Lecture | Gestural Indebtedness: Social Obligation and Circulations of Dance Online with Harmony Bench

HarmonyBenchJoin the Brown University Library and the Department of Music on Wednesday, October 22 at 6 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab for a lecture by Harmony Bench entitled, “Gestural Indebtedness: Social Obligation and Circulations of Dance Online.” In her talk, Bench will consider the impact of “spreadable media” and what has been called the sharing economy on the ways that dance circulates in and through digital spaces.

In particular, she will argue that analyzing dance as partaking in a gift economy, with its attendant social obligations, sheds light on some of the tensions that arise when movements and gestures circulate beyond the communities that produce them. Gifts are never free, as Marcel Mauss argues. How, then, do economies of movement operate when dancers source their material from YouTube or video games, thus removing themselves from reciprocal relationships vis a vis other practitioners and movement innovators? What other forms of relationality appear as dancers assert a collective ownership of popular choreographies such as those in music videos? And how does the position of “fan” differ from that of “artist” when considering these alternate economies of movement?

Free and open to the public, this event is part of the Department of Music’s Fall Colloquium series.

Harmony Bench is Assistant Professor of Dance at Ohio State University, where she teaches in the areas of Critical Dance Studies, Dance History, and Performance Studies. Her research focuses on digital and screen media as they intersect with and inform choreography, movement, gesture, and dance as a social practice. She is the incoming co-editor of the International Journal of Screendance and serves as Secretary on the board of directors for the Congress on Research in Dance. She is currently working on a book entitled Dance as Common: Movement as Belonging in Digital Cultures. Harmony received her PhD in Culture and Performance from UCLA, and she holds additional degrees in Performance Studies from NYU and in Ballet and Women’s Studies from the University of Utah.

Date: October 22, 2014
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: The Patrick Man Digital Scholarship Lab, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence


George R.R. Martin and Tom Doherty to Receive Library’s Harris Collection Literary Award


Join the Brown University Library and Friends of the Library for an evening with distinguished author George R. R. Martin and renowned publisher Tom Doherty. A brief awards ceremony will kick off the event, followed by an interview with Martin and Doherty, led by Modern Culture and Media Professor Lynne Joyrich and local author Jon Land ’79.

Complimentary tickets for this event will be available to Brown ID holders only on Monday, October 6 at 12 p.m. through this website:


This event is brought to campus by the Friends of the Brown University Library.

Please visit the Harris Collection Literary Award website for more information about this exciting event, the award recipients, and the Award itself.


Date: Thursday, October 23, 2014
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Salomon Center for Teaching and Learning, De Ciccio Family Auditorium

John Hay Night at the Hay Library with Authors John Taliaferro and Joshua Zeitz

513RZiM7VHLAvailable February 2014

Ever wondered who John Hay was? On Wednesday, October 1 at 5:30 p.m. in the Lownes Room of the John Hay Library, you will have the chance to learn more about Brown’s most illustrious alumnus, a poet and diplomat who served three presidents—two of them as Secretary of State. Two authors, John Taliaferro and Joshua Zeitz AM’98, PhD’02, will discuss and sign their recent books about Hay, which will be available for purchase on site. Associate Professor of History Michael Vorenberg will introduce the speakers. A Q&A and reception will follow the talk. This event is free and open to the public.

John Taliaferro

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John Taliaferro is a graduate of Harvard College and a former senior editor at Newsweek. He is the author of four previous books: Charles M. Russell: The Life and Legend of America’s Cowboy Artist; Tarzan Forever: The Life of Edgar Rice Burroughs; Great White Fathers: The Story of the Obsessive Quest to Create Mount Rushmore; and In a Far Country: The True Story of a Mission, a Marriage, a Murder, and the Remarkable Reindeer Rescue of 1898. He and his wife, artist Malou Flato, live in Austin, Texas, and Pray, Montana.

