Exhibit | Dis/Assemble: Making Meaning from the Minassian Collection

Leaf, Minassian Collection of Persian, Mughal, and Indian Miniature Paintings

Dis/Assemble

Dis/Assemble is a collaborative effort by graduate students from across ten different humanities disciplines to construct narratives around a continuously moving archive: the Minassian Collection of Persian, Mughal, and Indian Paintings and Calligraphies at Brown University. This collection evokes questions of assemblage and disassemblage, from sifting the extraordinary from the ordinary to practices of collecting and taxonomizing. Visitors are invited to participate in the creative act of engaging with fragments and fragmentation as they behold, imagine, and truly see the objects on view.

Opening Reception & Curator’s Introduction

Monday, March 9, 2020
4:30 p.m.
John Hay Library

Discussion

“Making Meaning from the Minassian Collection”
Monday, March 9, 2020
5:30 p.m.
Lownes Room, John Hay Library

Guests

  • Dr. Navina Haidar, Nasser Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah Curator in Charge of the Department of Islamic Art
  • Dr. Maryam Ekhtiar, Associate Curator of the Department of Islamic Art                      The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Dates: March 9, 2019 – May 25, 2020
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: Exhibition Gallery, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Event | John Laudun – “Are We Not Doing Phrasing Anymore?”: Towards a Cultural Informatics

On Wednesday, February 26, 2020 at 12 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, John Laudon, PhD will give a talk, “‘Are We Not Doing Phrasing Anymore?’: Towards a Cultural Informatics.” Organized by the Data Science Initiative, the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, and the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship.

Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

“Are We Not Doing Phrasing Anymore?: Towards a Cultural Informatics

Recent headlines reveal the profound suspicion with which statistical methods have been received within the humanities. The pervasive belief is that a chasm lies between statistics and the humanities that not only cannot be bridged but should not be attempted, at the risk of losing the human. And yet slowly and steadily, a growing number of practitioners have not only developed research programs but also pedagogical methods that open up new analytical perspectives as well as new avenues for students to explore their relationship between the subject matter and their own understanding.

This talk offers a small survey of various practices to be found in the digital humanities alongside a few experiments by the author in allowing students to experience how statistical methods in fact demystify the meaning-making process in language and empower students not only to ground their insights in things they can see and count, but also in understanding texts as nothing more than certain sequences of words, opening a path to making them better writers as well.

Working from a broad survey to narrow applications, the talk suggests that concerns about a loss of humanity in the humanities is actually a concern for loss of certain kinds of authority, but that new kinds of authority are possible within which researchers and teachers will find a firm ground from which to offer interpretations and evaluations of the kinds of complex artifacts that have long been the purview of the domain.

John Laudun, PhD

John Laudun received his MA in literary studies from Syracuse University in 1989 and his PhD in folklore studies from the Folklore Institute at Indiana University in 1999. He was a Jacob K. Javits Fellow while at Syracuse and Indiana (1987 – 1992), and a MacArthur Scholar at the Indiana Center for Global Change and World Peace (1993 – 1994). He has written grants that have been funded by the Grammy Foundation and the Louisiana Board of Regents, been a fellow with the EVIA Digital Archive, and a scholar in residence with UCLA’s Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics. His book, The Amazing Crawfish Boat, is a longitudinal ethnographic study of creativity and tradition within a material folk culture domain.

Laudun’s current work is in the realm of culture analytics. He is engaged in several collaborations with physicists and other scientists seeking to understand how texts can be modeled computationally in order to better describe functions and features.

Date: Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Announcement | #LibraryLove Poetry at the Rock

This Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14, 2020, look for 10 posters of poems hanging around the Rock. Written by poets who identify as LGBTQ+ and/or as members of historically underrepresented groups, the poetry offers readers an opportunity to engage with love from different perspectives.

Readers can also vote for you favorite poem of the ten selected, tell us your all time favorite poem and item in the Library, and provide feedback, if you like, for what the Library can do or do better to make all feel welcome and supported.

Vote here

The winner: “Separation” by W. S. Merwin.

Thanks for voting!

