1. How important are Unique Collections in your teaching, learning or research?
Special Collections are invaluable resources to my learning and research. Specifically, the Black Academy of Arts and Letters’ archive has a wealth of educational materials that focus on the culture of Black minority groups in the U.S. such as African Americans and Caribbean Americans/West Indians. In addition, this archive also emphasizes the idea of Pan Africanism which is vital to my research on collaboration between the Black Academy of Arts and Letters and the Caribbean American community. Such a unique collection gives a diverse cultural perspective on Black art and history.
2. How have Unique Collections changed the way you approach your research, teaching or learning?
In my previous work, I mainly made use of secondary data. After examining the items in Special Collections, I am now more inclined to using primary data sources in my research. This stems from my experience with The Black Academy of Arts and Letters collection which has over 200 boxes of documents, recordings, and photographs. As a result of this profundity, I was able to propel my research by conducting a thematic analysis utilizing administrative, support, and production files. Furthermore, I was not faced with the challenge of having insufficient information.
3. What do you want others to know about your research, teaching or learning?
As someone with an Afro Caribbean identity, it is one of my lifelong ambitions to help recognize social and historical circumstances that affect this minority group, but to also increase awareness of the value of the Black diaspora. My research shows that the Black Academy of Arts and Letters has partnered with Caribbean organizations such as the Dallas West Indies United but there are some challenges to greater collaboration between the African American and Caribbean American communities in the DFW metroplex. However, I hope to make enlightening contributions with the use of this special collection to better understand organizations serving the African American and Caribbean communities, their role in society, how they operate, and how they establish objectives and outreach efforts.
Ms. Giselle Greenidge is a doctoral student and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of North Texas. Her major concentration is Global and Comparative Sociology and her minor concentration is Social Stratification. She earned master’s degrees in Behavioral Science and Merchandising. Her research interests include culture, globalization, and immigration.