Tarez Samra Graban and Wendy Hayden, "Teaching Through the Archives: Text, Collaboration, and Activism" (Southern Illinois UP, 2022)


Archives are much more than silent repositories of historical material. They are rich sites for teaching and learning, for collaboration and for creative and critical exploration of our past, present and future. In their new book, Teaching through the Archives: Text, Collaboration, and Activism (Southern Illinois University Press, 2022), Tarez Samra Graban and Wendy Hayden bring together 37 contributors to explore the many possible uses of archival collections in the teaching of writing and history and in generating scholarly collaboration, pedagogical experimentation and community building within and beyond the university.

Section I focuses on how approaching the archive primarily as text fosters habits of mind essential for creating and using archives, for critiquing or inventing knowledge-making practices, and for being good stewards of private and public collections.

Section II argues for conducting archival projects as collaboration through experiential learning and for developing a preservationist consciousness through disciplined research.

Section III details praxis for revealing, critiquing, and intervening in historic racial omissions and gaps in the archives.

The book’s contributors see archives as sites of activism, as places where students can develop critical skills, test and question established research methodologies while also learning to appreciate the specialist knowledge of archivists.

Educators in disciplines including rhetoric and composition, literature, history and archival studies will find many inspiring ideas in this book. While the chapters offer university-based case studies, many of the ideas could also be adapted to the secondary classroom and to non-institutional educational settings.

In this episode, Alice Garner interviews Tarez Graban about the genesis of the book, the important lessons and possibilities she and Wendy Hayden sought to draw out from the contributors’ research, as well as Dr Graban’s recent work in transnational and postcolonial Southern African archival research and repatriation.

More on the editors:

Tarez Samra Graban, associate professor in the English department at Florida State University, is the author of Women’s Irony: Rewriting Feminist Rhetorical Histories and coauthor of GenAdmin: Theorizing WPA Identities in the Twenty-First Century.

Wendy Hayden, associate professor at Hunter College, CUNY, is the author of Evolutionary Rhetoric: Sex, Science, and Free Love in Nineteenth-Century Feminism.

Alice Garner is a historian, teacher and performer with a PhD from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

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Alice Garner

Alice Garner is a historian, teacher and performer with a PhD from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

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