Tomás Summers Sandoval

Tomás Summers SandovalAwardee: Tomás Summers Sandoval, Associate Professor of History and Chicana/o Latina/o Studies; Coordinator of Chicana/o Latina/o Studies

Tomás Summers Sandoval is an associate professor of History and Chicanx-Latinx Studies, in which he teaches classes on the histories of race, power, and Latinx America. He is currently the president-elect of the Oral History Association.

Title: Essential Voices: Oral History in Latinx America

Goal: To acquire and use new audio recording equipment to produce archival-quality audio files, which will become part of our “Latinx Lives” archive and be used for a public mini-exhibition with our public partner

Project Description

Centering marginalized voices has always been at the forefront of Tomás Summer Sandoval’s Latinx Oral Histories (HIST 101S CH-PO) course. The course introduces students to research in Chicanx/Latinx community history through the theory, ethics, and practice of oral history. Importantly, a key component of the course is a collaboration with local youth of nearby Chaffey High School; working in collaboration, students in the course conduct, preserve, and present oral historical research. In doing so, Summer Sandoval argues, “framing new ways of analyzing how academia sanctions what and whose knowledge is worth learning and preserving.”  

Support for new audio recording equipment being the main motive for funding requests, the oral history project sheds light on the feasibility of intersecting technology with a variety of disciplines. Indeed, the project was initially brought into fruition with a US Latino Digital Humanities Program grant, but funding from the Hahn Grant will extend the project to the production of archival quality audio files to illuminate the voices of Latinx workers considered “essential” during the pandemic. In turn, the oral histories produced in Essential Voices will be used by the Claremont College and Chaffey high school students to learn about local experiences through a class-led mini-exhibit; at the conclusion of the project, both constituents will be able to evaluate the success of the collaborative work.  

“Most importantly, as a community partnership and collaboration project, ‘Essential Voices’ uses oral history and archival production as a way to blue the lines between “town and gown” and produce cross-student collaborations engaging our local communities.”

-Tomás Summers Sandoval

Project Outcomes

Students in Professor Sandoval’s Fall 2022 Latinx Oral Histories course have certainly been busy at work! Student collaborated with Chaffey High School students and the broader public community at a public event at the DA Center for the Arts in September, asking these local Latinx Americans to divulge their life stories. It was these stories materialized in the eighteen archival quality oral histories of local Latinx Americans produced, and it is the production of these stories that motivated the DA Center for the Arts to approach Sandoval with a proposal for focused community member interviews about music in Pomona in the 1950s and 1960s. As such, those invested can expect a local musical history project in the near future.