Exhibit | In Solidarity: Exhibiting Civic Engagement, Protest, and Activism on Campus

On Wednesday, December 12, 2018 from 12 – 2 p.m., the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice will present In Solidarity: Exhibiting Civic Engagement, Protest, and Activism on Campus. The Brown University Library is taking part in this campus-wide, end of semester open gallery event, during which students and members of the community are invited to experience different perspectives on issues of social justice.

Each exhibition on the self-guided tour examines civic engagement, activism, and protest through archival documents, contemporary artwork, historic photographs, and music.

The Library’s exhibit, Protest & Perspectives: Students at Brown 1960s – 90s, was created by the Brown University Archives Fellows and can be viewed on the wall outside of the Patric Ma Digital Scholarship Lab in the Rockefeller Library.

Seven locations with eleven exhibits will be available on the tour. Click here for the list of spaces and exhibits and click here for a map of the participating galleries.

Date: Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Time: 12 – 2 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence, RI and other locations on campus

dSalon | A Digital Interface for 17th Century Texts in the Aymara Language of Peru

Join the Center for Digital Scholarship on Wednesday, January 23, 2018 at 2 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library for a dSalon discussion on “A digital interface for 17th century texts in the Aymara language of Peru.” Nicholas Emlen, Digital Fellow at the John Carter Brown Library, and Patrick Hall, PhD Candidate in the Department of Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will give a short introduction to their collaborative project and then will lead a discussion of some of the technical and conceptual issues involved in this project.

This event is part of the Center for Digital Scholarship’s dSalon series of presentations and discussions around digital scholarship. Free and open to the public.

A Digital Interface for 17th Century Texts in the Aymara Language of Peru

The project creates a digital interface that allows users to explore transcribed, translated, and linguistically analyzed versions of two seventeenth century Peruvian texts in the Aymara language. The first text is a nearly 600-page narrative written by a native Aymara speaker. The second is a dictionary—which is still the most comprehensive source on the Aymara language even today—that was compiled from that narrative text. The two texts are digitized and available online, but they are idiosyncratic and difficult to interpret, and in practice remain quite inaccessible to both scholars and Aymara speakers today.

The interface aims to open up accessibility to the texts and to provide a host of new analytical tools. One innovative aspect of the interface is that it provides integrated access to both texts at the same time. The narrative text and the dictionary fit together naturally, since the latter was compiled from the former. Thus, through the digital interface, users can search for a particular word or grammatical feature and call up examples from both the dictionary and the narrative text written by the 17th century Aymara speaker. This integration of analytical information from the dictionary with a sample of how the language was used by native speakers from the 17th century creates a powerful tool that can be used by historians, anthropologists, linguists, and native speakers alike.

Nicholas Emlen

Nicholas Emlen

Nicholas Q. Emlen is a Digital Fellow at the John Carter Brown Library and a Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology at Brown. He is a linguistic anthropologist who has conducted extensive ethnographic research on multilingualism, migration, and coffee production on the Andean-Amazonian agricultural frontier of Southern Peru. He also works on the reconstruction of Quechua-Aymara language contact in the ancient Central Andes, and on multilingualism among Quechua, Aymara, Puquina, and Spanish in the colonial Andes, using texts from the John Carter Brown Library’s collection.

Patrick Hall

Patrick Hall

Patrick Hall is a PhD candidate in linguistics at UC Santa Barbara. His work is focused on new approaches to designing and implementing software for language documentation using the standard, ubiquitous technologies of HTML, CSS, and Javascript. His data models and applications are based directly on documentary practice, resulting in tools which are robust, but nonetheless simple enough to be archived alongside the data they are used to produce.

Date: Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Time: 2 – 3:15 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence, RI

Announcement | 50 Year Anniversary of the Black Student Walkout: A Collaboration between Brown University Archives and WGBH

Produced by WGBH and reporter Gabrielle Emanuel, the video, “Fifty Years Ago, Black Students At Brown Walked Out For Change” is available on WGBH online.

Click here to read the WGBH story and see the video.

