Scholarship Related to Transgender Issues to Benefit from First Digital Archive
Holy Cross professor launches expansive online hub to advance research
Transgendered student with assistant professor K.J. Rawson in the (DTA) Lab at College of the Holy Cross
[The latest in :literary scholarship” from a Jesuit college: The prof’s specialties are composition, rhetoric, and LGBT studies; he is a member Outfront: A Holy Cross GLBTQ Faculty and Staff Alliance (see its page on the college website) and “married” to a male (Steph), with whom he has a young daughter]
February 11th, 2016 by Cristal Steuer
K.J. Rawson, assistant professor of English at the College of the Holy Cross, recently launched the world’s first Digital Transgender Archive (DTA), a collection of transgender-related historical materials. Rawson’s project was recognized in 2013-14 with funding from the American Council of Learned Societies Digital Innovation Fellowship, awarded each year to a handful of academics to advance digital humanistic scholarship.
The DTA is designed to increase the accessibility of transgender history by providing an online hub for digitized historical materials, born-digital materials, and information on archival holdings throughout the world.
Today, with both new scholarship emerging in the academy and more focused attention on current topics related to transgender people, the launch of the DTA is timely. Rawson says the DTA provides dramatically improved access to transgender history. “We collect materials from all over the world that were created prior to the year 2000,” explains Rawson. He says the collection includes books, oral histories, personal papers, organizational records, serials, photography, ephemera, and more. The website is freely available for students, academic researchers, and the general public.
By documenting primary source facts and experiences of individuals, the launch of the collection also supports efforts for social justice for transgender people and communities. “As our mission statement successfully captures,” Rawson says, “Holy Cross encourages every member of our community to be passionate about truth, promote social justice and foster dialog in order to more deeply understand and respect diverse experiences. The DTA will further these qualities by counteracting negative and hurtful stereotypes of transgender people with more truthful and historically informed representations.”