Workshop: Introduction to Using Digital Tools in Recovery Research

laptop on left, open notebook on right

University of Houston Downtown
Thursday, February 20, 2020
Instructors: Gabriela Baeza Ventura, PhD; Carolina Villarroel, PhD, CA and Lorena Gauthereau, PhD

This workshop explores analog and digital methodologies to create scholarship and knowledge around the experiences of US Latinas/os. This workshop will provide an overview of how to use US Latina/o archival material to create digital projects and assignments in order to contest the historical record. Drawing from the rich collections at the University of Houston’s Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage, we will demonstrate free, easy-to-use software that can be used to create historical timelines, online exhibits of historical photographs/documents and dynamic story maps. We will emphasize methodologies that center US Latina/o experiences and ask participants to consider how the digital space can function as a site of resistance.

Some of the questions that this workshop will include, but are not limited to are the following:

  • How to identify materials for future projects (research, copyright issues, etc.)?
  • How do we create meaningful and respectful data?
  • How do we work with the community owners of the knowledge?
  • How do we create knowledge and scholarship based on these materials?
  • How do we engage local communities?

Participants will take part in a guided activity in which they brainstorm potential digital projects and assignments based on their own research interests. Participants will leave the workshop with knowledge of how to use Recovery’s databases, a list of digital resources, a digital bibliography, a list of free software and draft idea for a potential digital project. No prior technical knowledge is required in this course. Anyone with an interest in US Latina/o studies and digital studies is welcome. Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops. Computers will not be provided.

This course is based on the work of the University of Houston’s Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage and the US Latino Digital Humanities programs located at the University of Houston.

Sign up for workshop by clicking here.

  • Conference participants $20
  • Non-conference participants $50

Spaces are limited. Deadline to sign up: February 14, 2019.

#GivingTuesday

Two hands holding a small gift wrapped in red and white holiday wrapping paper

If you missed #GivingTuesday, don’t worry–it’s not too late to donate to Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage and Arte Público Press!

Your donations help to support our mission to further children’s literacy, create materials for education at all levels and promote Latino culture as part of the national identity of the United States. Your donation is entirely tax-deductible.

You can donate by visiting the University of Houston College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences (CLASS) donation page at https://giving.uh.edu/class/.

Use the drop down menu under “I would like to make a gift to benefit the following:” to select Arte Público Press and enter a dollar amount. If you would like to further designate this gift specifically for Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (Recovery) or the US Latino Digital Humanities program (USLDH), please do so in the text box.

Opportunities: Grants and Postdoc Fellowship

Thanks to generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of Houston’s Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage is offering two opportunities: 7 Grants-in-aid and 1 Postdoctoral Fellowship in Digital Humanities.

Grants-in-Aid

The Mellon-funded Grants-in-Aid program is designed to provide a stipend to scholars for research and development of digital scholarship in the form of a digital publication and/or a digital project. The grant covers any expense connected with research that will advance a project to the next stage or to a successful conclusion.

Scholars at different stages of their careers (Academics, librarians, advanced graduate students, independent scholars, etc.) are encouraged to apply for a stipend of up to $7,500 for investigative work. Grantees are expected to budget for a 2-day trip to Houston for in-person training at Recovery. We welcome applications in one of the following areas:

  • Identification, location and recovery of any wide variety of historical documents and/or literary genres, including conventional literary prose and poetry, and such forms as letters, diaries, memoirs, testimonials, periodicals, historical records and written expressions of oral traditions, folklore and popular culture. Any documents that could prove relevant to the goals of the program will also be considered. The emphasis is on works by Mexican/Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Spanish, Central and South American and other Latina/o residents of what has become the United States, from the Colonial period to 1980.
  • We especially encourage projects highlighting US Latina voices.
  • Bibliographic compilations, indexing projects pertaining to any of the above. Compilation of reference works, e.g. bibliographic dictionaries, thematic datasets, linguistic corpus, etc.
  • Study of recovered primary source(s) for potential digital publication, including: text analysis, thematic dataset creation, visualization, etc.

To apply, please submit a letter of interest, project description (2-3 pages), proposed budget (include 2-day visit to Houston), CV and 2 letters of recommendation via email to recovery@uh.edu by December 20, 2019.

Read more about the Grants-in-Aid program on our website by clicking here.

