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Thursday, May 12 • 2:30pm - 3:45pm
Disrupting the Archive: Multi-media approaches to Latina/os and Eugenic Sterilization in 20th century California

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Over 60,000 people were sterilized in the United States during the 20th century under eugenic laws in 32 states. California led the nation in eugenic sterilizations performing over 20,000, or one-third of the total sterilizations, on patients in state institutions for the “feebleminded” and “insane.” Through a collaborative project called Eugenic Rubicon: An Interactive Archive of Sterilization in 20th Century California, Drs. Lira, Wernimont, and Stern seek to make the history of eugenic sterilization in California visible, accessible, and interactive through the use of digital platforms, big data analysis, data visualization, and interpretative devices. Our project draws from a one-of-a-kind archive of close to 20,000 patient sterilization records from California institutions from the period 1919-1952. In this panel we will share our efforts to integrate questions of race, gender, sexuality and the particular experiences of Latina/o patients in meaningful and transformative ways. We will preview our web platform, present demographic and statistical analysis related to Latina/o patient records, and “perform the archive” through interactive sonic and haptic interpretations of data. Within new media studies and digital humanities, haptics (vibrotactile perception) and sonics have emerged as important ways of knowing and draw attention to the affective dimensions of computational and archival work. Our panel is deliberately promiscuous with respect to disciplines and practices, entangling distinct modes and methods of scholarship and artistic practice to transgress disciplinary boundaries. We seek to create new digital and multi-sensorial ways of embodying, conveying, and humanizing lived experiences of Latina/os subjected to multiple forms of bodily and bureaucratic erasure.

Beyond sharing research on Latina/o patients’ experiences of sterilization in California institutions during the 1920s-1950s, this panel seeks to engage the panelists, respondents, and audience in questions related to multi-media and multi-sensorial approaches to historical archives, the role of digital humanities in Latina/o Studies, and how to responsibly share the personal stories of Latina/o patients whose lives and bodies were violated by the state.


Thursday May 12, 2016 2:30pm - 3:45pm
COOR L1-84 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-84

Attendees (20)