Currently viewing the tag: "Bridget Gazzo"

Tuesday May 21, 2013, 10:30-12PM

Moderator: Marisol Ramos, University of Connecticut

Rapporteur: Bridget Gazzo, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library


  • El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega and his Mestizo Attempt to Reconcile Two Mutually Opposing Worlds Steven A. Kiczek – Library & Information Access, San Diego State University, San Diego, California
  • Pomaism and Inversionism: An Exploration Of Guaman Poma’s Philosophical Thought Manomano M. M. Mukungurutse – Professor – Allegheny Community College and Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA.    Currently: A Nomadic-Independent Researcher and Writer

Steven A. Kiczek gave a detailed account of the life of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (1539-1613), describing some of the formative experiences and fundamental challenges of his bi-cultural life.  Garcilaso de la Vega was born in Cuzco, the son of Chimpu Ocllo, an Inca princess and Sebastián Garcilaso de la Vega y Vargas, a Spanish Captain.  His parents named him Gómez Suárez de Figueroa, but later, in his middle-age, he took the name Garcilaso de la Vega. He

was able to claim an aristocratic lineage from both sides of his family, and his mestizo ancestry strongly affected his personal identity, thinking, attitudes and beliefs. Inca Garcilaso de la Vega attempted throughout his life, and in his writings, to balance and to do justice to both the Inca and Spanish sides of his background. Sometimes he was successful, sometimes not, but his mestizo identity was always a driving force in his life.

In his earliest years, up to 10 years of age, Inca Garcilaso lived with both his parents. The tattered remnants of the Inca royal family were welcome guests in the home of the elder Garcilaso de la Vega, who was substantially wealthy and who loved to host banquets. He was known for his generosity and kindness toward Indians, even though he was an encomendero. The Inca Garcilaso often remarked how his mother’s relatives would often reminisce over the lost days of glory and the Inca dominion. He internalized what he learned about his Inca heritage from the people themselves through their oral tradition. Most of Comentarios Reales de los Incas derives from the memory of his first 20 years in Cuzco.

Even though he first learned Quechua from his mother, he also learned Spanish at a young age. There was a special school for the sons of Spanish conquistadors and Indian women wherein they learned the rudiments of various subjects, especially Latin, Spanish and theology. He was also taught the martial and equestrian arts. He was impressed by the size of the Spanish Empire and their prowess in war, though he was always denouncing the greed and avarice of the Spanish and the destruction that they wrought in the Indian world. He was also impressed by their technology. Another major aspect of Spanish and European civilization that he greatly admired was language, writing and literacy. As much as he loved and admired Inca civilization, he was quite clear about the disadvantage that the lack of written language brought to the Incas, as compared to the Spanish.

In last decade of his life while living in Córdoba, Spain, he wrote his Comentarios Reales de los Incas in Spain for a Spanish audience, as an apologia (in the classical sense) for his Inca people and heritage. It consists of two parts, the first of which is dedicated to the Incas; the second part, which also carries the title Historia General del Perú, deals with the Spanish conquest. He portrayed the Incas, their empire and way of life, as something worthy of admiration and as something that Spaniards should appreciate, and he strongly urged that they respect the Incas/Quechuas as an advanced civilization.

In the matter of religion he was a convinced Christian and he believed that Christianity was the best way of life for his Inca/Quechua people, and for all Indians. But he did not believe that it should be accompanied by slavery and brutality. He stated quite clearly that such a policy and practice was disastrous for all involved. He advocated frequently for a peaceful and respectful method of evangelization, but he was also aware that this method did not always work well.

His double heritage, and his struggle to reconcile both sides, gave Garcilaso a certain advantage as he wrote his works. In fact, it was through writing history that he sought to achieve resolution.

In his examination of Guaman Poma’s work, The First New Chronicle and Good Government, Manomano Mukungurutse takes the view that Guaman Poma is fundamentally a philosophical inversionist.  In post-colonial theory, inversion refers to viewing the colonial experience through reversing the identity categories and the structures of domination, but keeping intact the overall structure and conventions of the system of knowledge it is supposedly challenging.  In his critique of the Spanish colonial trinity (religion, government, economics), Guaman Poma perpetuates the colonizer/colonized opposition and the resulting assumptions about identity and agency.  Manomano notes that, in addition, Guaman Poma describes daily life in a very detached way, almost like a painting, with no hypothesizing, no theorizing.


