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What's New

CDI Digital Collection "Kake Walk at UVM" Featured in ALANA U.S. Ethnic Studies Summer Course

Published: February 25, 2010 by Sophia Lloyd

We are proud to announce the CDI's involvement in this Continuing Education course. ALAN 095 OL1 D1 Curating Kake Walk: Race, Memory and Representation is an online, 3-credit course that will examine the controversial legacy of Kake Walk at UVM. Our Outreach Librarian, Robin M. Katz, will co-teach the course with Brian Joseph Gilley, Director of the ALANA US Ethnic Studies Program.

Using inter-disciplinary methodological frameworks, students will explore the ways archival materials are organized, presented and used to construct cultural memory. At the same time, students will be asked to engage in the practice of digital curation by helping to produce the "Kake Walk at UVM" CDI collection.

Digital Curation: A unique opportunity! Students will work with digitized materials from the University Archives, including programs, student newspapers, financial records, and historical photographs. The "Kake Walk at UVM" digital collection will feature students' contributions and will go live on the CDI at the end of the summer.

Historical Background: Blackface minstrel shows were once a prevailing form of entertainment in American popular culture. Similarly, the "cake walk" dance craze was a national phenomenon. For eighty years, UVM's Kake Walk was the hallmark social event of the annual Winter Carnival. In the theatrical tradition of minstrelsy (which later influenced vaudeville), fraternity brothers donned blackface makeup and performed highly stylized and choreographed dances to the tune of "Cotton Babes." This tradition has become - in the decades after its abolition in 1969 - a fascinating historical platform for examining the cultural construction and representation of race and representation in the U.S.

Want to sign up for this course? Matriculated and Continuing Education students can now use CRN 60745 to enroll. If you have questions about the registration process, please contact the registrar.