In addition to the video, the story will be told today during the “All Things Considered” afternoon broadcast, available at 89.3 and 89.7 FM in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Ms. Emanuel worked in collaboration with Jennifer Betts, Brown University Archivist and Interim Director of the John Hay Library and Special Collections, on this remarkable video that documents the Black Student Walkout at Brown on December 5, 1968. Today marks the 50th anniversary of this call to action by 65 Brown students of color, who demanded an increase in recruitment and admission of black students to Brown.

1968 Black Student Walkout

Part of a national movement by black college students, the 1968 walkout at Brown stands out for its longevity–students camped out at the Congdon Street Baptist Church for three days–and its success. As a result of this coordinated action and the serious negotiations between Brown administration and the student representatives that took place during the three-day protest, the University agreed to significantly enhance efforts around black student admission practices, with $12 million over three years earmarked for recruitment. According to a letter from President Christina Paxson to the Brown community:

The walkout ended on Dec. 9, when the students secured the University’s agreement to launch an effort to significantly increase the number of black students in each new class. Those students established a foundation for future generations of historically underrepresented students, including other black students, in advocating together for a better Brown.

Protest & Perspectives: Students at Brown 1960s-90s

This fall, the Library presented the exhibit Protest & Perspectives: Students at Brown 1960s–90s, which included the 1968 Black Student Walkout. Installed on the wall outside of the Patric Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, the exhibit was created by the Brown University Archives Fellows during the summer. They are:

  • Amyre S. Brandom, Xavier University of Louisiana, Leadership Alliance
  • Kayla Smith, Spelman College, Leadership Alliance
  • Rachel Souza, Brown University ‘21, Presidential Scholar

Click here to see the online exhibit about the Walkout.

Days of Absence: The 1968 Black Student Walkout at Brown

In addition, the Library hosted the exhibit Days of Absence: The 1968 Black Student Walkout at Brown in the Lownes Room of the John Hay Library in September. The exhibition, curated by Bernicestine and Harold Bailey, was created in conjunction with the Black Alumni Reunion.

Social Justice & Special Collections at the Brown University Library

The Library’s collections contain a vast source of material related to social justice on campus and throughout the world. Open to the public and easily accessible to all Brown students and faculty, the John Hay Library and its knowledgeable staff are available to all researchers interested in working with the unique, fascinating, revelatory, and, in many cases, priceless items waiting to be explored.

Collections of interest in this area of study include (but are not limited to):

Event | RavenSpace: A Collaborative Model for Digital Publishing in Indigenous Studies with Darcy Cullen and Beth Fuget

Join the Brown University Library on Friday, November 30, 2018 from 12 – 1:15 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library for a talk entitled, “RavenSpace: A Collaborative Model for Digital Publishing in Indigenous Studies.” Darcy Cullen, Assistant Director of RavenSpace: Digital Publishing in Indigenous Studies at UBC Press, The University of British Columbia, and Beth Fuget, Grants and Digital Projects, University of Washington Press (Chair), will talk about this collaborative project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This event is free and open to the public. A light reception will follow the talk.

RavenSpace: A Collaborative Model for Digital Publishing in Indigenous Studies

As scholarship evolves to take advantage of digital forms and contexts and scholars seek new ways to reach the various audiences they want to engage, the scholarly communications infrastructure is responding and adapting publication practices to meet changing needs. RavenSpace is a new publishing platform for media-rich, networked, interactive books in Indigenous studies that provides a digital space where communities and scholars can work together to share and create knowledge. Based on Scalar and other open-source technologies, and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the platform meets the standards of peer-reviewed academic publishing and respects Indigenous protocols for accessing and using cultural heritage and traditional knowledge. It supports collaborative authorship and offers different paths through the work for different audiences. Darcy Cullen and Beth Fuget will discuss the development and goals of this new model of publishing.

Darcy Cullen

Darcy Cullen is Assistant Director, Acquisitions, at the University of British Columbia Press and the Principal Investigator for RavenSpace. She has written about the collaborative nature of publishing in Editors, Scholars, and the Social Text, and is an ardent supporter of new modes of book publishing that take account of digital, networked, and collaborative scholarship.