Marisol Ramos (University of Connecticut) opened the questions with a comment on the two presentations and how they illustrate each author’s effort to reconcile their two worlds.   Rafael Tarrago (University of Minnesota) commented that he liked the analysis of Guaman Poma from a philosophical point of view, a perspective he had not previously considered.  Manomano replied that it is a neglected area in Andean studies.

Ramos (University of Connecticut) asked Steve Kiczek if he thinks that Garcilaso succeeded in reconciling the two worlds.  Steve replied that he thinks Garcilaso did to the best of his ability, that he was not afraid to criticize each group for its wrongdoings.  He was strongly critical of the Spanish and the fact that their actions went counter to their religious practices, pointing out that they did not care about faith, only about enriching themselves.

Ramos (University of Connecticut) asked both presenters if – for their author- writing was a way of resistance.   Steve replied that he thinks that Garcilaso was trying to rectify the situation as best he could, that he was trying to make Europeans understand that the indigenous people aren’t savages.  Manomano also replied that yes, Guaman Poma was painfully aware of the dialectic of involvement/detachment.  He chose to describe what he saw objectively– to reveal the anatomy of the colonial situation — so that readers can form their own objections to colonial conditions.

Panel 9, May 31, 2011, 11:00 am-12:30 pm

Moderator: Pamela Graham, Columbia University
Presenters: Sarah B. Van Deusen Phillips, Center for Research Libraries; James Simon, Center for Research Libraries; Pamela Graham, Columbia University; Alex Thurman, Columbia University; Tessa Fallon, Columbia University; Christian Kelleher, University of Texas at Austin
Rapporteur: Bridget Gazzo, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library

The first presentation was “The Human Rights Electronic Evidence Study” by Sarah B. Van Deusen Phillips and James Simon.

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) Global Resources Network is currently engaged in a two-year project supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to examine how human rights organizations use digital technology to document human rights abuses. Simon opened this presentation by explaining that the project grew out of an interest in determining what happens to human rights documentation when the paper trail becomes digital, including management of materials that are born digital and the use of the new media. CRL is engaged in the project to study and assess current practices of human rights organizations, to ascertain how adequate these practices are for advocacy, and to track the chain of evidence.

Van Deusen Phillips provided details, explaining that they assessed documentation practices and technologies in Mexico, Rwanda, Russia, and the United States. The study is designed to assess the state of current available technology; to identify challenges in the collection and preservation of documentation; to identify best practices for metadata acquisition and preservation; and to encourage and support collaboration between human rights organizations and libraries and archives. She presented findings on Chiapas, Mexico and Kigali, Rwanda, noting that a pattern of documentation and collection emerged. In Chiapas, the documentation is created within small grassroots groups, on paper or orally; these small organizations share information among themselves and pass it on to mid-size professional organizations that consolidate and digitize the information; and the mid-sized organizations forward it to large national and international institutions, such as governments, courts, universities, libraries and the media. Van Deusen Phillips noted problems in Chiapas with the preservation of paper and VHS tapes, problems stemming from moisture and mold. Although she was granted access to the offices, archives, and staff of the small human rights organizations, across the board in Chiapas the staff was unwilling to let her take photos. Van Deusen Phillips documented what she saw by sketching each evening while the images of the kinds of documents and how they were organized were still fresh in her mind. She described canalseisdejulio, the mid-size professional organization in the Chiapas case study. Canalseisdejulio is a media collaborative in Mexico City that has been in operation for about 25 years and has produced over 50 documentary films about human rights and counter-political movements.

Van Deusen Phillips described the study in Kigali, Rwanda, where she was allowed to take photos. The document situation was very much the same, perhaps more organized. Ibuka is a genocide memorial site and activist group that advocates for the civil and human rights of survivors. It is also an umbrella organization for a number of other groups focusing on gender and legal rights, and HIV treatment. It has three primary objectives: genocide memory, justice, and survivor needs. Individuals in Rwanda and in other countries submit documents to Ibuka’s regional offices. Regional offices send consolidated information and copies of documents to Ibuka’s Kigali main memorial center. The Kigali center distributes the information to the national and international media and shares information with other groups. The Kigali Memorial Center Archive provides access to archives for activism and research.

