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Equitable Archival Practice at Kennedy Library

What might a senior project, grounded in an Ethnic Studies education and focused on the work done in Special Collections and Archives at Kennedy Library, look like?

About the Author

My name is Keagan Levi Scott and I am a Comparative Ethnic Studies major (class of 2021) and the person behind the development of this LibGuide. I am a student assistant for the Special Collections and Archives unit at the Robert E. Kennedy Library on Cal Poly’s campus, beginning in January of 2020 and ending with my graduation in the Fall of 2021. I am a white, cis-gendered male-identifying person. I come from a family of educators and have been privileged to attend Cal Poly away from my family who live in Texas. I have developed this guide from the vantage of the privileges inherent to the identities I hold and, while I work with the intention of transformation, my inherent privileges and positionalities are worth mentioning in the outset.

As an Ethnic Studies senior, we are tasked with developing a senior project over the course of our final year at Cal Poly that is completed across our final Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters. This project is meant to serve as a synthesis for the (un)learning done through our Ethnic Studies course work and time spent dissecting the roles race, gender, ethnicity, and class play in our lives. Grounded in Critical Race Theory, Critical Archival Studies, and qualitative research practices, I made the choice to develop a guide for the future use of Special Collections and Archives employees. Much of my research was focused on how we, as an institutional archive, can work to be more conscientious about our archival practice. This guide includes sections on the notion of archiving as a discipline, the use of language in archival description, and what Special Collections and Archives can do to create a more equitable future for Cal Poly and the Central Coast community.

As with the work done in the struggle for liberation, I deliver this guide as an unfinished document. I have given my time and effort to craft what I think is a stellar introduction into transforming Special Collections and Archives, but my work is finite. I hope this LibGuide serves as a living, breathing document to be edited and re-edited when it is seen fit. I hope new insight and literature are given space within this guide. I hope this guide serves as a starting point for conversations, and, more importantly, actions that help to make the preservation of history of the Central Coast a more intersectional and equitable practice. I hope this guide serves as a medium for making Cal Poly a better place for everyone

Scholar Representation by Race

This box is an example of a tool of transparency used in our LibGuides. Sourced from Jaime Ding's "Open LibGuide Review".

Scholar Representation by Race

This tally acknowledges the white supremacy in scholarship: the numbers indicate the racial representation of the scholars listed in this LibGuide.

Black Scholars:  4   Indigenous Scholars: 0 Latinx Scholars:  0 APID(A) Scholars: 1 Other Identifying Scholars: 0  White Scholars: 10


You will find this on many of our LibGuides, as a system to keep us accountable in looking at the racial diversity of the sources we provide.  These sources have been selected based upon research for the Kennedy Library's Digital Publishing Project.