Postdoctoral Fellowship in US Latino Digital Humanities

The application period is now open for a two-year Mellon-funded postdoctoral fellowship in US Latino Digital Humanities (USLDH), a division of Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage program (Recovery) at the University of Houston. The program is looking for a recent (less than 5 years) Ph.D. graduate with background expertise in US Latino Studies. The postdoctoral fellow will help re-vision new strategies for data hosted at Recovery in support of teaching, research and community engagement and help to develop initiatives that will enhance collections and scholarship in the field. USLDH will provide the selected candidate with the necessary training in digital tools, metadata and digitization standards, project and content management systems and platforms. The fellow will be expected to create and publish a significant DH project using Recovery’s archives, assist with instruction, support projects and scholars, serve as a mentor for Research Fellows, lead workshops and collaborate in the creation and implementation of toolkits and other pedagogical tools. The postdoctoral fellow will give one university-wide presentation per year at the University of Houston and will have opportunities to teach courses or be invited as a lecturer at partner departments.

Apply online through the UH Job Portal. View full job posting and apply online at by clicking here.

Deadline: December 20, 2019.


U.S. Latino Digital Humanities Program to Launch at UH with Mellon Foundation Grant

A $750,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has been awarded to the University of Houston to establish a first-of-its-kind U.S. Latino Digital Humanities Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Read the complete news release here: U.S. Latino Digital Humanities Program to Launch at UH with Mellon Foundation Grant

Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (Recovery) has digitized hundreds of thousands of documents once at risk of being lost forever — from books and newspapers to manuscripts and personal papers — and made them available for international distribution.

Museum Survey

Map of the US Southwest that displays pinned locations of institutions that contain Hispanic archival materials

Over the course of the twentieth century, commensurate with the growth of the Latino population, many local libraries, historical societies, small museums and collections within colleges and universities in the Southwest have become repositories of Hispanic/Latino materials. However, these valuable collections are not well documented and, in some cases, there is risk of damage to the collections. This is largely due to the lack of adequate resources and training at these institutions, both large and small, such that these materials are often held in below standard conditions and are unknown to the scholarly community potentially interested in them.

In 2017-2018, Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage conducted a survey of small historical societies, libraries and museums in the Southwest that might hold Hispanic archival materials and to assess how they were preserved and made accessible. The survey results were published on Recovery’s website to serve as a guide to Hispanic materials at small institutions.

The final phase of the project involved inviting personnel from these small institutions to a meeting to offer us feedback and other projects that could plan out a larger, second project and to offer basic training to the personnel at these collections, to help stabilize the collections and make them accessible.

In summary 358 surveys were distributed. Of these, 59 were completed and returned. This effort was followed up with phone and email contacts to 36 institutions. Of the final list of 36 organizations reporting fully, we invited 18 to come to Houston for a full-day conference; of these 8 attended and participated in the conference. The final “Guide” published on Recovery’s website includes the full report of holdings of these institutions, the types of institutions and their needs; in these, there was a considerable amount of Hispanic archival materials identified, so as to justify the need for this project.

On Friday April 27, 2018, we brought in the historical society directors to the University of Houston to give us feedback, receive some training and plan the next steps.

Nicolás Kanellos, Ph. D.
Brown Foundation Professor of Hispanic Studies
Director, Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage

To view the digital project, please visit: Survey of Small Historical Societies, Libraries and Museums for Hispanic Materials and Their Management

Nuestra Historia: Alonso S. Perales Exhibit

On May 14, 2019, in a collaboration between the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council 60, the University of Houston’s Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage/Arte Público Press, and SERJobs, members of the community gathered to celebrate the launch of the Alonso S. Perales Digital Archive. Among those in attendance was Perales’ daughter, Marta Perales Carrizales. This digital archive marks the first digitized collection on the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Archives site.

Alonso S. Perales was one of the most prominent US Civil rights leaders of the twentieth century. He was born in Alice, Texas in 1898. Perales served in the US Army during World War I. After his military service, he attended college and law school at the National University (which later became George Washington University). Upon receiving his law degree, Perales became only the third Mexican American to practice law in Texas (Olivas xi). Perales dedicated his life to Mexican American civil rights and empowering the working-class community through knowledge and education. In 1929, Perales co-founded of the League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC)–the first nationwide Mexican American civil rights organization, not to mention the largest and oldest US Latino political association. He served as the second LULAC national president from 1930 to 1931 (xiv). In addition to his work in the United States, Perales served as Nicaraguan Consul General for twenty-five years and as counsel to the Nicaraguan delegation to the United Nations in 1945. In addition, he helped draft the original Charter of the United Nations. Perales authored Are We Good Neighbors and two volumes of En defensa de mi raza. His writing stressed the need for anti-discrimination legislation and civil activism for the Latino community.