Taliaferro’s All the Great Prizes: The Life of John Hay, from Lincoln to Roosevelt, is the first full-scale biography since 1934 of John Hay, a major figure in American history for more than half a century.

See more at: http://johntaliaferrobooks.com

Joshua Zeitz


Josh Zeitz has taught American history and politics at Cambridge University, Harvard University, and Princeton University. He is the author of several books on American political and social history and has written for the New York TimesWashington PostLA Times, Smithsonian Magazine, The New RepublicThe AtlanticDissentAmerican Heritage, and Mother Jones. Josh also appeared as a commentator on two PBS documentaries: Boomer Century, and Ken Burns’s Prohibition.

A former gubernatorial speechwriter and policy aide, Josh earned his B.A. with highest honors at Swarthmore College and his Ph.D. in American History at Brown University. He lives in Hoboken and Ocean Grove, New Jersey with his wife, Angela Zeitz, an artist, and their two daughters.

Lincoln’s Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay, and the War for Lincoln’s Image by Zeitz is a timely and intimate look into Lincoln’s White House through the lives of his two closest aides and confidantes. Drawing heavily on Hay’s and Nicolay’s letters, diaries, and memoirs, Lincoln’s Boys is part political drama and part coming-of-age tale—a fascinating story of friendship, politics, war, and the contest over history and remembrance.

See more at: http://joshzeitz.co/

Date: October 1, 2014
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Lownes Room | John Hay Library

Rock Reading Room Construction Impacts, 9/21 – 9/25

Due to construction to renovate the Reading Room on the first floor of the Rockefeller Library, there will be no access to the Finn glass study rooms and window study carrels along College Street from Sunday, September 21 through Thursday, September 25th. The rooms and carrels will re-open on Friday, September 26.

Noisy work (grinding) will begin Sunday, September 21 at midnight through Monday, September 22 at 8:00am. Users of the Rockefeller Library between midnight and 2:00am on Sunday will be affected. Extra measures will be taken to help control dust and smell.

Guantanamo Bay Museum of Art and History Lecture & Exhibit in the DSL

Artist Ian Alan Paul

Artist Ian Alan Paul

On September 11 at 3 p.m. in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab in the Rockefeller Library, artist Ian Alan Paul, a founder of the Guantanamo Bay Museum of Art and History, will give a talk about the Museum and the exhibit installed in the DSL. Part of the Bringing Guantanamo Bay Home event series, the exhibit will be on display and open to the public during certain hours, below, from September 11 – 18. The lecture and exhibit are co-sponsored by the DSL and the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage.

The exhibit features a digital selection from the Museum’s collection. The fictional Museum, located at the former site of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp in Cuba, is an institution dedicated to remembering the U.S. prison which was active between 2002 and 2012 before it was permanently decommissioned and closed.

Ian Alan Paul is a transdisciplinary artist/theorist living between San Francisco and Barcelona, whose projects and writing engage with theories and philosophies of media, social movements, and the cosmopolitical. His work has been featured in The Atlantic, Al Jazeera, Le Monde, Art Threat, Jadaliyya, Art Info, and C Magazine and has been exhibited in galleries in Asia, North America, the Middle East, and Europe.

Click here for more information about the lecture event, artist, and exhibit.

Location: Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL), Rockefeller Library
Dates: September 11 – 18
3 – 5 p.m. on Thursday, September 11
1 – 3 p.m. on Friday, September 12
1 – 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, September 13 and 14
1 – 3 p.m. on Monday, September 15
5 – 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 16
1 – 3 p.m. on Wednesday, September 17
5 – 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 18


International Literacy Day


The University Library invites the Brown community to recognize and celebrate International Literacy Day. For over 40 years, UNESCO has celebrated International Literacy Day. The focus this year is on “literacies of the 21st century.”

As technology continues to change, the notion of literacy continues to evolve. Literacy has always been shaped by culture, history, language, religion, and socio-economic conditions, but for many years literacy was limited to reading, writing, and numeracy skills. Now other ways of understanding “literacy” or “literacies” have emerged.

