Event | Constructing the Sacred: Visibility and Ritual Landscape at the Egyptian Necropolis of Saqqara

On Friday, November 8, 2019 at 3 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Elaine Sullivan, Associate Professor of History at UC Santa Cruz, will give a talk entitled, “Constructing the Sacred: Visibility and Ritual Landscape at the Egyptian Necropolis of Saqqara.”

This event is free and open to the public.

Constructing the sacred: Visibility and ritual landscape at the Egyptian necropolis of Saqqara

This talk will discuss Sullivan’s forthcoming born digital publication which utilizes a 3D reconstruction model to examine the importance of visibility and landscape change at the ancient Egyptian necropolis of Saqqara. The project will be published as an online only monograph by Stanford University Press in winter 2020 and includes a dynamic 3D GIS model as part of the publication.  

Elaine Sullivan

Dr. Sullivan is an Egyptologist and a Digital Humanist. Her work focuses on applying new technologies to ancient cultural materials. She acts as the project coordinator of the Digital Karnak Project, a multi-phased 3D virtual reality model of the famous ancient Egyptian temple complex of Karnak.  She is project director of 3D Saqqara, which harnesses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technologies and 3D modeling to explore the ritual and natural landscape of the famous cemetery of Saqqara through both space and time. 

Her field experience in Egypt includes five seasons of excavation with Johns Hopkins University at the temple of the goddess Mut (Luxor), as well as four seasons in the field with a UCLA project in the Egyptian Fayum, at the Greco-Roman town of Karanis.

Because of a broad interest in the history and material culture of the larger ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean worlds, she has also excavated at sites in Syria, Italy and Israel. Dr. Sullivan received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Egyptian Art and Archaeology from Johns Hopkins University. Her B.A. (Magna Cum Laude) in History is from Duke University.

Date: Friday, November 8, 2019
Time: 3 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Announcement | Two New Projects Selected for Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative

The University Library and the Dean of the Faculty, together with the Digital Publications Advisory Board, are pleased to announce the selection of the next two long-form scholarly works to be developed as part of Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative.

At a Standstill, Moving: Gesture, Temporality and the Interval in Performance

Rebecca Schneider

At a Standstill, Moving: Gesture, Temporality and the Interval in Performance by Rebecca Schneider, Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, situates the importance of gesture within a wide range of performances. From the vibrancy of opera to the seeming standstill of stone, Schneider’s project offers a non-linear reading experience while focusing on the significance of the interval in order to explore multiple and intersecting temporalities.

The Past and Future of Chika Sagawa, Japanese Modernist Poet

Sawako Nakayasu. Photo by Mitsuo Okamoto

The Past and Future of Chika Sagawa, Japanese Modernist Poet by Sawako Nakayasu, Assistant Professor of Literary Arts, draws attention to an influential but largely overlooked female poet from early-twentieth-century Japan. Nakayasu’s project proposes an innovative use of interwoven media to illuminate the complex poetry of Chika Sagawa as well as to broaden the scope of literary translation.

With continued support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative seeks to advance humanities scholarship by providing a university-based approach to the development, evaluation, and publication of born-digital scholarly monographs. With oversight from Brown’s Digital Scholarship Editor, projects that are selected by the Initiative’s Digital Publications Advisory Board are developed as digital works that draw upon the capabilities of the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship. These scholarly works are then submitted to leading university presses that have corresponding academic interests and the infrastructure for peer review and digital publication.

