“Curating Kake Walk” Assignments

These are the assignments for ALAN 095 OL1, the course I am co-teaching this summer about UVM’s blackface minstrel tradition. The information below is a more concise version of original course documents including the syllabus, course schedule, and assignment instructions.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students should be able to:
• Demonstrate a knowledge of Kake Walk’s history
• Present an argument about racial formation and Kake Walk
• Understand the functions of cultural repositories and analyze the power they have in constructing cultural memory
• Perform basic archival functions (provide subject access to & supply scope and content notes for archival materials)
• Synthesize concepts of memory and representation with respects to the “Kake Walk at UVM” collection

Assignment Overview

Participation 400 points
Midterm 300 points
Final 300 points
Total: 1,000 points

Course Schedule

Course Introduction

May 24 Discuss: Introductions
CDI Tutorials

Kake Walk History

May 25 Read: Loewen (See reading list)
May 26 Lecture 1: Understanding Kake Walk’s History Through Primary Sources
May 27 Read: Mahar
Read: Glass
Read: Jensen
May 28 Read: Robinson
Discuss: How did Kake Walk resemble/differ from earlier cultural art forms?

Vermont and Race

Jun 1 Read: Vanderbeck
Jun 2 Discuss: Does Kake Walk represent a form of “imaginative whiteness?”
Jun 3 Read: Omi and Winant
Jun 4 Discuss: Is minstrelsy a racial project? A racist racial project?

Memory & Cultural Repositories

Jun 7 Read: Lynch
Lecture 2: An Introduction to Cultural Repositories
Quiz 1: Cultural Repositories
Jun 8 Read: Lubar
Jun 9 Discuss: Significance of Kake Walk materials differs greatly from intent of its creators
Jun 10 Read: Jimerson
Jun 11 Discuss: Who exercises what kind of power in creating this collection?

Midterm due Jun 13
Introduction to Digital Curation

Jun 14 Midterm Evaluations
Review Assigned Series of Digital Collections
Jun 15 Read: Taylor
Quiz: Metadata & Organizing Information
Jun 18 Read: Scope and Content Note Materials
Lecture 3: Subject Headings
Read: Final Project Instructions

Digital Curation

Jun 25 For Final: Individual Subject Heading Chart Due
For Final: Individual Scope & Content Note Due
Collection Image Nominations Due
Jun 25
– 28
Discuss: Image Nominations
Jun 28 Vote: Collection Image
Jun 29 Read: Boles
Jun 29
– Jul 1
Discuss: How to remember Kake Walk? Represent it?

Final Project Due July 9


Midterm Paper

In Racial Formation in the United States, Michael Omi and Howard Winant present us with a more nuanced idea of race and racism with the “racial project” concept. Is documenting and remembering Kake Walk a racial project? A racist project?

Use class readings and items from the digital collection to illustrate your argument.

3-5 pages, 12 pt. double space.


Final Project

Each member of the class will submit (via email) one Word document containing the following:

  1. Individual Subject Heading Chart
    Please copy the original posted to Blackboard. Sample Chart:
    Item ID Subject In Your Words Authorized LCSH
    (exact capitalization; no periods)
    LC Control No. Explain Your Decision /
    Share Your Experience

    (optional: use for interesting or difficult headings)
    sample001 University students College students sh 85028356
    ——— Minstrelsy or
    Blackface
    Blackface entertainers sh 86002417 I first searched for “minstrelsy” and arrived at “minstrel music” or “minstrel shows.” Neither of these are quite accurate for this item, as Kake Walk does not sit firmly in these broader American cultural traditions. If a researcher studying nineteenth-century materials landed on Kake Walk, it would seem irrelevant.

    [OR NOT – YOU MAY DISAGREE IN YOUR OWN SUBJECT HEADING CHARTS & GROUP DISCUSSIONS!]

    sample002 Fraternities Greek letter societies sh 85057168
  2. Group Subject Heading Chart
    All group members should have the same content
  3. Subject Heading Reflection, 500 – 1,000 words
    As you selected subject headings, how did you keep the user in mind?
    What was challenging about assigning subject headings?
    What did you learn from your group’s review?
    Why or why not did you incorporate their ideas or suggestions into your final recommendations?
  4. Individual Scope and Content Note
    Please copy the original posted to Blackboard
  5. Group Scope and Content Note
    All group members should have the same content
  6. Scope and Content Note Reflection, 500 – 1,000 words
    How did you write your scope and content note to be user-oriented?
    What was challenging about writing a scope and content note?
    What did you learn from collaborating with your group?
  7. Individual Collection Image Nomination
    Please copy the original posted to Blackboard, including your three selection criteria and nomination justification
  8. Collection Image Reflection, 500 – 1,000 words
    What is your opinion of the winning collection image?
    Does it represent the collection well?
    Were your three nominating criteria met by the winning image?
    What did you learn from the discussion about the nominated images?
  9. Evaluations of Group Members
    Group member name:
    With 5 being the highest, and 1 the lowest, please rank your group member on the following:

    __________ Did fair share of the work
    __________ Was invested in the quality of the group’s work
    __________ Contributed to ideas and planning
    __________ Communicated clearly and regularly
    __________ Contributed to overall success and to the group’s progress

Final Project Grading

Subject Headings will be graded on completeness, accuracy, and relevance. High-scoring subject heading charts will completely address all items in a series, will accurately demonstrate “aboutness,” and will be relevant to the collection’s context and to users.
Scope and Content Notes will be graded on completeness, conciseness, tone, and relevance. High-scoring scope and content notes will completely and concisely address all prompt elements from the readings, will maintain a tone similar to examples from the readings, will accurately demonstrate “aboutness,” and will be relevant to the collection’s context and to users.
Reflections will be graded on completeness, thoughtfulness, and analysis. High-scoring reflections will completely address all prompt questions and include detailed examples from the group work. Thoughtful reflections use clear, expressive language; relate to course learning objectives (listed on the syllabus), and demonstrate growth. Analysis in reflections is achieved by connecting personal experience and opinions to class readings and discussions.
50 Individual Subject Heading Chart
50 Group Subject Heading Chart
50 Subject Heading Reflection
50 Individual Scope and Content Note
50 Group Scope and Content Note
50 Scope and Content Reflection
50 Collection Image Nomination
50 Collection Image Reflection
400 points TOTAL

Participation Grading

For group work, you will be graded on the weight and substance of your content contributions, your leadership in organizing group communication and collaboration, and your role in guiding decision-making.

30 Group Discussion of Individual Subject Heading Charts
& Collaboration on Group Chart
30 Group Discussion of Individual Scope and Content Notes
& Collaboration on Group Note
30 Class Discussion of Collection Image Nominations
30 Collection Image Vote
30 Class Discussion (Jun 29 – Jul 1)
25 Group Members’ Evaluations of You
25 Your Evaluation of Group Members
300 points TOTAL

Image includes Kake Walk Programs (1958, 1963, and 1965), University Archives, Record Group 53: Fraternities and Sororities, Series: Kake Walk, University of Vermont Library

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