Alonso S. Perales Collection

The Alonso S. Perales Collection is Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage’s flagship online digital archive. In 2009, Marta Perales Carrizales and Raymond Perales donated their father’s extensive personal papers to the University of Houston’s Recovery Program. This collection, which measures over 40 linear feet, contains correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, civil rights writings, and foundational documents related to LULAC. The online digital collection includes a large sampling of these documents. To facilitate accessibility, the digital documents include full-text transcriptions and bilingual keywords for searches. In the future, more US Latino digital archives will be added to the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections (available at: usldhrecovery.uh.edu). The original Alonso S. Perales Papers are housed at the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections.

Are We Good Neighbors? Mapping Discrimination Against Mexican Americans in 1940s Texas

Screenshot of Are We Good Neighbors? : Mapping Discrimination Against Mexican Americans in 1940s Texas. https://arcg.is/1C1bbv

Perales’ activism also included the empowerment of his community. He urged people to publicly share experiences of discrimination, including the names and addresses of businesses where they were refused service. Many of the testimonies sworn to him in his capacity as Notary Public appeared in his book, Are We Good Neighbors?

The digital mapping project, Are We Good Neighbors?, uses the information in these testimonials to locate these incidents on a map in an attempt to reveal the embodiment of racism. One after another, these accounts tell stories of everyday life: going out for dinner with family, spending time with friends, looking for employment, or moving to a new house. Yet, for people of Mexican descent, these activities were marked by disgust, hatred, shame, and even violence. This project highlights the personal history of racism, one that takes place in our own neighborhoods to real people, rather than distanced through abstract statistics.

Twitter: @AlonsoSPerales

The Alonso S. Perales Collection Twitter Bot (@AlonsoSPerales) also strives to bring attention to his activism. This Twitter account automatically posts quotations (in English and Spanish) from Perales’ writing and allows his voice to continue to advocate for education, equality, and justice.

The Perales Collection is extremely important for our understanding of the historical trajectory of US Latinx civil rights. The documents in this collection reveal the ways our community refused to remain silent, even in the face of persecution. Civil rights leaders such as Perales fought for justice long before the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. The history embedded in this collection is not readily available in K-12 history books. We hope that digital projects such as these can empower our community through education and help Latina/o/x schoolchildren see themselves reflected in US history in a positive light.

Organizers

LULAC is the largest and oldest Hispanic Organization the United States. LULAC advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 1,000 LULAC councils nationwide.

Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (“Recovery”) is an international program at the University of Houston dedicated to locating, preserving, and disseminating Hispanic cultural documents of the United States written since colonial times until 1980. Recovery in the premier center for research on Latino documentary history in the United States.

Arte Público Press is the oldest and largest Hispanic publisher in the United States. Established in 1979, it is the principal provider of cultural materials on Latino life in the United States for general and educational audiences.

SERJobs is a nonprofit community organization that educates and equips people in the Texas Gulf Coast Region who come from low-income backgrounds or who have significant barriers to employment.

Further Reading

Olivas, Michael A. (ed.) In Defense of My People: Alonso S. Perales and the Development of Mexican-American Public Intellectuals. Arte Público Press, 2012.

Orozco, Cynthia E. No Mexicans, Women, or Dogs Allowed: The Rise of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. University of Texas Press, 2009.

Saldaña, Hector. “Unsung Hero of Civil Rights: ‘Father of LULAC’ A Fading Memory.” Practicing Texas Politics, 2013.

Sloss Vento, Adela. Alonso S. Perales: His Struggle for the Rights of the Mexican American. Artes Gráficas, 1977.

Welcome, Volunteers

Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (Recovery) welcomes its newest volunteers, María Borjas and Sonia Del Hierro.

María is a University of Houston undergraduate, majoring in Psychology.

Sonia is a Rice University doctoral graduate student in the Department of English.

Bienvenidas y gracias!

Call for Abstracts: XV Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Conference

Histories and Cultures of Latinas: Suffrage, Activism and Women’s Rights

February 20-22, 2020
University of Houston
Houston, Texas

The XV Recovery conference will convene in Houston from February 20 to 22, 2020 to continue the legacy of scholars meeting to discuss and present their research. The conference theme invites scholars—including archivists, librarians, linguists, historians, critics, theorists and community members–to share examples of the cultural legacy they are recovering, preserving and making available about the culture of the Hispanic world whose peoples resided here, immigrated to or were exiled in the United States over the past centuries. This conference foregrounds the work of Latinas that focuses on women’s rights, suffrage and education as we usher in a new phase of feminist critical genealogies. We seek papers, panels and posters in either English or Spanish that highlight these many contributions, but also offer us critical ways to rethink issues of agency, gender, sexualities, race/ethnicity, class and power. Of particular interest are presentations about digital humanities scholarship, methods and practices on these themes.   

