Original articles by academic faculty, librarians and other researchers.


Librarians and History Instruction: Getting the Most Out of the One-shot Session

A recent discussion on H-HistBibl—the H-Net list for the Study and Practice of History Librarianship—asked two questions related to the American Historical Association’s Tuning Project [1]: how do history subject librarians teach research classes, and what is the most accurate way to describe the nature of the activity, for example, information literacy or research methodology. Because I have been thinking about these questions myself and reading up on history instruction [2], I replied with insights based on my experiences over the past five years as the history, political science, and government documents librarian at my university. My response, which I have expanded on here, focused on two broad areas, collaborating with instructors and planning class sessions.

Collaboration with Instructors
To get the best results from an instruction session, especially one that is less than an hour long, the librarian and instructor should meet at least one week prior to the class, either face to face or via email, to decide on what the research component(s) of the class will be. The syllabus should be available; otherwise, the instructor should provide a basic outline of what needs to be covered. This allows the librarian to look at not only the scope of the class and the resources being used (textbooks, articles, primary and secondary resources) but also what is expected from students during the quarter or semester, i.e., annotated bibliographies, mid-terms, final papers, or other assignments. It is also important to learn how many students will be attending the class.

Some things to be aware of as you are planning research sessions:

Librarians and History Instruction: Getting the Most Out of the One-shot Session


Pursuing Democracy: The First Hispanic Newspapers in the United States

In 1807, French intervention in Spain and Napoleon's puppet government in the Iberian Peninsula propelled many Hispanic intellectuals to the young American Republic. There, they translated into Spanish the U.S. Constitution and the ideas of Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe. These translations were published by early American printers in Philadelphia, and their own ideas about democracy were disseminated to Spanish-language newspapers published in New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and elsewhere. From the United States, the newspapers were often smuggled back to homelands across the Atlantic and the Caribbean. It was this publishing foundation that enabled the fathers of Spanish-American republics to interpret American liberalism and democracy, in order to envision what their own governments could and should become once independence was achieved.

Because Hispanic intellectuals often went into exile in New Orleans, Philadelphia and New York, early Hispanic newspapers were founded in those cities. The first Spanish-language newspaper published in the United States was El Misisipí, founded in New Orleans in 1808 to advocate the independence of the Spanish colonies in the New World. Likewise, the first newspaper to be issued in what is now the U.S. Southwest was La Gaceta de Texas (1813), which supported the independence of northern New Spain. Largely through such newspapers, patriots, founding fathers and philosophers from as far away as Buenos Aires and Lima participated in political movements from U.S. shores.

Pursuing Democracy: The First Hispanic Newspapers in the United States


Cultural Conflict and the Battle of the Sexes in Hispanic American Newspapers

Among the various types of writing in early-20th century Hispanic American immigrant newspapers was a genre essential in forming and reinforcing the attitudes of Hispanic communities. It was the crónica, or chronicle, a short, weekly column that humorously and satirically commented on current topics and social habits. In Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries, the crónica had already been cultivated extensively and had helped to define national identity over the course of the 19th century.

In America, however, the crónica came to serve purposes never imagined in Mexico or Spain. From Los Angeles to San Antonio and even up to Chicago, Mexican moralists assumed pseudonyms (in keeping with the tradition of the crónica) and, from this masked perspective, wrote scathing satirical commentaries in the first person. As witnesses to both American and Mexican culture, the cronistas were greatly influenced by popular jokes, anecdotes and speech, and in general, their columns were a mirror of the surrounding social environment.

Cronistas battled with religious fervor to protect Spanish language and Mexican culture against what they saw as Anglo Saxon immorality. This was done not from the bully pulpit but rather through sly humor and a burlesque of fictional characters.

Cultural Conflict and the Battle of the Sexes in Hispanic American Newspapers


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