The poems on display:

  1. Harjo, Joy. For Keeps by Joy Harjo – Poems | Academy of American Poets. https://poets.org/poem/keeps. Accessed 13 Feb. 2020.
  2. Vuong, Ocean. “In Defense of Dancing.” Guernica, 1 Apr. 2012, https://www.guernicamag.com/in-defense-of-dancing/.
  3. Asghar, Fatimah. “My Love for Nature by Fatimah Asghar.” Poetry Magazine, 13 Feb. 2020, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/90290/my-love-for-nature.
  4. Oberman, Miller. “On Trans by Miller Oberman.” Poetry Magazine, 13 Feb. 2020, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/57983/on-trans.
  5. Jordan, June. “Poem for My Love by June Jordan.” Poetry Foundation, 13 Feb. 2020, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/49218/poem-for-my-love.
  6. Lorde, Audre. “Recreation by Audre Lorde.” Poetry Foundation, 13 Feb. 2020, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/42579/recreation.
  7. Merwin, Poetry. “Separation by W. S. Merwin.” Poetry Magazine, 13 Feb. 2020, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/28891/separation-56d21285b2140.
  8. Cassarino, Stacie. “Snowshoe to Otter Creek.” Zero at the Bone, 1st ed., New Issues Poetry and Prose, 2009, p. 91.
  9. Larkin, Poetry. “Want by Joan Larkin.” Poetry Foundation, 13 Feb. 2020, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/54384/want.
  10. Limón, Ada. “What I Didn’t Know Before.” The Carrying, Milkweed Editions, 2018, p. 120.

It is the Library’s sincere hope that all members of the Brown community feel welcome and supported in our physical and virtual spaces. We have the privilege and responsibility to steward and highlight works by writers and researchers of all backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Representation is important.

Love comes in many forms. On Valentine’s Day, we appreciate you joining us in a love for poetry and for all the ways in which we can love and support each other, today and every day.

This is YOUR Brown University Library. You belong here.

Event | The Evolving Image of Shaker Life with Rob Emlen

On Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at 4 p.m. in the Lownes Room of the John Hay Library, Rob Emlen will discuss his newly-published book Imagining the Shakers, based in part on research in the Hay’s Special Collections.

The Evolving Image of Shaker Life

In the half century between 1830 and 1880, the American public encountered the first visual images of this country’s oldest and largest communal religious society. Published as newspaper and magazine illustrations or as separate engravings and lithographs meant to be framed and displayed, these prints reveal the changing ways in which Americans imagined the radically nonconformist Shakers, evolving from suspicion and ridicule to acceptance as a valued part of the cultural landscape of the nation.

Rob Emlen

Rob Emlen is a Visiting Scholar in American Studies at Brown University and a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He recently retired as university curator and senior lecturer in American Studies at Brown, and as a part-time faculty member in the Theory and History of Art and Design at the Rhode Island School of Design. During his 34 years at Brown he conducted much of the research for his book Imagining the Shakers in the collections of the John Hay Library.

Date: Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

To request special services, accommodations, or assistance for this event, please contact Jennifer Braga at Jennifer_Braga@brown.edu or (401) 863-6913 as far in advance of the event as possible. Thank you.

Exhibit | Early American & English Bookplates 18th-20th C.

Sonia Lustig
Bookplate Collection

Bookplates are also known as “ex libris” and include a name, motto, and motif. Decorated pieces of paper found on the inside of books, ex libris have practical, historical and social associations that trace back to 15th century Germany, around the time of the invention of the printing press. They not only promote the return of borrowed books and provide a trail of documented ownership, their artistic design also conveys the personalities of book owners and the practical and imaginary worlds inhabited by them.

View bookplates for Henrietta Countess of Pomfret Lady of the Bedchamber to the Queen (1698–1761), Massachusetts Medical Society (1781), and Louis-Rene Quentin de Richebourg of Champcenetz (1759–1794), among others.

Exhibit Dates: February 6 – March 31, 2020
Exhibit TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Event | #LibraryLove 2020

This Valentine’s Day – Friday, February 14 – let us know what you think is the greatest thing at the Library, enjoy cookies, write a love letter, explore poetry, and make a button from a special collections print. Available from 12 – 3 p.m. in these library locations:

  • Rockefeller Library, Sorensen Family Reading Room
  • John Hay Library, First Floor Lobby & Lounge
  • Sciences Library, Lobby
  • Orwig Music Library, Circulation Area

What do you love about the Library? 📚

We want to know about the book / journal / artifact / tool / technology / chair / view / librarian that you found through the Library that has had an effect on you. Please tell us by submitting a comment or posting to social with #LibraryLove at:

Cookies + ❤️

There will be cookies and a taped up heart in four library locations, along with sticky notes and pens. We invite you to write what you love about the Library on a sticky note and put it up on the wall with the heart.

Love Letters 💌 📬

Each location will also have available complimentary greeting cards from the Friends of the Library collection. Please help yourself to a card, write a love letter, seal and address the envelope (you will need to know the address), and place it in the box near the cards. The Library will mail it for you!