The end date for Recovery research and themes will now be 1980 in order to give scholars, archivists, linguists and librarians the stimulus needed to begin recovering the documentary legacy of the 1960s and 1970s, which is fast disappearing. We encourage papers or panels that make use of archival research that provokes a revision of established literary interpretations and/or historiographies. Papers or posters on locating, preserving and making accessible movement(s) documents generated by Latinas and Latinos in those two decades will be welcome. Studies on the following themes, as manifested before 1960, will be welcome:

  • Digital Humanities
  • Analytical studies of recovered authors and/or texts
  • Critical, historical and theoretical approaches to recovered texts    
  • Curriculum development: Integrating recovered texts into teaching at university and K-12 levels
  • Religious thought and practice
  • Folklore/oral histories
  • Historiography
  • Language, translation, bilingualism and linguistics
  • Library and information science
  • Social implications, cultural analyses
  • Collections and archives: accessioning and critical archive studies    
  • Documenting the long road/struggle toward equality
  • 1960-1980 only movement(s)-related research 

Additionally, XV Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Conference will offer two US Latino Digital Humanities (USLDH; #usLdh) pre-conference workshops open to conference attendees and members of the public. The workshop themes are: 1) Using Recovery archives for traditional scholarship and 2) Introduction to Digital Humanities. Pre-registration is required, a limited number of scholarships may be available. We welcome general audiences including undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate students are encouraged to submit proposals for poster presentations. 

Submit your 250-word abstract for papers/posters and vitae by email to recovery@uh.edu by SEPTEMBER 30. (Deadline extended)

For details, email us at recovery@uh.edu 

To download the PDF, click here.

University of Houston, Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage
4902 Gulf Fwy., Bldg. 19, Room 100 – Houston, TX 77204-2004 

Sergio Troncoso introduces Arte Público Press

On March 14, 2019, Arte Público Press (APP) received the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandroff Lifetime Achievement Award in New York City. This is the transcript of the introductory speech by author, Sergio Troncoso.

Arte Público Press has taken up as their difficult task to make a community visible that has been, relatively speaking, invisible, certainly at many of the expensive offices of the publishing world in New York. Arte Público is—as you know—the oldest and largest publisher of Latino literature in the United States. Since Dr. Nicolás Kanellos founded Arte Público in Houston in 1979, what has mattered is that the struggle to create relevant, high-quality work by Latino authors and for the Latino community is now more important than ever.

With about thirty books published every year, Arte Público is at once creating the future as well as preserving the past. For example, the press has focused on linking to schools to recognize Latino literary creativity: it is the largest licensor of literary materials to textbooks in the United States for the Hispanic market, and its imprint, Piñata Books, focuses on literature for children and young adults. Arte Público also conducts the largest program to recover all documents and books written by Latinos from the 16th Century to 1960, with the project “Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage.”

You want the largest minority in the United States to read? Well, you better start focusing on writers who know the many variations of the Latino community and you need to start publishing and promoting these writers. Arte Público has been doing that for decades.

You want to get majority audiences to consider ‘Latino literature’ as quintessentially ‘American literature,’ the literature of the outsider and of immigrants, the literature of multilingual communities, the literature of civil rights and of finding a home in a strange new world? Well, you better start reaching into schools and communities so that the stereotypes of what people think about the United States-Mexico border, for example—in Fargo, North Dakota or on Manhattan’s Upper East Side—are upended by great books that encourage you to think, encourage to consider these new, often young communities as groups of Americans trying to make it here just as your ancestors once did. Yes, Arte Público has been in the empathy business fighting for Latinos before most of us in this room became writers.

Pat Mora, Luis Valdez, Manuel Ramos, Nicholasa Mohr, Miguel Piñero, Américo Paredes, Sandra Cisneros, Graciela Limón, Luis Leal, Nina Jaffe, Rolando Hinojosa, Lyn Di Iorio, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Diane Gonzales Bertrand, Miguel Algarín, and so many more Arte Público authors have sold tens of thousands of books and won hundreds of awards. Arte Público has been introducing, creating, and expanding this Latino literary landscape for all of us.

