My latest research builds on my summer fellowship at the Smithsonian. While I am “outside” the usual sites of public history scholarship, I believe my work at the BOOM!Health Harm Reduction Center is an important continuation of my work as a public historian working with and for my community.
In October 2017, I gave a talk at the CUNY Graduate Center exploring this work as well as my summer research. Within my lecture, titled “Latinxs and Public History: Tackling Controversy in Museums, Archives, and Alternative Spaces”, I expand my research at the Smithsonian Latino Center and discuss the collections plan I developed for the National Museum of American History to assist in documenting the history of substance abuse, harm reduction, and drug policy reform in New York City’s Puerto Rican and Latinx communities.
“Latinxs and Public History” attempts to explore questions such as, What is public history? How can public history methodologies enhance academic scholarship? What are the ethical and practical issues of documenting controversial or difficult history through objects and oral history interviews? How can we complicate the model of “celebratory history?” As well as alternative ways of documenting history outside of the archive.