C-SPAN Archives conference Nov. 16-18

November 11, 2014  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The C-SPAN Archives will be the focus of a Nov. 16-18 conference at Purdue University.

“The C-SPAN Archives: Advancing the Research Agenda” is free and open to the public. Program information including location is available online.

 “Teachers and reporters use the archives all the time, and we really want to increase how this resource of 27 years of electronic video documents of various political and government leaders can help others, especially with scholarly research,” said Robert Browning, director of the C-SPAN Archives and an associate professor of communication and political science. “We want people who haven’t used the archives before to learn more about it and how historians and other scholars utilize its materials.”

The event is sponsored by the Brian Lamb School of Communication and the Department of Political Science, and funding is provided from the C-SPAN Education Foundation and Purdue’s Office of the President.

The archives, located at the Purdue Research Park, index all C-SPAN programming from its three networks, and the content such as speeches and debates, are available online. There are 40,000 online views daily. The Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network was founded by Purdue alumnus Brian Lamb in 1977, and Purdue’s School of Communication is named for Lamb.

The conference will highlight examples of how video from the archives is used for a range of recent and current research projects including the First Lady, African-American members of Congress, STEM debates in Congress, technology issues, campaigns and elections, and technical innovations in measuring political behavior.

One of the presenters is Nadia Brown, an assistant professor of political science and African American studies, who will discuss how she uses C-SPAN oral histories to examine concepts in minority representation. She is co-presenting with with Valeria Sinclair-Chapman, Purdue associate professor of political science, and Michael D. Minta, an associate professor of political science and black studies at the University of Missouri.

“Rarely have scholars used a legislator’s own words to systematically identify connections between legislators’ self-perceptions and key concepts in minority politics and gender scholarship,” Brown said. “The trend has been to use roll-call voting patterns or committee assignments to study the influence of race or gender in politics, but hearing and watching these leaders through the video archives is a way to capture rich information not available elsewhere.”

One of Brown’s examples that she found through the C-SPAN Archives, is of Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, a black member of Congress who fought to keep the women’s hair salon on Capitol Hill in the early 1970s. Congress traditionally has a variety of services such as a barbershop and hair salon accessible onsite for government leaders’ convenience.

“At the time, the few women in Congress didn’t want to go on record saying they wanted to keep the salon because they worried their constituents would make assumptions about getting their hair done, even though the men could keep the barbershop,” Brown said. “But, she said, ‘Put my name on it. Women should enjoy the same privileges as men.’”

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu 

Sources: Robert Browning, rxb@purdue.edu

Nadia Brown, brown957@purdue.edu 

Related websites:

College of Liberal Arts 

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