Beth Fuget

Beth Fuget manages grants and digital projects for the University of Washington Press, where she is currently launching their first open access books. She has also worked as an acquisitions editor at the press and before that, as a writer, editor, translator, and teacher.

Date: November 30, 2018
Time: 12 – 1:15 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence, RI

Events | Pizza Nights

What’s that smell? Books? Stress?
No, it’s pizza!

Brought to you by the Brown University Library and Campus Life, Pizza Nights will be there for you when you need them most–during finals.

At 9 p.m. on these two nights, in these two library locations, enjoy the goodness that is sauce, cheese, and a break from studying:

  • Tuesday, December 11: Lobby, The Rock
  • Wednesday, December 12: Friedman Study Center, SciLi


Dates: December 11 and 12, 2018
Time: 9 p.m.
Location: Rockefeller Library and Sciences Library

Workshops | Reading, Resisting, and Reimagining The Map

The John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, the Brown University Library Center for Digital Scholarship, and the John Carter Brown Library present a series of events that ask us to think about the uses of maps, data, and visualizations in the stories we tell about place, identity, and migration. Entitled, Reading, Resisting, and Reimagining The Map, the series consists of three workshops:

Visualizing Precarious Lives in Torn Apart / Separados
Thursday, November 1 from 12 – 1 p.m.
Lecture Room (1st Floor), Nightingale-Brown House (357 Benefit St.), John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage
Dr. Roopika Risam (Assistant Professor of English, Salem State University) discusses her work on Torn Apart / Separados, a highly-collaborative project that uses digital tools to reveal troubling stories about immigration policy, incarceration, and the humanitarian crisis caused by the work of ICE in the United States.

Before There Were Lines Along the Rio Grande
Friday, November 2 from 12 – 1 p.m.
MacMillan Reading Room, John Carter Brown Library
Drawing on the rich collection of rare books and maps at the JCB, curators, librarians, and researchers will provide a critical context for how northern Mexico and what would become the southern United States was experienced during a colonial era that predated the modern nation-state. A historical perspective enables us to understand how these liminal spaces were imagined in an era before electronic surveillance and satellite imagery.

Thinking Critically About Data
Tuesday, November 6 from  3 – 4 p.m.
Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library
Data sets tell stories, support arguments, and help us map and visualize information, but they aren’t neutral. How do you create and visualize data points that aren’t stable, such as data models of identity (e.g. race, gender)? How can we create data models that reflect people’s lived experiences? In this workshop, we’ll analyze and create a dataset, exploring what our data says and what it doesn’t.

For more information on the workshop and the topic of analyzing datasets, click to read “Thinking Critically About Data” by Ashley Champagne, Digital Humanities Librarian at the Brown University Library.

Workshop | Thinking Critically About Data

Ashley Champagne, Digital Humanities Librarian

On Tuesday, November 6, 2018 from 3 – 4 p.m., Ashley Champagne, Digital Humanities Librarian, will offer a workshop entitled, “Misconceptions of Data: Thinking Critically About Data.” Part of the Reading, Resisting, and Reimagining The Map series, the workshop will take place in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library. The workshops are free and open to the public.

Thinking Critically About Data

Despite our increasingly digital world, data sets on all kinds of topics are missing, limited, and misunderstood. Mimi Onuoha uses the term “missing data sets” for “the blank spots that exist in spaces that are otherwise data-saturated.” She documents a series of questions that have no answers. Questions like, “How many people have been excluded from public housing because of criminal records?” are impossible to answer because there is incomplete, unreliable, missing data. And even when data sets exist, they may not be publicly accessible.

The team behind the Torn Apart / Separados project encountered the lack of data surrounding the question of where children were living after they were separated from their parents due to Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy in 2018. Public discourse surrounding the crisis focused on how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials held children at the United States/Mexico border. But the Torn Apart / Separados map tells a different story due to the data that the team rapidly collected, analyzed, and published. ICE centers holding children separated from their parents are all over – not just along the border, but in the middle of the United States and everywhere in between.

