Supervising a student who planned to visit archives in the USA

  • Group size: One
  • Teaching type: Undergraduate thesis supervision
  • Division: Social Science
  • Subject: Politics  
  • Tools: Teams, Bodleian’s LibGuides, external digital collections


My student wants to write a thesis inspired by the Black Lives Matters movement. They had been planning to visit archives in the US to gather material but clearly that isn’t possible right now. To try to figure out an alternative approach that still kept the student’s interest we began by talking about the themes that they were most interested in and then identified a list of alternative ways that those themes could be approached. I suggested that they should consider what sources were available to help them narrow down a topic so we both looked at the digital resources available at Oxford, starting with the Bodleian’s LibGuides, and then moved on to a number of American digital collections such as the Library of Congress and various Presidential libraries. 


Fortunately Americans have been very good at digitising their archival collections and there is plenty of material available for the student to analyse a variety of perspectives of historical or contemporary American race relations. 


Because of the availability of digital resources there aren’t really any limitations. Our meetings have worked well on Teams so far.


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