It is a pleasure for me to participate in this year’s Six-Shooters Lightning Round. I am the Borderlands Curator and Associate Librarian at the University of Arizona Libraries’ Special Collections. We’re located in beautiful Tucson, Arizona just 90 miles from the U.S. – Mexico border. I work with faculty and students across disciplines in using special collections materials and engage with the community through donor relations and events highlighting the archive’s rich holdings on the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. I’ve written and presented on incorporating archives-based research into the curriculum, newspaper digitization, and the archives of Mexican American literary authors.
As for my six minutes, six slides, I’ll be presenting on The Documented Border Archive. The project is an interdisciplinary effort to advance understanding about the U.S. – Mexico border and its peoples during a period of unprecedented change. A unique aspect of the project is that it is a living archive. Archives struggle to include the voices of underrepresented communities. The Documented Border collects, preserves, and affords access to just such voices for study and research, now and in the future. The genesis of the project involved Drs. Celeste Gonzalez de Bustamante and Jeannine Relly from The School of Journalism; Fine Arts faculty, Lawrence Gipe; and Borderlands Curator Verónica Reyes-Escudero, Special Collections, University of Arizona Libraries.
Currently, the archive content takes two forms: interviews and images. Interviews include Mexican and U.S. journalists who cover northern Mexico and human rights activists dedicated to improving freedom of expression. Journalists discuss kidnapping attempts, threats of violence, and lack of security and freedom of expression, in some cases, leading to self-censorship. The archive also contains a collection of sketches of migrants sentenced in federal immigration court under “Operation Streamline.” These are some of the only visual representations of these proceedings, as cameras are forbidden in all federal courts, putting a face to migrant deportations.