The Torn Apart / Separados team were thankfully able to collect the data they needed, but for certain research questions there is little quantitative data to gather. Particularly in such cases, qualitative data can illuminate areas of study where quantitative data is limited or impossible to gather. The population size of transgender individuals in the United States, for example, isn’t well known partly because there isn’t a lot of data on gender identity. One way to find out some information on questions that do not have clear answers is to collect qualitative data, like articles that include the word “transgender,” and explore that qualitative data through text mining. Text mining offers the researcher the ability to find patterns and themes in large corpora.

One of the ways the Torn Apart / Separados team went about collecting the data was by using Application Programing Interfaces (APIs). At the Center for Digital Scholarship in the Brown University Library, we teach workshops on everything from data literacy to text analysis to thinking critically about data. On behalf of our center, I’m offering a workshop to explore how to use an API to collect full text articles to create a dataset.

APIs offer limited information, such as the web URLs, keywords, titles, and sometimes other metadata. They will get researchers part of the way to collecting a qualitative dataset, but not the whole way there. But from the initial API data, we can use web scraping software to gather full text articles. There will always be missing data sets, but beginning to collect data to find answers to our questions is a good start. 

Ashley Champagne
Digital Humanities Librarian
Brown University Library

Date: Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Time:  3 – 4 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence, RI

Event | Whiteness, Indigeneity, and Power in Amazonia with Michael Cepek

On Friday, November 2, 2018 at 4 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Michael Cepek will give a talk entitled, “Whiteness, Indigeneity, and Power in Amazonia.” Sponsored by the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and the Brown University Library, this event is free and open to the public. A light reception will follow the talk.

This talk is part of the Sawyer Seminar series on race and indigeneity in the Americas. The event will be hosted Professor James Green, Professor of Modern Latin American History and Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, and director of the Brazil Initiative. Special remarks will be given by student Hugo Lucitante ’19, co-founder of the Cofán Heritage Project whose mission is to preserve the culture and history of the Cofán tribe of which he is a member.

Michael Cepek

Michael Cepek is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. His research explores the relationship between environmental change, cultural difference, and political power at the margins of global orders. In his studies with indigenous Cofán people in the Amazonian forests, Andean foothills, and capital city of Ecuador, he investigates cultural politics, environmental conservation projects, and environmental justice movements from the perspective of longstanding concerns in social theory and emerging debates in the anthropology of Latin America.

In addition, he is a fellow in the program for Science Action for Conservation & Community at the Field Museum of Natural History, and he works as Book Review Editor for Environment and Society: Advances in Research, a publication affiliated with the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Cepek is also president of the board of the Cofán Survival Fund, a non-profit organization that supports Cofán-directed conservation and sustainable development initiatives in Amazonian Ecuador.

Date: Friday, November 2, 2018
Time:  4 – 6 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence, RI

Visitors Enjoyed Brown’s East Asian Collection Open House

EAC work team and two Brown students (Left to right: Sam Chowning, Benjamin Davis, Toshiyuki Minami, Dr. Li Wang, Whitney Su, Milanca Wang, and Yanhoo Cho) Photo: Jenny Li

On Friday, October 19, 2018, as part of Family Weekend activities at the Rockefeller Library, the East Asian Collection (curated by Dr. Li Wang) hosted its Open House event. Many of the collection’s rare books, albums, and replications of famous calligraphic scrolls and traditional-style paintings were on display. The event was a major success, attracting large crowds of parents, faculty members, students, and those with an interest in the region’s rich cultural heritage. Visitors were enthusiastic to inspect the original Chinese ancient texts housed in the unique traditional-style cabinets of the Gardner Room of the East Asian Collection. Various beautifully bound texts from China, Korea, and Japan also captured the attention of visitors. The books covered a wide variety of topics such as Chinese printing culture, Tang and Song Dynasty poetry, Korean gardens, and Japanese children’s art.

Benjamin Davis, a 5th year master’s student in electrical engineering, when asked about his impression of the event, responded, “I originally came to the Open House event just because my friend who works there told me to, but being here, I’m really enjoying everything. I found this circular book on traditional Chinese currency, and even though I can’t read what it says, now I know what ancient Chinese money looks like, which is something I wouldn’t have known if I did not come here today!”

