New Initiative Collaboration Grants


The John Carter Brown Library (JCB) is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s New Initiative Collaboration Grants, designed to foster new directions in humanities research and catalyze innovative partnerships across disciplines and departments on campus. We are especially pleased with the wide range of groups that answered this call and look forward to working with them to complete their projects over the course of the coming months.

The grantees and their sponsors come from the following departments and centers on the Brown campus: the Department of American Studies and Ethnic Studies; Department of English; Department of History; Department of the History of Art and Architecture; Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies; the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World; and the Brown University Library.

The following individual projects have received funding:

* The Axial Americas
A project that will bring historians, art historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists to the Brown campus and the JCB to discuss objects that traverse geographical space, especially those that cross the Equator along a North-South axis in the Americas. Chocolate, emeralds, llamas, the Aeneid, and alcohol have crossed these imaginary lines and altered the lives of people living on either side of them.
Grantee: Felipe Rojas, Assistant Professor of Archaeology, the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology
Grant Amount: $2,000
* On + Off Site: Moving Tropical Environments Between Continents
A project to explore the transfer of environments from the Caribbean to Europe following the period of Contact. The wealth of nature encountered by Europeans in the Americas required new ways to conceive of man’s place in the world and refigured his notion of Paradise, which was re-created in botanical gardens throughout Europe using materials from the Americas.
Grantee: William Skinner, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of the History of Art and Architecture [faculty advisors: Itohan Osayimwese, Department of the History of Art and Architecture; Lukas Rieppel, Department of History]
Grant Amount: $2,500
* Entangled Histories of Empire: Theory and Methods
A proposal to organize an international seminar at the John Carter Brown Library in May, 2015, focused around the concept of entangled histories of empire. The seminar will explore the notion that there existed a complex web of relationships that European empires entertained with each other and with non-European societies in the early modern world, and will bring Portugal into focus as a pioneer in the process of European expansion to Africa, the Americas and Asia.
Grantee: Roquinaldo Ferreira, Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies and Department of History
Grant Amount: $2,500
* Conquest and Cartography in Early New England
A project to explore the relationship between Brown University and its early founders and the Narrangansett Natives of Providence, using the process of re-naming geographic territories on early maps as a window onto the geographic erasure that directly parallels historic events of conquest by New England settlers, and especially King Philip’s War of 1676.
Grantee: Phoebe Young, Brown University ’17, BA in Public Policy and Race and Ethnic Studies [faculty advisor: Monica Muñoz Martinez, Department of American Studies and Ethnic Studies]
Grant Amount: $2,000
* The Asia-Pacific on Our Shelves
A project to develop an annotated bibliography of select resources in the John Carter Brown Library’s collection related to Pacific voyaging and interactions between the Americas and Asian Pacific regions, including Hawaii, the Philippines, South Pacific islands, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, and Korea.
Grantees: Caroline Frank, Elli Mylonas, Evelyn Hu-DeHart, and Jim Egan, Departments of American Studies, History, English, and the Brown University Library
Grant Amount: $2,000

With one of the world’s premier collections of primary materials related to the discovery, exploration, and settlement of the New World to 1825, the John Carter Brown Library is an independently funded institution for advanced research in the history and culture of the Americas located on the campus of Brown University. This pilot program of offering collaborative grants between Brown students and faculty and the Library highlights new ways of using the Library’s world-class collection and explores the Library’s newest programming initiatives, including those in environmental history, indigenous studies, book history, visual and material culture studies, and the Americas in a global context. The JCB is grateful to the Andrew J. Mellon Foundation for supporting this pilot research and programming initiative.

For more information, please contact the Library’s director at