Spanish Colonialism in the Indigenous Borderlands: Collaborative Digital Scholarship in the Undergraduate Classroom


As analysis, writing, and access to primary sources become digital, our assumptions and approaches to teaching come up short; Context and content need to be negotiated in a collaborative environment. An undergraduate Spanish capstone course at the UT-Austin provided an advantageous opportunity to address this issue in turning a selection of colonial manuscripts pertaining to Indigenous peoples in what is today considered the Mexico-U.S. borderlands into open access digital scholarship.

These manuscripts, held at the Benson Latin American Collection, are generally unavailable to the people whose history they contain, very few are aware of these unique sources of indigenous history, and even fewer possess the proper training to make sense of them. Students were trained to interrogate and contextualize the Indigenous-Spanish borderlands as represented in these special collections using digital methodologies to make these materials more accessible. The team (Spanish faculty member, CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellow, Digital Scholarship Coordinator, Information Literacy Librarians, and two graduate assistants) designed the class with several goals in mind: to foster experiential learning, student agency, original research, theoretical and technical capacity, multimodal literacies, and collaboration in the classroom. The presenters will discuss the structure of the course, pedagogical approaches, challenges, and lessons learned.

Talk with Albert P. Palacios, University of Texas at Austin

Presentation slides in PDF here