The East Asian Collection, a branch library located on the third floor of the Rockefeller Library, was developed from the original 30,000 volumes (the vast majority of which were Chinese texts) of “the Gardner Collection.” Now the Collection holds nearly 200,000 volumes of East Asian language print books, in addition to a good amount of print serials, audio-video materials, electronic resources (e-books, e-journals, and databases, etc.) and other formats. It has been recognized as one of the most distinguished mid-size East Asian libraries in North America.

Prof. Charles S. Gardner (1900-1966 Source: Gardner family

The Gardner Collection was donated to the University by the renowned Harvard Sinologist, Charles Sidney Gardner, who lived in China during the 1920s and 30s and specialized in the study of Qing Dynasty history. Gardner not only collected a large number of ancient Chinese books, he also cultivated close relationships with many renowned Chinese scholars, including Hu Shih and Yang Lien-Sheng. There were items displayed regarding Gardner’s personal life, his publications, and letter correspondence with Chinese scholars at the Open House event. Some of these works were on display to the public for the first time, including Gardner’s family pictures, which were donated by his granddaughter, Professor Sarah Beckjord at Boston College, and some other materials recently discovered by East Asian Collection Curator, Dr. Li Wang.

The session concluded with a reading of a passage by Gardner on the importance of understanding China’s past and present to understand the power, presence, and influence it has in today’s world. In an article published in 1944, “The future of Chinese studies in America,” Prof. Gardner writes:

Whatever of evil has emerged from the present world conflagration, one good at least may be set against it: a new and rather startled awareness on the part of multitudes of Americans of certain fundamental similarity of outlook shared by the Chinese and ourselves. That bond may be in part expressed in terms of self-restraint, moderation, practical common sense, and respect for individual human dignity. There has come too a new awareness of our national ignorance, our insularity, provincialism; and with it a desire for light, for study of the Chinese civilization which we now increasingly see is superficially strange, but underneath so basically like our own. It is becoming clear that tomorrow will bring ever more insistent demands for those who can speak the national language of China, for those who can read her new living written tongue, and for those who possess the science to translate with precision her vast traditional literary heritage of twenty-five centuries’ growth. Against such demands of the morrow it is prudent to take thought and prepare today. The Chinese Library of the University will be the indispensable instrument of scholarship.

The East Asian Collection Open House event was a delightful experience for all. The room was abuzz with activity and excitement throughout the afternoon as people came in and out. The East Asian Collection is truly a valuable campus resource for anyone who wishes to learn more about all things related to East Asian culture.

Whitney Su ’22

Event | East Asian Collection Open House

Candi-avalokitesvara, Qing Dynasty, from Gems of Paintings for Water-and-Land Service of the Ming and Qing Dynasties

In celebration of Family Weekend, the East Asian Collection will host an Open House on Friday, October 19, 2018 from 3 – 4:30 p.m. in the Gardner Room. Come see various publications, rich book art, and printing culture from three East Asian countries: China, Japan, and Korea. 

Located on the third floor of the Rockefeller Library, the Gardner Room houses more than 9,000 volumes of bound books in traditional Chinese bookcases and is one of the most distinguished mid-sized East Asian libraries in North America.

The East Asian Collection was begun in 1961 with the valuable donation of Harvard sinologist, Professor Charles Sidney Gardner, who visited China during the 1920s and 1930s. Not only had he collected a large number of Chinese ancient books, but he also cultivated close relationships with many Chinese scholars, including Hu Shih and Yang Lien-Sheng. At the open house, there will be items displayed regarding Gardner, his works, and his friendship with Chinese scholars. Some of these works will be on display to the public for the first time, including Gardner’s family pictures, donated by his granddaughter, Professor Sarah Beckjord of Boston College, and some other materials recently discovered by East Asian Curator, Dr. Li Wang.

Click here to read a summary of the open house, written by student Whitney Su ’22.

Dates: October 19, 2018
Time:  3 – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Gardner Room, Third Floor, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence, RI