Poetry ✍︎ 🎼

Explore ten poems by writers who identify as LGBTQ+ and/or as members of historically underrepresented groups, printed out on posters at the Rock. Take a photo of your favorite poem or book of poetry. Video yourself reciting poetry or singing a love song. Post an original poem. #LibraryLove

Buttons 😍

Make a button out of priceless special collections materials! A button maker, fixings, and (prints of) eye catching items from the Hay’s special collections will be available in the lobby of the John Hay Library from 12 – 3 p.m.

Exhibit | Intercalary Event 2020

Works by
Katie Bullock, Faculty, Glass, Rhode Island School of Design
Jocelyne Prince, Faculty, Glass, Rhode Island School of Design
Sean Salstrom, Graduate Study, Glass, Rhode Island School of Design

Artists approach research differently than scientists. The freedom through which artists pursue research allows their inquiries to breed multivalent results, often seemingly unconnected results which can then act as springboards to new ways of seeing and communicating with the world. Bullock, Prince and Salstrom’s artistic practices cultivate curiosity that interposes surprising elements into the narrative of objectivity and data, and in doing so, invite intercalary events in the vitrines of the Hay Library.

Intercalary Event 2020 exhibition locations include the John Hay Library, Chazan Gallery at The Wheeler School and Ladd Observatory.

Opening reception: Thursday, February 13th, 5 – 7PM

Exhibit Dates: January 21, 2020 – December 18, 2020
Exhibit TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Willis Reading Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Events | Love Data Week 2020

What is Love Data Week?

Love Data Week is an international celebration of data, aiming to raise awareness and build a community to engage on topics related to research data management, sharing, preservation, reuse, and library-based research data services.

#LoveData20

Join us and register for Brown’s Inaugural Love Data Week February 10 – 14, 2020!

Brown’s Love Data Week is sponsored by the Office of Vice President for Research (OVPR) and the University Library. 

What is the theme for 2020?

The theme of Love Data Week 2020 is get to know the data specialists at your institution, the kinds of work they do, and the data and associated issues with which these data specialists engage.

Who should I contact to learn more?

To participate or get more information, email data_management@brown.edu.

Announcement | Hortense J. Spillers Papers Open for Research

The Pembroke Center’s Feminist Theory Archive and the John Hay Library are proud to announce that the Hortense J. Spillers papers are open for research.

Spillers is an American literary critic, Black feminist scholar, and the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in English at Vanderbilt University. Her research addresses literary criticism, race and gender; linguistics; the African diaspora; Black culture; and sexuality. She is best known for her 1987 article, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book,” one of the most cited essays in African-American literary studies today.

The Hortense J. Spillers papers include handwritten diaries and journals on topics ranging from critical race theory and Moby Dick to the assassination of Robert Kennedy and Spillers’ first trip abroad in 1968. The collection also includes personal and professional correspondence with scholars such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Gayatri Spivak; and drafts of her talks, articles, and books, including “Isom,” “Conjuring,” and “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe.” Materials in this collection date from 1966 to 1995.

Spillers contributed her papers to the Feminist Theory Archive in the name of the Black Feminist Theory Project, established by the Pembroke Center in 2016.

For information on how to access these collections, please contact the Pembroke Center Archivist at pembroke_archives@brown.edu.

Announcement | Digitization of Historic Campus Speeches with CLIR Grant

Speeches by Civil Rights leaders and other renowned public intellectuals will be preserved and made available for scholarship.

Providence, R.I. [Brown University] The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has awarded the Brown University Library $23,215 from its Recordings at Risk program. One of 13 projects selected out of 34 to receive grants from the program, the Library’s proposal, “Brown University Archives Audio-Visual Collection: Global Perspectives from Campus Speeches,” will allow us to digitize and make available to the public a large selection of audio and video recordings of speeches by leading public figures invited to Brown between 1950 and 1995. 

Brown University students on the College Green, 1969

103 cassette tapes, 198 film reels, and 44 VHS tapes–345 items total–will be digitized through use of the funding. This substantial set of materials document changing intellectual and social currents across the United States and the world on topics including social justice, politics, education, and the media–all of which still resonate today. There is a particularly fascinating set of recordings from Civil Rights leaders, notably Ralph Abernathy, Shirley Chisholm, Martin Luther King, Jr., and A. Philip Randolph. 

Over the next nine months, outside vendor George Blood LP will convert the media into digital files. A team of Special Collections staff and students will review the digitized files and create accurate and complete descriptive information. The final content will be uploaded into the Brown Digital Repository, where it will be available for research in October 2020.