CRL will convene an advisory group to: assess the adequacy of documentation practices for supporting downstream purposes; evaluate standards of metadata, provenance, and legal requirements for electronic evidence; compile best practices; and create tools to support the collection, maintenance, and long-term storage of electronic documentation.

The link to the study is here:

The second presentation was “Collecting the Human Rights Web” by Pamela Graham, Alex Thurman and Tessa Fallon.

Graham began by defining the Human Rights Web (HR Web) as basically everything about human rights on the internet: reports, articles, books, journals, testimony, blog posts, multimedia, and social media. The project has been able to capture all these different kinds of content, except social media because of its proprietary nature. Graham added that all the content they are capturing is open-access and non-licensed. She then explained why they are collecting the HR Web. First, it has high research value. In some cases, digital has replaced print, so it is to maintain the current level of collecting. In other cases, it is to expand the scope and range of collecting, and finally, some content is ephemeral and at risk. They began with a planning grant in 2008, and are presently halfway through a 3-year grant from the Mellon Foundation. They are looking into web archiving other content areas. Content selection is an open process so they can better source the ideas from out in the field. They are collecting materials from NGOs, national institutes, bloggers, and both established and at risk sites. They are not archiving content from counties with archiving initiatives, and they are coordinating with similar web collecting programs to avoid duplication.

Thurman covered the stages of permissions and harvesting. They use a standard permission request form available in English and 5 other languages. They request permission and, if they receive no answer, they wait a few weeks and place another request. If they do not receive an answer to the second query, having made a good faith effort, they proceed with capturing the content. For harvesting, they use Archive-It, a web archiving service, and for preservation they copy the content and structure of the website into a WARC (Web Archive) file. The WARC files are stored at the Internet Archive and in Columbia’s Fedora repository. They cannot capture password protected sites, and they preserve only the form and content of sites, not their functionality. They begin their harvesting process with an initial site assessment, in which they anticipate what will be able to be captured, and crawl scoping, in which they define the domain. They run a test crawl and then re-scope to pick up what was missed and to block unwanted material. Then they do the actual capture and review for quality control. Fallon explained that they provide access through Columbia’s OPAC, through Archive-It, and through WorldCat.

The third presentation was “Preserving Human Rights Archives and Cultural Patrimony: Strategies of the Human Rights Documentation Initiative” by Christian Kelleher.

Kelleher began by explaining that the Human Rights Documentation Initiative makes an effort to address the entire life cycle of electronic records. The 2007 conference at Columbia University caused the University of Texas at Austin to create their Human Rights Documentation Initiative, and he showed a website for the Initiative, that brings together a lot of the materials they have created and collected in the course of their human rights programming. They, like Columbia, also use Archive-It, and use procedures similar to those at Columbia to catalog the material. They have created a thesaurus, and they catalog the web resources using their own thesaurus terms. On their web page, they have a link out to both the live URL and the archived URL. He pointed out that there are two distinct categories of materials on the web. Although website resources are well-served by harvesting, the individual documents within a website are not served by this method of capture. He makes a strong distinction between the categories, giving the example of a list of publications on the website, Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo, in Guatemala. The Initiative has developed another project through which they download each individual publication and place it in the University of Texas digital repository, where it is then cataloged and/or made full-text-searchable. This treatment allows for more detailed information and refined control over individual publications. Another example of this is with another group called Equipo Maíz in El Salvador. They want to have a lot of control over the materials they have. On their website, they have publications that are only available electronically. While investigating what to do with a broadside from the site called Página de Maíz, the Initiative found out it had not been cataloged. They cataloged the title in the University of Texas OPAC and linked it to their digital repository, so it is now full-text searchable and fully discoverable.