In addition to Nakayasu and Schneider’s projects, digital works currently under development include: Furnace and Fugue: A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) with Scholarly Commentary, co-edited by Tara Nummedal, Professor of History, and Independent Scholar Donna Bilak (forthcoming with University of Virginia Press); Italian Shadows: A Curious History of Virtual Reality by Massimo Riva, Professor and Chair of Italian Studies; The Sensory Monastery: Saint-Jean-des-Vignes, co-authored by Sheila Bonde, Professor of History of Art and Architecture and Professor of Archaeology, and Clark Maines, Professor Emeritus of Art History at Wesleyan University; Islamic Pasts and Futures: Gazing at Horizons of Time by Shahzad Bashir, Director of Middle East Studies, Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Humanities, and Professor of Religious Studies; and Nicholas Brown and The Roman Revolution of 1848–1849 by David Kertzer, Paul R. Dupee, Jr. University Professor of Social Science, Professor of Anthropology, and Professor of Italian Studies.

To learn more about Brown’s digital scholarly publication program, contact Digital Scholarship Editor Allison Levy (allison_levy@brown.edu).

Announcement | Mellon Grant Continues Support of Digital Publications Initiative at Brown

With $775,000 from The Mellon Foundation, the Brown University Library, together with the Dean of the Faculty, extends its work with born-digital scholarly monographs.

Providence, R.I. [Brown University] Brown University has received a $775,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a second phase of its Digital Publications Initiative, launched in 2015 with an initial grant of $1.3 million. The Initiative, a collaboration between the University Library and the Dean of the Faculty, has established a novel, university-based approach to the development, evaluation, and publication of born-digital scholarly monographs.   

Following a successful initial phase, a second grant allows the University to consolidate its Initiative while continuing to advance the role of digital scholarship in the academy. From employing interactive simulations to nonlinear reading opportunities, these publications demonstrate how the digital environment is necessary for articulating and advancing scholarly argument beyond the capabilities of print. With oversight from Allison Levy, Brown’s Digital Scholarship Editor, projects that are selected by the Initiative’s faculty advisory board are developed as digital works that draw upon the capabilities of the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship. These digital scholarly works are then submitted to leading university presses that have corresponding academic interests and the infrastructure for peer review and digital publication.

“When Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin, former University Librarian Harriette Hemmasi, and I were developing the initial proposal for Mellon, we were sailing into uncharted waters,” said Joukowsky Family University Librarian Joseph S. Meisel, co-principal investigator for the Initiative. “But the Initiative has succeeded even beyond what we hoped for at the time. Mellon’s commitment to continued funding to help us consolidate these early successes and make the Initiative sustainable is a significant recognition of what we have managed to achieve. Our guiding principles have been to focus on scholarly excellence and to put the faculty’s vision for their work first.”

To date, five faculty publication projects in a range of humanities fields have been selected and are under development for the Initiative’s first phase, with a sixth project yet to be chosen from the most recent round of proposals. The first two projects are nearing publication. Over the next six years, with support from the new Mellon grant, the Initiative plans to add 4-5 new projects.

Furnace and Fugue screenshot

The first of the Initiative’s two pilot projects, Furnace and Fugue: A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) with Scholarly Commentary, will be published by the University of Virginia Press. Co-authored by Tara Nummedal, Professor of History, and independent scholar Donna Bilak, Furnace and Fugue revolves around a seventeenth-century German alchemical book. The second pilot project, Italian Shadows: A Journey into the New World and Other Tales of Imaginary and Forgotten Media by Massimo Riva, Professor and Chair of Italian Studies, takes as its focus the genealogy of virtual reality in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Italy.

A part of the Initiative from the earliest stages, Riva expresses the significance of working on Italian Shadows in the digital realm: “My project involves a rich and diverse set of visual and multimedia sources, as well as interactive models and simulations of historical artifacts, and could only have been conceived and implemented in a digital environment. Working with this exceptionally talented team of designers, editors, and librarians has opened new horizons to my scholarship and inspired me to explore new ways to share it with my peers, my students, and the public at large.”

