January 24, 2016

How have the conditions we associate with "intimate life," matters of sex, sexuality, marriage, and more, been subject to state power in the twentieth-century United States? This three-part lectures series features historians whose research addresses such questions in the context of a post-slavery nation in which race also structured state rules governing intimate life.

February 18, 4:00 PM, Hillel Meeting Room

Kali Gross (University of Texas), "Why Hannah Mary Tabbs Matters: Race, Sex, and Violence in Post-Emancipation America"

March 14, 12:00 PM, Hillel Meeting Room

Grace Peña Delgado (University of California, Santa Cruz), "Border Intimacies: Prostitution, Sexual Policing, and the Early Mann Act, 1903-1917"

March 24, 4:00 PM, Science Center, 3rd FL, SciLi

Martin Summers (Boston College), " 'A Maze of Unintelligibility': Psychotherapy and African American Patients at Saint Elizabeths Hospital, 1900-1940"

Sponsored by: Department of History and the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America

January 11, 2016

In 1618 the German physician Michael Maier published an extraordinary multimedia emblem book, Atalanta fugiens, or “Atalanta fleeing.” The book offers its readers an alchemical interpretation of the Classical myth of Atalanta as a series of fifty emblems, each containing a motto, a copper plate engraving by the renowned Matthäus Merian, an epigram (in German and Latin), an accompanying fugue (or canon) for three voices, and a discourse explicating the emblem’s alchemical meaning. The parts of each emblem and the 214-page quarto book as a whole are meant to work together, with the music, image, and text as an interlocking guide to alchemical theory and to the production of the philosophers’ stone. The multimedia Atalanta fugiens was meant not only to link sound, sight, and intellect, but also to spark discussion and laboratory practice, making it an intriguing point of entry into an examination of the place of reading and writing – and their relationship to other bodily ways of knowing - in the production of early modern knowledge.

On Feb. 5-7, Tara Nummedal (History), Evelyn Lincoln (History of Art and Architecture/Italian Studies), and Donna Bilak (Columbia University) will host an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars at Brown to explore the book. Project Atalanta will kick off on Friday, Feb. 5 at 5:30pm in the Annmary Brown Memorial with a public performance/lecture, “Songs from Hesperides: Michael Maier’s 1618 Musical Alchemical Emblem Book, Atalanta fugiens” featuring Donna Bilak and the vocal ensemble Les Canards Chantants) and co-sponsored by Renaissance and Early Modern Studies.  The events will continue with a weekend workshop designed to explore the possibilities for a digital edition of the Atalanta fugiens with accompanying scholarly essays. The weekend events will take place in both the Hay Library (which houses a copy of the book) and the Digital Scholarship Lab in the Rockefeller Library, and will bring together historians, literary scholars, musicologists and performers, librarians, scientists, rare books and museum curators, and digital humanists from Brown and elsewhere, as well as local graduate and undergraduate students.

The Atalanta Workshop at Brown builds on Donna Bilak’s postdoctoral work on the Atalanta fugiens at the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF), a research library and center for scholars in Philadelphia, which culminated in a workshop held at CHF in March 2015 – the subject of this Philadelphia Inquirer article (16 March 2015), “Delving into a 400-year old puzzle book, through song” by Jason Laughlin.

The Brown workshop will continue the scholarly conversation and focus on the possibilities for digital scholarship presented by the book, and is made possible by the generous support of the Brown University Humanities Initiative Research and Teaching Fund, History Department, Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, and the University Library.

December 29, 2015

We are saddened to acknowledge the passing of Abbott "Tom" Gleason, an esteemed teacher, scholar, mentor, colleague, and friend. The Providence Journal obituary can be found here. In an all-campus email, President Christina Paxson noted "we have lost a truly special part of the Brown community." Plans are underway for a campus memorial service at the start of the spring semester.

October 27, 2015

The History faculty has new books for your consideration. Professor Jennifer Johnson's The Battle for Algeria: Sovereignty, Health Care, and Humanitarianism will appear this November from University of Pennsylvania Press. Professor Caroline Castiglione's Accounting for Affection: Mothering and Politics in Early Modern Rome was published earlier this year. Professor Tim Harris is celebrating the paperback edition of Rebellion: Britain's First Stuart Kings, as well as a new collection of essays, The Final Crisis of the Stuart Monarchy. Professor Robert Self has a new article, "The Reagan Devolution: Movement Conservatives and the Right’s Days of Rage, 1988–1994" in Recapturing the Oval Office: New Approaches to the American Presidency, and Visiting Assistant Professor Kelly Colvin has published "'A Well Made Up Woman': Aesthetics and Conformity in Postwar France" in the October 2015 issue of French Historical Studies.

October 6, 2015

 This year marks the 70th anniversary of the dawn of the atomic age.   The first detonation of a nuclear weapon at Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16,1945 was followed in short order by the first use of nuclear weapons in war, at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  In the months that followed, the scientific community and policy makers in the United States, the USSR, and elsewhere struggled to come to terms with the implications of what they had wrought.

The "70th Anniversary of the Atomic Age" lecture series is designed to launch a year-long discussion on campus that will focus on the origins and legacies of the atomic age.  The list of invitees reflects the series’ broad scope and chronological reach. Our speakers focus both on early moments in this history, including the decisions to use the atomic bombs on Japan and survivors’ efforts to come to terms with their experiences.  The series also explores the Soviet Union’s decision to launch a nuclear weapons program,  and the histories of the industrial sites and communities devoted to the production of plutonium.  All the speakers are historians, but the nature of their topics and expertise will appeal to an audience of diverse interests, ranging from international relations to environmental science, from physics to public history.

The next talk will be held on Thursday, October 29, at 4:00 PM in the Glenn and Darcy Weiner Center.  Professor Kate Brown of University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will be giving a talk entitled: "Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters."  We look forward to a spirited discussion.

Atomic Age PosterAtomic Age Poster

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