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Grant number like: PY-263667-19

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San Francisco State University Foundation Inc. (San Francisco, CA 94132-1722)
Persis M. Karim (Project Director: May 2018 to present)
We are Here: Building a Digital Archive for the San Francisco Bay Area Iranian-American Community

One digitization event and two public programs focused on the history of California’s Iranian American community, the largest population of Iranians living outside of Iran.  The project would be managed by the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies at San Francisco State University (SFSU) in collaboration with SFSU Library and community organizations, such as the Diaspora Arts Connection and the Persian Center.  SFSU is home to a number of resources and complementary collections, including the College of Ethnic Studies, the Bay Area Television Archive, and the Sutro Library of the California State Library, which contains thousands of family histories from earlier California immigrants.  With donor permission, the digitized cultural heritage materials from this event would be made available through an Omeka-based exhibit on the Center’s website.  Public programs would feature presentations on the importance of family histories in public archives by Mattie Taormina, Director of the Sutro Library, and another by the Center’s director, Dr. Persis Karim, for the Iranian American community.

“We are Here: Building a Digital Archive for the San Francisco Bay Area Iranian-American Community” fills a gap in the history of California and Bay Area immigration history by documenting the untold stories of Iranian Americans who have for decades been overshadowed by negative news headlines that have obscured their human stories. Community members will scan original materials, help create metadata, and be interviewed about their stories at a digitization event at San Francisco State University in May 2019; this material will become part of a public history archive that preserves and share documents, photographs, letters, etc., on the website of the San Francisco State University Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies. Programs leading up to the “digitization day” include a presentation about family narratives as part of California history and another that highlights oral histories and digital storytelling for academic research and public history.

Project fields:
Public History

Common Heritage

Preservation and Access

$12,000 (approved)
$12,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 6/30/2021