The third project, The Sensory Monastery: Saint-Jean-des-Vignes by Sheila Bonde, Professor of History of Art and Architecture, and Clark Maines, Professor of Art History Emeritus at Wesleyan, explores the sensory experience of monasticism in medieval and early modern France. The fourth, Islamic Pasts and Futures: Gazing at Horizons of Time by Shahzad Bashir, Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Humanities and Director of Brown’s Middle East Studies program, rethinks the conjunction between Islam and temporality, spanning the centuries and regions where Islam has been a significant presence. The fifth, Nicholas Brown and the Roman Revolution of 1848–1849, by David Kertzer, Paul R. Dupee, Jr. University Professor of Social Science, Professor of Anthropology, and Professor of Italian Studies, re-examines the politics of nineteenth-century Italy via a trove of recently rediscovered correspondence.

Having arrived at a model of developing long-form digital scholarship, seeing growing interest in this effort on campus, and finding that leading academic publishers are receptive to the Initiative’s projects and approach, Brown is on a path to facilitating the creation and validation of new scholarly forms and helping to broker their dissemination through the most suitable venues for digital publication.

“With this renewed support from The Mellon Foundation, Brown will be able to continue to produce innovative digital publications that open new possibilities for the presentation and dissemination of scholarship by our faculty that is of the highest quality,” said Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin, co-principal investigator for the Initiative. “Each one of these digital publications creates new conditions for the production and circulation of humanist scholarship.”

Family Weekend Forum | Furnace & Fugue

Allison Levy headshot
Allison Levy, Digital Scholarship Editor

On Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 11 a.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, join Allison Levy of the Brown University Library’s Digital Publications Initiative for an engaging look at the changing face of 21st-century scholarship.

Free and open to the public.

A Q&A period will conclude the program.

Furnace & Fugue

Demoing the Initiative’s pilot project, Furnace and Fugue, alongside Atalanta fugiens, the rare and elegantly illustrated alchemical book that inspired it, Levy will show how Brown Professor of History Tara Nummedal has turned to innovative digital tools to create new and more dynamic scholarly experiences.

Screen capture of an interactive page from Furnace & Fugue

Re-rendering a multimedia 17th-century text as an online publication, Furnace and Fugue allows readers to hear, see, manipulate, and investigate a work in ways that were perhaps imagined when it was composed but were simply impossible to realize in full before now. Whether through interactive visualizations of modern notation or a multifunctional space that allows users to curate, save, and share their own selection and arrangement of alchemical emblems, Furnace and Fugue makes possible the capabilities implied by this early modern book with digital tools and features that also clarify and/or advance the arguments of the eight scholarly essays included in the work.

Allison Levy

Allison Levy is Digital Scholarship Editor at Brown University Library. An art historian educated at Bryn Mawr College, she has taught in the US, Italy, and the UK. Allison has published widely on the visual culture of early modern Italy and serves as General Editor of the book series Visual and Material Culture, 1300–1700, published by Amsterdam University Press.

Date: Saturday, October 19, 2019
Time: 11 a.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, Providence, RI

Event | Dr. Lindsey Jones: A database project on the education and incarceration of black girls in Jim Crow Virginia

On Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 4 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Dr. Lindsey Jones will give a talk about the database she is creating about the education and incarceration of black girls in Virginia during Jim Crow.

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

Dr. Jones is collecting information about the girls who were committed to the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls, the state of Virginia’s reformatory for black girls, operational between 1915 and the 1950s, after the courts across the state labeled them “delinquent.” The reformatory was designed by a statewide network of black women activists to protect and educate troubled black girls rather than punishing them for adolescent misbehaviors.

Lindsey Jones

Dr. Lindsey Jones, Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Education at Brown, is working on a book project that explores the education and incarceration of black girls in Jim Crow Virginia, focusing specifically upon the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls. As part of this project, Dr. Jones is designing a relational database to collect information about the individual girls who were committed to this reformatory.

This event is part of the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship dSalon series.

Date: Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect St, Providence

Workshop | Sustaining DH

Sustaining DH

On April 4 – 5, 2019, the Library hosted a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) workshop entitled, Sustaining DH: An NEH Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities. Brown is one of five sites in the US to host the two-day workshop.