My own experience with Arte Público is that Director Nicolás Kanellos is a committed scholar of all things Latino, an advocate for his authors, and a tough negotiator. I actually enjoyed the give-and-take with Nick, who is the heart and soul of Arte Público. Yes, the warm and fuzzy feelings of finding a home for my book of essays, Crossing Borders, and my novel, The Nature of Truth, and my international anthology of essays, Our Lost Border, all of these feelings were there. But more importantly, I knew as a writer that they understood what I was doing on the page, they understood the readers I wanted to reach, they cared about the many communities I wanted to change. In short, Arte Público has had the same mission that I’ve always had: they want to give voice to those who want in to this American experiment, and they want to do it so that these voices are authentic and true to the people in places like Ysleta in El Paso, Texas or El Barrio of Spanish Harlem.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention two of my other favorite people at Arte Público: Assistant Director Marina Tristan and Executive Editor Gabriela Baeza. Both are at the center of what makes Arte Público thrive in the literary trenches. As an author at Arte Público, you know it’s about connecting with readers, and this all starts with connecting with the people who are publishing your book. At every stage of the publishing process, this personal attention is what turns your book into something much more than a commodity to make some money or a marketing plan to cover the huge overhead of offices on Broadway: with Marina and Gabi, your book becomes well-crafted words to reach and advance a community you love: a work of art that matters. Arte Público. That’s why I published with them, and that’s why I am proud that Arte Público is the recipient of the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award.

Arte Público Press Receives NBCC Award: Acceptance Speech Transcript

Photography: Paper Monday

On March 14, 2019, Arte Público Press (APP) received the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandroff Lifetime Achievement Award in New York City. This is the transcript of the acceptance speech by the APP director and founder, Nicolás Kanellos, and the management team, Gabriela Baeza Ventura, Nellie González, Marina Tristan, and Carolina Villarroel.

NK:           When we founded Arte Público Press forty years ago, we envisioned it as part of the public art movement. Our books would draw from and give back to the community, reflecting its art, history and culture as well as its problems, like the muralists were doing. That is why some of our initial book covers, such as for The House on Mango Street, were commissioned to muralists.

MPT:        Like the mural walls, our pages would help to make our people visible, announcing we are here, we have always been here and we have always contributed to life and culture in the United States. From the start, we were inclusive of all Latino ethnicities, religions and genders, and sought to combat stereotypes while inserting ourselves into the national identity. As we grew, the mural became a mosaic with each book becoming an individual tile in a large spectrum of varied images.

 NG:          Like our writers, we are mostly children of the working class, the children of citizens, of families that have been here since before the founding of the United States.

NK:           I was an assembly line worker and a shipping clerk weaving my box-laden dolly through Seventh Avenue traffic in the garment district during the 1960s. Others come from humble backgrounds, doing domestic work, farm work and other manual labor.

CV:           We are the people selling the morning newspaper but never appearing in it, the men and women washing dishes and waiting tables but never savoring the meals; we are among the crowds on city sidewalks who individually remain invisible, never thought of as writers and artists. It matters not that we are descendants of original settlers, intermarried with indigenous peoples and descendants of African slaves, whether immigrants from long ago or just yesterday, because no matter how long Latino families have resided in and contributed to the making of this country, we have been seen as foreigners.

GBV:        No matter how well we spoke and wrote the King’s English, or how faithfully we reproduced the canons of American literature and culture, our books remained foreign to the mainstream press and, with a few notable exceptions, outside the scope of national awards. Now, thanks to your magnanimity, we will become more visible, recognizable as part of this grand cultural venture that is the creation and publication of books. Muchísimas gracias.

Photograph by Nancy Crampton

See also:

Ayala, Elaine. “A Texas publisher is honored for putting great Latino literature between hard covers and on shelves.” San Antonio Express-News. 21 March 2019. https://www.expressnews.com/news/news_columnists/elaine_ayala/article/A-Texas-publisher-is-honored-for-putting-great-13704479.php

Cardenas, Cat. “Houston’s Arte Público Gets a 40th Birthday Present.” TexasMonthly. 14 March 2019. https://www.texasmonthly.com/the-culture/arte-publico-press-literary-award-nbcc/

González, Rigoberto. “National Book Critics Circle recognizes Arte Público Press as literary force.” NBC News. 14 March 2019. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/national-book-critics-circle-recognizes-arte-p-blico-press-literary-n983286?fbclid=IwAR20-dRrUYp60siEw-Ho5CcVZTG2CHUi8-Dh76vc6G409DIsfR_F9pV2tw4

“National Book Critics Circle Awards.” National Book Critics Circle. http://bookcritics.org/awards

Valenzuela, Virginia. “Interview with Arte Público Press, 2019 NBCC Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award Winner.” The New School Creative Writing. 7 March 2019. https://newschoolwriting.org/interview-with-arte-publico-press-2019-nbcc-ivan-sandrof-lifetime-achievement-award-winner/?fbclid=IwAR12AZxBeFFt9v2rvy56_itduiNRtPsKe6lMk5LZs3X1vqjQF956e-NuCFs