I nurtured my commitment to public outreach and civic engagement as a member of the Board of Directors of the Colorado Endowment for Humanities (now, Colorado Humanities). I enjoyed working with citizens throughout the state on many different kinds of humanities programming. My CEH experience convinced me of the important contributions that professors can make to enriching the lives of fellow citizens.
The Colorado Coal Field War Project has brought significant opportunities to contribute to public scholarship. Our presentations to community groups—from Daughters of the American Revolution to AFL-CIO Union Summer, with all manner of churches, historical societies, and environmental groups in between—demonstrates the serious popular appeal of the project. We’ve translated our research findings into public interpretive and commemorative markers for the Ludlow Massacre Memorial and the associated coal camp of Berwind. The Coal Field War Project also allowed us to renew a collaboration with CEH in the form of Summer Teacher Institutes for Colorado K-12 classroom teachers. Our aim was to help teachers develop curriculum around labor history, and find ways to negotiate between what we’ve called “official”, “critical”, and “vernacular” understandings of the past.
Vandalism of the Ludlow Massacre Memorial in May 2003 spurred a new interest in our work that continues to keep us busy with papers, columns, and “teach-ins” for community groups. Subsequently, project personnel were instrumental in writing the nomination of the Ludlow Tent Colony for protected National Historical Landmark Status. Our archaeological work raised the site's visibility, further established its historical importance, and strengthened the case for protected status. Designation of the Ludlow site as a National Historical Landmark in January 2009 is the most gratifying outcome of the scholarly work. Receiving History Colorado's Stephen H. Hart historic preservation award in 2013 was icing on the cake.
"...But it is the final chapter, Saitta's presentation of the Colorado Coal Field War Archaeological Project, that spells out a satisfying, theoretically informed emancipatory archaeology. Transferring Dewey's notions of pragmatism to archaeological practice, Saitta suggests that archaeologists should evaluate the claims they make about the past in terms of their effects on local disenfranchised communities. This means parting ways with both empiricism and critical theory, the bourgeois sciences that university tenure committees reward, and descendant communities disparage. Disseminating their knowledge of the Ludlow massacre requires Saitta and his colleagues to reach communities through alternative channels rarely found emanating from the ivory tower: radio broadcasts and union rallies, for instance."
-B. Porter, review of Archaeology and Capitalism: From Ethics to Politics, in International Journal of Cultural Property (2009) 16:95-97.
This article by Cate Terwilliger accompanies the Vandalism Reading Assignment posted elsewhere on this page.
This assignment is to be used in conjunction with Cate Terwilliger's Denver Post article about monument vandalism posted elsewhere on this page.
Text for the interpretive kiosk at the Ludlow Massacre Memorial. Illustrated with historical and archaeological photographs, this is the first major piece of public interpretive material added to the memorial site since its establishment by the UMWA in 1918.
Text for the historical marker to be installed at the site of the Berwind coal camp west of Ludlow. This site is at risk of obliteration through modern subdivision and development. This marker is the only effort on record to publically memorialize the site.
This is the course syllabus for a week long Summer Teacher Institute on Colorado labor history, taught in Trinidad, CO.
This portfolio last updated: Nov 7, 2017 6:47:41 AM