Taught by University of Pittsburgh Professor Alison Langmead (Clinical Associate Professor and Director, Visual Media Workshop; Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences) and Chelsea Gunn (PhD candidate, Information Culture and Data Stewardship; research assistant Sustaining DH), the workshop is designed to help archivists, librarians, and digital humanities practitioners create sustainability plans and address preservation concerns at any point in the life of a digital humanities project.

Over the course of the two-day workshop, 35 attendees representing eight project teams from New England, New York, Canada, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania, critically examined their respective projects, creating detailed plans for sustainability and preservation.

Modernist Journals Project

Among the projects was the Modernist Journals Project, which was initiated at Brown by Professor Bob Scholes in 1994 and is jointly hosted by Brown and the University of Tulsa. It is currently supported by the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage with help from the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS).

Sustainability

In addition to creating sustainable plans for their own projects, the attendees are also encouraged to become trainers in these sustainability practices moving forward, and they can avail themselves of support as trainers through the Sustaining DH initiative. Members of the Brown community can make use of the resources and expertise available in the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship, which performs and promotes the use of digital technology for scholarship at Brown. The staff within CDS advise, design, and carry out projects and workshops for every discipline on campus.

A Student’s Journey through Special Collections and the Creation of “Fields of Hay”

A student-driven project led by undergraduate Shira Buchsbaum ’19, the recently launched website Fields of Hay offers students a guide for making use of the John Hay Library and Brown’s special collections resources.

Written by Shira Buchsbaum ’19

Mary Elizabeth Sharpe and My First Foray into Special Collections

My journey to the John Hay Library was meandering and inconsistent. My first semester at Brown, my writing professor, Kate Schapira, assigned a piece that required drawing from any archive in Brown’s libraries. I picked the Mary Elizabeth Sharpe collection, which ended up being 20 boxes of letters, blueprints, photographs, contracts, and designs from Sharpe’s life.

Mary Elizabeth Sharpe was married to Henry Dexter Sharpe, the Chancellor of Brown from 1932-1952, and she was a go-getter. Sharpe designed much of the landscaping on campus, including for the then-new Sharpe Refectory and, later, the Sciences Library. She was a critical player in establishing India Point Park and fighting oil money in Providence.

I learned all of this about Sharpe in a few afternoons at the Hay, sitting with her papers and imagining the fierceness of this lady who took meticulous notes about trellises and leaf piles on our campus greens. I kept Mary Elizabeth Sharpe in the back of my head throughout my first two years at Brown, marking the John Hay Library as the place where I learned about our highly manicured campus and the woman behind it.

“Howard terrace, Pembroke College, Providence, R.I.” (1960). Landscaping directed by Mary Elizabeth Sharpe. Images of Brown. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.

A Reintroduction: Shakespeare’s First Folio and Working at the Hay

My junior fall, I stumbled back into the building during a reception and met William Shakespeare’s first Folio on the second floor of the John Hay Library. Brought to tears as I turned the pages of this nearly 400-year-old volume, I asked the lady behind the table, “Do students, like, work here?” The serendipity of that moment landed me in the midst of archives and collections once again, this time as a collections assistant.

John Hay Library’s copy of Shakespeare’s first Folio. Photo by Shira Buchsbaum.

Fields of Hay: An Undergraduate Research Guide to the John Hay Library

In our first conversation, Heather Cole, my new boss, and I discussed creating a guide for undergraduates to access the John Hay Library with more ease. I spent the next 18 months chatting with curators, requesting materials, conducting research, and honing how to convey the richness and variety of the materials here and their availability for student scholarship.

On March 7, 2019, World Book Day, we launched Fields of Hay, the undergraduate research guide to the John Hay Library. On Fields of Hay, students can learn about materials housed at the Hay, read about standing collections, find information on how to request materials, see featured projects by other students, and register student academic or activity groups for programs at the Hay. Fields of Hay aims to demystify the Hay by demonstrating its accessibility and breadth of materials to all students. It also seeks to promote student scholarship by showing that working with primary resources need not be an elite, selective process: it is as simple as finding one compelling item and spending time with it. The website aims to transform haphazard, wayward discoveries of the Hay into a far-reaching, common experience for Brown students. Fields of Hay is home base.

