The Twilight Project was officially launched this Fall, and work has begun in our mission to uncover and reckon with the histories of exclusion and marginalization at the College through archival research and public programming. Toward this end, we have commissioned four projects that will focus on specific topics and histories, and through different objects of study; all of which will culminate with various public-facing components and events. One of these projects will be faculty-led, specifically by Professors Erin Sassin and Edward Vazquez of History of Art and Architecture, and will interrogate the relationship of Middlebury College’s built environment—including seemingly banal spaces and structures—to the maintenance and sanctioning of patriarchal power on campus. Particular stress will be placed on the study of quotidian spaces, precisely due to their “everydayness” and potentially less obvious relationship to power dynamics and violence.
Also related to space and the meanings they carry, another project, to be student-led and mentored by Rebekah Irwin, Director of Special Collections at Middlebury College, will explore the naming of buildings and monuments on campus and uncover the histories of the people after whom they are named. Another project, which is still being fleshed out, will investigate the history of disability and (in)accessibility at Middlebury College, paying particular attention to both the built environment of the physical campus and institutional participation in the pathologization of particular identities and bodies in the shape of past professors’, administrators’, and guests’ thoughts on eugenics, disability, and access.
Last but not least, and especially relevant to the anti-racist work to be carried out institutionally, we are currently working on a student-led project to be mentored by Twilight Project Director, Daniel F. Silva, that will develop an archive on anti-racist activism at Middlebury College. This project will collect and document the actions taken by student, faculty, and staff activists while shedding light on the knowledge they have produced regarding the institution. To this end, the project, via the critical gaze of past activism, will foreground which mechanisms and manifestations of systemic racism activists have targeted, thus providing further direction to our institutional anti-racist work. As these projects develop during the course of the academic year, the Twilight Project will organize and share a host of programming in order to share findings in the form of physical exhibits, performance pieces, digital works, and other public-facing materials. Please follow our website for updates.