ASN 114 – Archive Assignment

ASN 114 – Archive Assignment

[Before students begin work on this archive, they will already have 1) introduced themselves by way of a personal archive and 2) used materials from available archives as class texts]

Archive Assignment– draft

Remember our guiding principle to understanding migration: Individual choice does not sufficiently explain how or why migration occurs. An analytical approach to immigration attempts to understand individual “choices” that shaped both pre and post migration experience as being made within a broader context.  Dhingra and Rodriguez


An archive is a collection of artifacts (documents, objects, images, letters, anything really!) about a person, place, event, etc. For the second part of your final project, you will create an archive about your interviewee’s migration and settlement.

Imagine you are creating a museum exhibit of your interviewee’s migration and settlement. What would you put in the exhibit? Why are these items important? What would they express to people who come to the exhibit?

The artifacts should be a mix of personal items (photos, objects, clips from your interview) and what I am calling structural items (government documents, passages from immigration law, newspaper articles that are related to a significant event, recruitment ad, excerpts from college handbooks for international students, a movie poster or song lyrics that the interviewee may have mentioned) that give us insight into multiple points of the interviewee’s migration journey and settlement.


  • Label each artifact with the following information: item, date and place (if you don’t have information for the date and place, that’s ok).
    • EXAMPLE 1 (personal item): Family photo taken before getting on flight to the US. 1981. Manila, Philippines.
    • EXAMPLE 2 (structural item): US Embassy Press Release for 2011 Diversity Visa Lottery. 2009. Dhaka, Bangladesh. This artifact is at the end of this document.
  • Write a short paragraph description/explanation.
    • Your description should cover why the artifact is important.
    • You can be more creative with your writing here if you would like. For example, if your interviewee talked about a certain feeling, memory, etc. related to the artifact, you can include those words in your write-up.

Potential artifacts. These can be items from your interviewee, images you find on-line (give citation), or images that you create.

  • family photos
  • work ID
  • disparities images (think back to Yang)
  • text of an immigration law
  • newspaper articles
  • brochure
  • pictures documenting places, work, etc
  • advertisements
  • movie posters
  • trade agreements

Sample archives:

Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and WWII

CUNY Digital History Archive 

South Asian American Digital Archive

Here is the artifact for Example 2 (structural item above)

Press Release (2009) from the US Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh

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