The Impact of Special Collections and an Invitation

I wish I hadn’t treated my interaction with Mary Elizabeth Sharpe as a one-off experience designed for a single class with no lasting implications on my life at Brown. Had I been able to return to the Hay through mechanisms designed for me – through a website that clarified how I could ingratiate myself with these materials – I would have returned sooner. As soon as students arrive at Brown, Fields of Hay can guide them to original, exciting research, or simply enjoying items connected to their interests – no strings or requirements or assignments necessary. Come on in and get started.

Shira Buchsbaum ’19 studied Anthropology and English Non-Fiction Writing and was the primary creator of Fields of Hay, under the advisor-ship of Heather Cole. She wrote her senior thesis about curatorial decision-making for the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays as reflective of changing conceptions of American literature. Any inquiries about Fields of Hay and materials or programming at the Hay can be sent to shira_buchsbaum@brown.edu.

Exhibit | Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection Loan to The Watercolour World

French Garde Impériale and Garde Nationale during the Hundred Days, 1815. Denis Dighton 1792-1827

UK-based nonprofit organization The Watercolour World has added 93 items from the Brown University Library’s Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection to its online exhibition website, a free database of documentary watercolors painted before 1900.

Visit The Watercolour World and see the works from the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection.

The Watercolour World aims to “not simply preserve the watercolour record but revive it, sparking new conversations and revelations. By making history visible to more people, we can deepen our understanding of the world.”

The Library is pleased to have provided access to our digital archive of material in the Military Collection, which numbers more than 25,000 items. Through partnerships such as this, we are able to share the unique treasures in our collections with scholars and patrons around the world.

Event | Playing the Past – Archaeology and Video Games Play Well Together

On Sunday and Monday, January 27 and 28, 2019, Eva Mol and Carl Walsh, Postdoctoral Research Associates in Archaeology and the Ancient World at the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, hosted a conference and workshop at the Rockefeller Library entitled, “Playing the Past – Archaeology and Video Games Play Well Together.

Conference

On Sunday, speakers discussed the state of the field in gaming and archaeology with a specific focus on how interactive, virtual media function as a differential space for theory-crafting, historytelling, and public outreach. Seven presenters spoke about topics ranging from a case study of Assassin’s Creed: Origins, which is set in ancient Egypt, to the pedagogical uses of games set in ancient time periods, to the participatory creation of historical video games and environments by both experts and the public.

The presentations took place in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, which is equipped with a large-scale, high-resolution video wall comprised of twelve 55-inch high-resolution LED screens, allowing for crisp and responsive visual presentation of video games and other media.

Workshop

On Monday, Angus Mol and Aris Politopoulos of Leiden University and the VALUE Foundation taught workshop participants, including archaeologists, designers, critics and consumers, how to use Twine, an intuitive and powerful tool for digital storytelling and game design. The group made use of what was learned by building video games in the Library’s Sidney E. Frank Digital Studio. The Studio’s flexible space allowed the attendees to break into smaller groups and collaborate while using the room’s screen and whiteboards.

Date: Sunday and Monday, January 27 and 28, 2019
Time: All day
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab & Sidney E. Frank Digital Studio, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street

Exhibit | Works from “A Global History of Art & Architecture”

A course with Professors Sheila Bonde and Lindsay Caplan

Examine models and artwork created by students in Sheila Bonde’s and Lindsay Caplan’s lecture course, “A Global History of Art and Architecture”, which presents art, architecture, and material culture from cave paintings to installation art.  The works exemplify forms studied in the class.

Dates: December 20, 2018 – May 31, 2019
TimeJohn D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library Hours
Location: John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence