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Undergraduate Program

Public Anthropology: Student Research

Disseminating Student Research

Since one of the primary goals of Public Anthropology is to produce knowledge through partnerships that benefit the people and communities involved, we try to disseminate the products of student research as widely as possible.

Lost Theatres of Somerville

In Spring 2002 and 2003, students in David Guss's seminar, "Theatres of Community," explored issues of place, community, and popular entertainment in urban settings. Coordinated by Tufts teaching assistant and graduate student Cathy Stanton, undergraduates partnered with students from Somerville High School under the direction of Joe Burke of the social studies department, to collect oral histories. These oral histories were used in a major exhibit at the Somerville Museum titled "Lost Theatres of Somerville" and curated by David Guss. View the website >

From Africa to Medford: The Untold Story

In Spring 2002, students in Rosalind Shaw's seminar, "Memories of the Slave Trade," worked with Medford High School students to create an exhibit on Medford's involvement in the Atlantic slave trade and New England slavery, and on the achievements of Medford's 18th century African American residents. This class was co-taught with Jay Griffin, President of the Medford Historical Society, in the Royall House Slave Quarters. Advisors from Medford's African American community met with the class to share their priorities for the exhibit. Titled "From Africa to Medford: The Untold Story," this exhibit was selected as a 2002 "Gold Star Project" by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. It was installed in the Royall House Slave Quarters and the Medford Historical Society Museum, and can now be viewed on the Medford Historical Society website.

Urban Borderlands: The Somerville/Cambridge Latino Community History Project

Shani Jordan-Goldman and Molly Hobey
create labels for 'From Africa to Medford'

Ariana Flores on WUMB

Faucenia Booker speaks at the West
Medford Afro-American Remembrance
Project community event, May 2006
Students in Deborah Pacini Hernandez' seminar, Urban Borderlands, can disseminate their research in several forms. At the end of the semester, all students present their research projects in a community forum. Their written reports are deposited in Tufts Digital Collections and Archives (DCA), where they can be accessed on the web. In addition to their written reports, students have explored media and technology to "double publish" their work. Students in the Fall 2003 class created multi-media "digital stories," while students in Fall 2004 and 2005 classes created web pages.

Students also avail themselves of other opportunities for disseminating their research. In 2003, for example, Urban Borderlands student Ariana Flores was interviewed about her research experiences on WUMB's Commonwealth Journal, while Sebastian Chaskel reported on his research on the transnational practice of the baile de los negritos at President Bacow's Civic Engagement Forum in Spring 2005.

Place, Race, and Memory: Remembering West Medford's African American Community

In 2005 and 2006, students in Rosalind Shaw's class, "Place, Race, and Memory" explored social memory through partnership with a community initiative, the West Medford Afro-American Remembrance project. Students documented the lives and legacies of African American pioneers through oral-historical interviews and through places and objects of memory. Students examined how broader historical processes structured by race were experienced in specific people's lives, and the "work" that memories of these processes and people perform today. This project formed the basis for an exhibit, titled "Place Race, and Memory," curated by Rosalind Shaw at the Medford Historical Society Museum, which opened in May 2006. In July 2006 the exhibit was reinstalled in a permanent location in the Medford Public Library. See the website here.

Oral Histories in the Tufts Digital Library

Tufts Digital Collections is currently digitizing audiotapes of the oral-historical interviews conducted by students in three Public Anthropology seminars — "Urban Borderlands," "Place, Race, Memory," and "Theatres of Community." A selection of these interviews will be made available in their entirety on line. This is part of a pilot program titled "Oral Histories in the Tufts Digital Library" supported by a Berger Family Grant.