The US Latino Digital Humanities (USLDH) program serves as a venue for scholarship focused on the US Latino written legacy that has been lost, absent, repressed or underrepresented. The USLDH program provides a physical space for the development, support and training in digital humanities projects using a vast collection of newspapers, photographs and digital materials; creates opportunities and facilities for digital publication of Latino-based projects and scholarship; promotes and fosters interdisciplinary scholarly work; provides a communal virtual space to share knowledge and projects related to Latino digital humanities; and establishes a Latino digital humanities hub.
USLDH Best Practices
At the core of USLDH, we endeavor to incorporate these principles in all facets of our work.
The organizing principles of USLDH emerge from the first Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (Recovery) Conference at the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park on November 17-18, 1990 to research, preserve and make accessible the written culture produced by Latinos in the United States, from the sixteenth century explorations and settlements to the 1960s civil rights movements. Since its founding, Recovery has become somewhat of a sub-discipline for faculty, researchers and graduate students in Spanish, English, History and Ethnic Studies departments and programs throughout the United States. At many academic institutions, the program has been integrated in one form or another into the curriculum and into the research deemed as a legitimate area of research, to be respected for faculty evaluation and advancement. The program has become the focal point for scholars around the country and abroad interested in reconstituting the cultural and documentary history of Latinos, and for librarians and archivists eager to expand their collections to include the written legacy of Latinos, who now make up the largest minority group in the country.
To engage in discussions that not only would identify the US Hispanic documentary legacy that could be recovered, but also to design approaches and methods for locating, making accessible and studying the works. Moreover, for recovered Latino scholarship to be recognized as an important component of promotion and tenure, as well as canonical literature and histories.
We identify our scholars as Recovery scholars and recognize that Recovery has become somewhat of a sub-discipline for faculty, researchers and graduate students in Spanish, English, History and Ethnic Studies departments and programs throughout the United States. The Program and its resulting archive have been integrated in one form or another into the curriculum and into the research deemed as a legitimate area of research, to be respected for faculty evaluation and advancement.
Like the Recovery scholars who first created Recovery, USLDH aims to highlight and center Latina/o lives. By this we mean Latina/o communities, Latina/o intellectual production, including Latina/o scholarship and archival collections.
We acknowledge the role of Latina/o communities in knowledge production, nation building and community activism. Community members, as protectors of this knowledge, have cultivated and documented data to fight against the erasure of US Latina/o communities. We affirm this by actively nurturing ongoing relationships with the Latina/o community. We recognize the responsibility of Recovery scholars as intergenerational witnesses to Latina/o history.
We understand this archive as “an active space of exchange and ‘encuentro’ between the present and the past” (Cotera 489). We understand “encuentro” to mean a communal encounter or interactive conversation that does not replicate traditional archival tendencies to own collections and speak on behalf of others. Our relationship to the post-custodial archive is an active discourse that involves maintaining an ongoing conversation with the donor, processing the collection, creating digital surrogates, returning the collection to the donor along with a digital copy and, if the donor wishes, making the collection publicly available.
USLDH seeks to foster a space of collegiality and respect by creating physical and virtual spaces for training, mentorship and internship opportunities to extend the knowledge production of recovered Latina/o archives. Our community of practitioners and scholars include K-12 students and educators; college and university students, faculty and staff; independent scholars; and community members. By producing experiences to collaboratively work with the archive, USLDH affirms the humanity of Latina/o archives and works to preserve and sustain this legacy.
USLDH recognizes the importance of crediting all forms of contribution (donors, collection producers, authors, research fellows, volunteers, interns, faculty and staff) by acknowledgement and attribution. We insist that collaborators and contributors abide by our ethics of care for the materials and the people they represent.
These principles are inspired by Colored Convention Principles, along with the following:
Baeza Ventura, Gabriela, Nicolás Kanellos and Carolina Villarroel. “Twenty-Five Years of Recovering Our Written Legacy” in Writing/Righting History: Twenty-Five Years of Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage. Edited by Antonia Castañeda and Clara Lomas. Houston, Arte Público Press, 2020, 5-18.
Cotera, María. “Nuestra Autohistoria: Toward a Chicana Digital Praxis.” American Quarterly 70, no. 3 (2018): 489. https://doi.org/10.1353/aq.2018.0032.