the topography with memories and histories. This presentation will also discuss how “Virtual Cartographies” (http://www.virtualcartographies.com/) layers data acquired from the Spanish Ministry of Justice of mass grave locations alongside a robust collection of multimedia texts directly related to specific gravesites in order to give depth to spaces of mourning and share ritualistic practices. The deep layering of multimedia elements lends insights into the histories surrounding the topography. By inscribing gravesite locations with the testimonies, videos, narratives, articles, radio program, social network groups, etc. about the exhumations, “Virtual Cartographies” contributes a thick map that provides a framework for analyzing the exhumations and mourning rituals.
Wendy Kurtz (University of California Los Angeles, Gale)
Digitizing and Uncovering the West Texas Chicana/o Civil Rights Movement
Chicana/o Activism in the Southern Plains Through Time and Space, a digital history project displayed at PlainsMovement.com. Constructed using Omega and Neatline, this project operates as a platform through which both scholars and the wider public can find an interactive map and timeline along with an online collection of materials regarding the Texas plains (or West Texas) Chicana/o Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Importantly, the project’s timeline reveals how and why the Chicana/o Movement emerged in West Texas. The earliest events that are clearly part of the movement were student led and aimed at attaining educational equity. The time frame of the West Texas Chicana/o student movement coincided with global student uprisings that spanned Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Moreover, the first national meeting of El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (The Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán) was hosted by Texas Tech University atavists in the middle of the plains in 1971. The meeting indicates that the plains’ students were leaders within the larger Chicana/o Movement. They were active in bringing together the far-flung, localized student wing of the Chicana/o Movement. However, the digital history project reveals that instances of police brutality were the principal events that spurred the plains’ Chicana/o Movement. The most active years in regards to protests by a wide range of the region’s Mexican population were precisely the years when the most cases of police killings of ethnic Mexican men occurred. Instances of police brutality united the region’s Mexican population across political ideology. More mainstream social justice organizations like the American G.I. Forum, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the League of United Latin American Citizens joined Chicana/o activists, especially the Brown Berets, in protests across the Southern Plains. On the plains, Nick Hernández, a leader of the Odessa, Texas Brown Berets that participated in Chicana/o Movement throughout the Southern Plains, noted that his hometown’s anti-police brutality wave of activism “turned this city around, I mean it just went from A to Z…you know…everything....Hispanics started getting some respect, harassment slowed down. There is still a lot of it out there, but it’s not like it used to be.” The project centers around an approachable interactive map and timeline along with a curated collection of materials. Therefore, the project provides a digital museum experience that has not emerged within the region’s museums. The project adds to both scholarly and socially significant conversations, showing that the region was home to a burgeoning wing of the Chicana/o Movement and that instances of police brutality largely spurred this wing of the social justice movement. Moreover, the curated collection of materials demonstrates that police brutality united the plains’ Mexican population across political ideology, a largely overlooked aspect within the study of Mexican American civil rights movements. Such a finding can be of use today since contemporary Latina/o social justice organizations generally ignore policing issues even amid a rise in the national awareness regarding police abuse.
Joel Zapata (University of Texas El Paso)
GitAnnotated: Creating a Digital Annotated Bibliography on GitHub
Librarians are experts at helping the individual move from where they are to where they want to be in terms of knowledge and access. While this can be transformative work, it is based in pragmatism in that it continues to use the status quo as a map for these journeys. For academia, the status quo is often shaped in the traditional classroom. Librarians have an opportunity to impact this status quo when they are invited for instructional purposes. These opportunities for librarians are critical as this may be the only time the librarians are able to work with a large number of students at once. However, librarians are rarely taught how to teach or introduced to pedagogy in their MLS coursework. They must learn to teach from trial and error; and pedagogy is a difficult area to learn without a theoretical or conceptual background, not to mention the increased struggle to apply it into praxis. Further, pedagogy specifically designed for librarianship can be harder to find and can increase frustration when librarians may simply be trying to find an answer to: “How can I just deliver more information in a more engaging manner in such a short time.” In answer to these difficulties, the resulting project aims to provide three outcomes: 1) a bibliography of pedagogical resources that directly combine literacy, pedagogy, philosophy, and theory for the LIS profession; 2) annotations that allow librarians to quickly understand how it may relate to their context; and 3) promote wider access of these topics within the academic librarian community. The project, pedagogies4liaisons, is a digital annotated bibliography hosted on GitHub that contains resources on pedagogy topics. This projected originated from an annotated bibliography that included resources for self-directed learning in pedagogy and theory for librarianship. As more resources were added, the increased complexity required a richer environment for documenting, organizing, and sharing this information. Using Github, the presenters were able to create a website that could support additions to the bibliography while also providing a mechanism for others to collaborate. The project is an example of reconfigured, participatory knowledge production through the digitization of traditional academic scholarship. It also represents a learning and collaborative experience for both contributors that illustrates the intentions of the project itself. In this presentation, we’ll discuss the impetus of the project, the considerations for its digital shape, and how the project was executed by the team members. Ms. Henson will present on the challenges she faced while working on this project. This project was her first digital scholarship experience, requiring her to learn markdown in the process. Ms. Andrews will present on the methods used to organize the files and code necessary for building the bibliography and project site.
Brea Henson (University of North Texas)
Pamela Andrews (Tarrant County College)