Centering animals in archival research

"Poodle" in Vier und zwanzig Abbildungen verschiedener Hunde by Magnus Brasch. Nürnberg, in der Raspischen Buchhandlung, 1789. Rare Book N7660 .B7 Chapin-HorowitzTracing the histories of oppressed groups is notoriously difficult as their members may have been prevented from attaining educational or material resources that would allow them to keep records of their experiences. Or their existence may have been deemed so inconsequential that they were simply excluded from or misrepresented by larger data sources like census records, upon which researchers often rely. Consider the especially elusive nature of historical records that detail the lived experiences of nonhuman animals in a society where they are largely regarded as objects, property, or pests.

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I am a self-proclaimed craft nerd

I freely admit: I am a self-proclaimed craft nerd. In kindergarten, I was the kid who truly enjoyed gluing sticks into haphazardly-formed structures and insisted that every painting my little fingers lovingly created be prominently displayed on the family refrigerator. This creative passion has continued into adulthood as I thoughtfully knit gifts for friends and family and scrapbook every vacation taken. At first I didn’t think my graduate assistantship with the Special Collections Research Center in Swem Library would allow me to indulge my nerdy side. I thought it would be mostly processing collections, typing out finding guides, and helping patrons. And then I discovered the joy of exhibits.

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