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Research Institute for the Study of Man (RISM): The Impact of RISM at NYU

The Collections of RISM at New York University

The Impact of the RISM Collections at New York University

The addition of this array of research materials to New York University’s already strong library holdings has made NYU a pivotal resource for scholars and students researching the social and cultural changes that swept the Caribbean region during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The RISM Collections have greatly enriched NYU’s holdings in these areas. Their arrival has increased the Libraries’ monographic collections on the Caribbean generally by more than 63%. Holdings on specific countries increased even more dramatically, as the NYU collections on Martinique grew by 76%, on Barbados by 100%, and on Guyana by 195%. The result is a Caribbean research collection matched by few, larger than the collections found at Columbia, Yale or Michigan and equal in scale with those at Harvard and Berkeley.

The addition of this array of research materials to New York University’s already strong library holdings has made NYU a pivotal resource for scholars and students researching the social and cultural changes that swept the Caribbean region during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The RISM Collections have greatly enriched NYU’s holdings in these areas. Their arrival has increased the Libraries’ monographic collections on the Caribbean generally by more than 63%. Holdings on specific countries increased even more dramatically, as the NYU collections on Martinique grew by 76%, on Barbados by 100%, and on Guyana by 195%. The result is a Caribbean research collection matched by few, larger than the collections found at Columbia, Yale or Michigan and equal in scale with those at Harvard and Berkeley.

But the RISM Collections are still more than a powerful vehicle for ongoing social science research in the Caribbean and beyond. The monographic and serial collections, and particularly the archival and vertical file holdings, tell a much broader story of the intersection between academic research and public policy during the four decades following World War II. The Collections document the evolving methodologies and conceptual frameworks of scholars who sought to understand and explain the changing world of the post-war era. The conference papers, the minutes of project meeting, the teaching guides for training Peace Corps volunteers in Puerto Rico echo with the dialogue that has taken place among scholars actively engaged in the world around them. The works of literature among the monographic collections speak of an effort to understand the culture of the region, not just its demographics, an active engagement between the social sciences and the humanities. With the addition of the RISM Collections, NYU has become not only a greatly increased resource for the social scientist of the next generation but also an important resource for the historian who seeks to understand the intellectual climate of the late twentieth century.