With this year’s International Literacy Day dedicated to “literacies for the 21st century” the goal is to highlight the need for “basic literacy skills for all” as well as equip everyone with more advanced literacy skills as part of lifelong learning.

As always International Literacy Day strives to remind the international community literacy is a human right and the foundation of all learning.

More information on International Literacy Day.

Updates From Around the Library (August 2014)


As summer transitions into fall and the Library prepares for the upcoming semester, here are a few recent highlights from various Library blogs:

Summer Activity in the Library

Library Summer Activity

Some might view the summer as a slow time on a college campus, but the Brown University Library remains committed to supporting users. Many groups find themselves using the Library over the summer months including: pre-college students, undergraduates, and high school students. The summer is also a time for renovation and an opportunity to install new technologies.

Here’s a brief look at some of the groups passing through the Library as well as a few of the summer activities.

    • Summer Pre-College Students: This summer Brown is offering over 200 courses selected to reflect the University’s curriculum. It isn’t long after these classes start that pre-college students find themselves in the Library.
    • Undergraduate Summer Session: About 450 students enroll in summer session classes at Brown each year. Subject Librarians have remained busy meeting one-on-one with a number of undergraduates.
    • Brown Summer High School Program: Now in its 46th year—the Brown Summer High School is a daytime program open to Providence-area high school students. Instructors from this program can often be found in the Rock Lobby tutoring students.
    • Renovations: The University Library is renovating both the Rockefeller Library and the John Hay Library. In the Rockefeller Library, the first floor computer cluster, Reference Room, and Hecker Center will be renovated. The John Hay Library is finishing up a year-long renovation of the entire building.
    • New Technology: In response to faculty requests, the Library recently acquired a “Bookeye 4” scanning station for users to easily scan books and other materials. As part of the Hecker Center renovation, a new laptop loaner cart will be added.
    • Other Summer Activities:
      • Thesis writing: Many current students—both undergraduates and grad students—use the summer as an opportunity to work on their thesis.
      • Professional development: Librarians and staff are busy attending conferences and continuing their research.
      • Student workers: A number of student workers have been hired to help with shelving and the digitization of materials during the summer months.
      • First Readings: In partnership with the Dean of the College, the Library created the First Readings website to introduce incoming students to the Brown community.

Summer Renovation of the Rock’s Central Reading Room

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The central reading room on the first floor of the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library at Brown is undergoing a major renovation this summer.  

Based on feedback collected from Brown students who frequent the Library, the area will be transformed into a more comfortable and functional study space with improved lighting, updated computer workstations, and more data and electrical outlets.  The space will also feature open areas combined with private group study rooms, including a mix of large and small study tables along with casual seating.

Expected to be completed by the end of September, the Library looks forward to welcoming new and returning students and faculty to this terrific new space in the fall.


Construction Begins on Addition to Library Collections Annex

Annex Module 2
This summer, ground was broken on a new addition to the Library Collections Annex, the University Library’s off-site materials storage facility, located approximately four miles from College Hill. When fully outfitted, the additional module will increase the Annex’s total storage capacity to approximately 2.3 million items.  Completion is set for mid-December 2014.
The current Annex module was opened in 2005 with an estimated capacity of 1.5 million volume equivalents. At its opening, the Annex was expected to provide sufficient storage capacity for 15 years of collection growth. Several on-campus construction projects, such as the John Hay Library renovation, required more items to be sent off-site than initially planned. As a result, the facility is almost completely filled 9 years after its first day of operation. The new module will provide space for another 1 million volumes. Because items in the Annex are housed by size, the ultimate number of items held depends on the mix of materials stored.

Like the current module, the new addition will feature sophisticated climate controls and a state-of-the-art security system to ensure the long life of materials stored there. Items requested from the Annex are delivered to campus within 24 hours on workdays; shorter articles and chapters may be scanned and sent directly to users as well.