Winter 2019 HC 431H: Touching Research: Adventures in the Archives

Winter Term, 2018-2019

Professor: Judith Raiskin

4.00 credits

CRN 23385: Tuesday & Thursday, 12:00 – 13:50 @ LIB 201

Research should be an immersive experience involving body, mind and spirit. This course will involve hands-on research projects in the University of Oregon Archives and Special Collections. Students will learn the methods of archival research, examining artifacts from two different collections: the Rajneesh Collection and the James Tiptree, Jr. Collection. Each student will choose which of the two archives to explore, bringing to their research the specific knowledge and questions from their own major field of study. Students will also learn how to locate and incorporate the most useful secondary research material (books, articles, documentaries) to augment their own findings. The course will involve both group and individual research and students may choose to present their research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in spring term. 

There are 10 collections housed at UO related to the Rajneesh community and the City of Rajneesh built in Eastern Oregon in the 1980s and contains artifacts, documents, legal and financial documents, architectural plans, press coverage, audio visual material and other fascinating “ephemera.” Students interested in religion, cults, legal issues, politics, terrorism, biology, crime, city planning, utopian communities, Oregon history and other issues would pursue their interests in this Collection. The James Tiptree, Jr. Collection houses material related to Alice B. Sheldon, pen name James Tiptree, Jr. (1915-1987), a much acclaimed science fiction author, publishing from 1968 to 1987. She was also briefly a painter, an art reviewer, a chicken farmer, and a CIA analyst. She earned a doctorate in experimental psychology, and corresponded with and reviewed the work of several well-known psychologists. This collection contains correspondence with other well-known writers such as Ursula Le Guin and Joanna Russ, drawings, manuscripts, and her writing, from childhood to her death. Students interested in literature, science fiction, African exploration in the early 20th century, psychology, gender and sexual identity, the CIA and other issues would be interested in this collection. 

Our class meetings will be held in Special Collections and will include working together in the Paulson Reading Room. Working in archives is a magical experience that we will share each class meeting with scholars who have traveled to Special Collections from around the world.