This paper discusses a community engaged model of scholarship in archival studies that encompasses research, teaching, and service. It reports on the initial development and implementation of a community engaged model of scholarship using the author’s community-centered research in Boston, Massachusetts with a local immigrant Latino population.
The community-centered research project uses the testimonio (testimony) as a narrative device to record the life histories of the Latino population who bear witness to and are experiencing displacement as a result of urban renewal and gentrification phenomena. In Latin America, the testimonio is symbolically powerful as it dates back to pre-Columbian societies through oral traditions, to national liberation movements, to the more recent formation of truth and reconciliation commissions as sites for human rights victims and violators to bear witness. Therefore, using the testimonio is epistemologically meaningful and warranted given the political nature of the phenomena.