Kelleher then described the non-custodial archiving program. They partner with organizations, but they do not collect their archive. Rather, they work together to preserve it, make it available, and to promote the organization’s activities. This model preserves cultural and historical patrimony of the original materials. An example of a partner organization is Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen, in El Salvador, where they have a great historical archive, including the files of Radio Venceremos, along with its original recordings of rebel radio broadcasts. In the partnership efforts, the Initiative is jumping over the mid-level professional organization of Van Deusen Phillips’ model to work directly with the specific actors in the realm of human rights documentation. The best example of a non-custodial project is their work with the Kigali Genocide Memorial. The Initiative’s recently launched website for this project is the best resource for original documentation of the Rwandan genocide. As an example of a beneficial partnership, the URL for the Kigali Genocide Memorial ( points to a server on the University of Texas at Austin, but the material appears to come from Rwanda. A software tool called Glifos, developed in Guatemala, uses a wiki structure to provide access, which allows the cataloging to be done in Rwanda. The material can be digitized and cataloged in Rwanda, in the Rwandan language, by staff of the Kigali Genocide Memorial, and then the hard drives are brought to Austin to be loaded on the server.

In this case, the Initiative works with the non-custodial partner, the Kigali Genocide Memorial, as the mid-level professional organization, who then in turn extends the Initiative’s efforts and training in Rwanda to other human rights organizations. Training and collaboration are very important parts of their programs. The partner organizations are able to gain legitimacy by throwing around the name of the University of Texas, allowing them to gain support within the national and international community which allows them to preserve, catalog, and make available the materials they already have, but also allows them to create new archival materials, do new testimonies, and collect materials from different organizations. Kelleher then showed details of the website for the Kigali Genocide Memorial site. Through the partnerships, they not only support the digitization of the documents, but also support the organizations that are creating the original documents.

Questions & Comments:

Adán Benavides (University of Texas at Austin) asked the first question of Van Deusen Phillips. He asked if she thought her inability to take photographs in Mexico was due to the cultural aversion to photography since it is very common in many situations in Mexico not to be allowed to take photographs. In addition, culturally, for many indigenous groups, taking a photograph is perceived as taking their soul. Van Deusen Phillips replied that she thought it was more an issue of concern about her. She was on site for only ten days, not really enough time for them to get to know her and to build trust. She had relied on being introduced to the archives staff by a trusted local person. Although he was able to get her into the archives, it was still a situation of artificial trust, so it was somewhat limited. Benavides said in his experience sometimes the suspicion on the part of the administrators is that the photograph would be misused, and probably to denigrate their work. Van Deusen Phillips said yes, they had plenty of reasons to be concerned. How were they to know she would not share it with the federal government of Mexico, or with the opposition? For similar reasons, they have a fear of digital documentation. They worry that, if the information goes on the web, who is going to use it, and where, and why? Simon explained that their intent on that project is to get as specific information as possible, such as specific case studies or types of documentation, but it is a real challenge to get that kind of data, especially considering how far removed they now are from the events of the day. The protective role of the mid-level organizations to provide a buffer so the small groups are not instantly squashed sometimes means they can see a piece of paper or an archive, but not copy it.

Graham asked Kelleher how they have gone about building trust in the partnerships with the non-custodial part of the project. Kelleher noted Graham’s earlier observation that the human rights organizations do not have records management skills. He explained that is what the non-custodial model provides. The Initiative works for the non-custodial organizations. Kelleher clarified that the Kigali Genocide Memorial made the decisions about what to include in the archive and what to make available online. They have another partner that has decided to have nothing online. The Initiative is working with them in the short-term to help them manage their resources, and they have a written agreement to make the material available down the road. In the short-term, the Memorial does not want anyone to know about the materials of the one partner that has decided to have nothing online because it would be dangerous for the people involved. Kelleher explained that with all their partners, they do what the partners want.

Fallon asked Kelleher how he presents the Human Rights Initiative to administration as a function of the university library. Kelleher answered that it is a real challenge, especially when the issue is funding. He points out that in some cases it is an opportunity to expand their funding. They have a foundation that has funded their efforts with the Kigali Genocide Memorial that is not a supporter of library programs, but rather is a supporter of human rights programs.

Kelleher then asked the group from Columbia what changes they would like to see in Archive-It and what they think is lacking in the tool. Fallon said she would like to see changes to the way Archive-It groups crawls. It does not provide a sufficient level of management within the tool. Thurman added that the California Digital Library (CDL) has a competitor tool called Web Archiving Service. With this tool, it is very easy to put together all the crawls of any given site and to compare the crawls of the site. Fallon concluded by saying that the Archive-It interface is not as user friendly as the CDL tool.