This project is dedicated to highlighting the often untold and hidden histories of traditionally underrepresented students and diverse communities through the context of the built environment on the University of Oregon campus. Too often these histories are hidden within the confines of decades of oppression, discrimination, and settler colonialism. Specifically, the histories of the university’s diverse student leaders and groups are rich in stories of heroism, activism, and defiance, but remain unknown or hidden. With this project we seek to bring these stories into the center of campus history through tours of key sites related to these histories.
Begun in 2013, the “Untold Stories” project is part of a broader mission of the Documenting UO History Project, to reveal the diverse history and hidden history of campus by engaging students and faculty in the research and dissemination of this unique history. The stories and tour development stem from student projects as part of the Hidden History Freshman Interest Group (FIG) class (2013-present), taught by Jennifer R. O’Neal and Kevin D. Hatfield. With the goal of identifying gaps in records and documentation about the histories of underrepresented groups on campus, this work is grounded in community-based and participatory documentation by the groups represented. Thus, in collaboration with the FIG class and Student Archive Assistants, we worked directly with various student leaders and groups to identify key stories to document related to their experiences on campus, as well as identified archival materials for possible donation.
Through the FIG course we provide an opportunity for undergraduates to investigate these histories to reconstruct the past, develop student-created research outputs, and share these stories with the wider university community. Rather than passive consumption of history, this project provides students with an inquiry-based “historical thinking” model that positions students as active producers of history, while also understanding the ethics, protocols, and methodology for working with community partners. Through collaboration and shared decision making about research agendas, modes of inquiry, and dissemination of knowledge, this project positions students to create new knowledge and contribute original research to a growing body of scholarship and creative work by historians, journalists, filmmakers, activists, and artists actively bringing awareness and revealing the hidden history of campus for future generations. The stories represented in the tours reflect this research and seeks to fill those gaps in the traditional histories of campus.
The first phase of the project will be launched in October 2018 with ten stories highlighting the African American, Asian American and Native American student, faculty, and staff histories related to sites across campus. This is an ongoing project and as stories are completed they will be added to the tours and story sections. Please check back often for new content.
Information has also been contributed by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Academic Residential Community’s seminar course taught by Jennifer R. O’Neal and Kirby Brown in Winter and Spring 2018. The students developed and contributed narratives and audio recordings highlighting the significant Native American locations on campus. This work is showcased both through the UO campus map with the Indigenous UO Tour, as well as though the Untold Stories Project.