February 20, 2016

Dr. Michael Vorenberg's talk on "Voting Rights and the Meaning of Freedom: The View from the Civil War Era", a part of the Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series was broadcasted on WUIS NPR Illinois radio station on February 11, 2016. Each year, around the time of Lincoln's birthday, the Center for State Policy and Leadership at the University of Illinois, Springfield broadcasts the previous fall’s lectures on their public radio station. You can find the recap of the lecture here.

February 18, 2016

In her course “Refugees: A Twentieth-Century History,” Professor Vazira Zamindar presented students with the opportunity to confront the global refugee crisis through a small cardboard box and a smartphone. What the students saw was “The Displaced,” an eleven-minute virtual reality film created by the New York Times specifically to be viewed through a Google Cardboard apparatus. The Brown Daily Herald covered the experience in a February 16th article, which can be viewed here. In the article, Professor Zamindar was quoted as saying that she "planned the exercise for the course with the hope it would provoke students to think critically about the refugee crisis and how the news media portray displaced people."

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.

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