Today we welcome a guest post from Karin Alejandra Rosemblatt, author of The Science and Politics of Race in Mexico and the United States, 1910–1950, just published by UNC Press.
In this history of the social and human sciences in Mexico and the United States, Karin Alejandra Rosemblatt reveals intricate connections among the development of science, the concept of race, and policies toward indigenous peoples. Focusing on the anthropologists, sociologists, biologists, physicians, and other experts who collaborated across borders from the Mexican Revolution through World War II, Rosemblatt traces how intellectuals on both sides of the Rio Grande forged shared networks in which they discussed indigenous peoples and other ethnic minorities. In doing so, Rosemblatt argues, they refashioned race as a scientific category and consolidated their influence within their respective national policy circles.
The Science and Politics of Race in Mexico and the United States, 1910–1950 is available now in both print and ebook editions.
Balancing Privacy and Archival Access
How should archival institutions balance privacy concerns with the need for access? Preserving privacy is important, certainly. But it is an imperative that needs to be balanced against the benefits of public knowledge. Moreover, access to information may benefit precisely those whose privacy archivists ostensibly aim to protect. Protecting privacy may allow unethical medical experiments or government violations of privacy to remain hidden.
I became aware of this issue when I requested access to the personal papers of an anthropologist featured in my book on The Science and Politics of Race in Latin America and the United States, 1910-1950. According to the archivist in charge, the papers contained the private medical information of some of her research subjects and were therefore off limits to researchers, at least until it was certain the research subjects were not alive. The anthropologist I was interested in had been working on a government-sponsored project. The archive that housed her papers had received funding from the federal government. But the archive was not a government agency that was covered by Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). I asked the archivist whether he could redact the documents to preserve anonymity. He told me the archive did not have enough personnel to comply with this type of request.