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PG 345: Intersectionality as Theory and Method: Getting Started

ACT UP Poster


This guide is intended as a starting point for an archival, group-based research project about the AIDS crisis, movement politics, and direct action in the 1980s.



Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Silence = Death" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1969 - 1997. 


Analyzing Primary Sources: Target City Hall Action

Primary sources are the raw materials of research - original, uninterpreted information or evidence of the topic you are investigating. A primary source on its own is likely only a snippet or snapshot of the full picture; thus it is often difficult to interpret without additional context.

The following activity will give you an opportunity to practice analyzing primary source documents.

Working with a partner, select and explore 3 documents in this set and respond to the following questions, keeping in mind the goals and themes of this course. 

  1. Who created these documents? What can you surmise about the author's/group's identity, political aims, or societal positioning? What is at stake for the creator(s) of these texts and what are their goals?
  2. What evidence do these documents give you? What evidence is absent? What additional sources would you seek out? Note any questions you have and identify unfamiliar concepts, people, events, or terms for further research.
  3. How do these documents help us understand activists' tactics and how they influenced the response to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s?

Featured Encyclopedia

Featured Subject Encyclopedias

Start with these subject encyclopedias and branch out as needed. 

Print encyclopedias and dictionaries are located on the first floor of Collins Library.

Humanities Librarian

Katy Curtis's picture
Katy Curtis
Office: Collins Library 140

Social Sciences Librarian

Andrea Klyn's picture
Andrea Klyn
Office: LIB 141

Online Resources

These resources can help you identify important developments and events in the history of AIDS activism.

Online Reference Collections

Not sure where to look?  Each of these online collections will introduce you to a wealth of dictionaries and encyclopedias.