Event | A Digital Publishing Platform for 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, “A Digital Publishing Platform for 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 their 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.

Utilizing a three-year, $509,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation, UBC Press and University of Washington Press are spearheading the initiative, along with partners including the First Nations Technology Council, the Musqueam Indian Band, and the Burke Museum, which will allow scholars and Indigenous communities to work together in this digital space to co-create and share content. They will be able to present their findings in innovative ways that break free of the limitations of the printed book and that both respect and combine mainstream academic and Indigenous frameworks and protocols. In turn, readers will be able to review, comment on, repurpose, or annotate that content.

Based on Scalar, the hub will offer a suite of tools for linking data and analyses to digital content from around the world and for interacting in cultural sensitive ways with heritage materials, ranging from clothing, beadwork, weapons, and tolls to songs, stories, and dances.

Authors of these multimedia books will be able to tailor navigational paths for distinct audiences: scholars, community-based groups and organizations with a stake in Indigenous languages and cultural heritage, and instructors and their students.

Darcy Cullen

Darcy Cullen

As Assistant Director, Acquisitions, Darcy Cullen oversees the direction of UBC Press’s editorial department and acquires manuscripts across a wide range of disciplines. 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 into account digital, networked, and collaborative scholarship. She is Principal Investigator for an initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop a platform for media-rich, interactive books in Indigenous studies.

Beth Fuget

Beth Fuget

Beth is the Director of Grants and Digital Projects at the University of Washington Press and is a partner in the UBC Press initiative. Established in 1920, the University of Washington Press supports the research, education, and outreach missions of the University of Washington by publishing peer-reviewed scholarship for an international community of students, scholars, and intellectually curious readers. The press is known for groundbreaking lists in critical ethnic studies; Native American and Indigenous studies; Asian American studies; Asian studies; anthropology; art history and visual culture; environmental studies; women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; and U.S. history, among other fields.

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

Exhibit | Blooming in the Noise of the Whirlwind & Puerto Rico en mi corazón

Blooming in the Noise of the Whirlwind & Puerto Rico en mi corazón on view at John Hay Library, exhibition gallery.

Blooming in the Noise of the Whirlwind

This exhibition focuses on a small selection of the many extraordinary women poets represented in the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays. From women writing in the colonial period, to nineteenth-century working-class women documenting their everyday lives, to young activists writing in the aftermath of the 2016 election, through four centuries these poets have all used their work to celebrate their identity, express desire or anger, preserve memory, and amplify a message.

Puerto Rico en mi corazón

Puerto Rico en mi corazón is an anthology collecting forty-five contemporary Puerto Rican poets, both emerging and established, writing in both English and Spanish, living both on la isla and in the diaspora, afro-boricua, white, mixed, indigenx and of all genders. Organized by poet, printer and Brown faculty member Erica Mena, the fifteen displayed bilingual broadsides demonstrate collaborations between poets, translators and letterpress printers across the continental United States.

Dates: November 7 – December 14, 2018
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: Exhibition Gallery, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Prayer (1934) by Princess Red Wing of Seven Crescents

Prayer, World Day of Prayer for Peace, February 16, 1934
Princess Red Wing of Seven Crescents
Brown University Library, Special Collections


The item on display is a written prayer delivered at an observance of the World Day of Prayer at the Westminster Church, Yonkers, New York, by Princess Red Wing of Seven Crescents, a Narragansett and Pokanoket Wampanoag Indian, speaking on behalf of the Indian women of America. The principal element of the prayer charts the quest of a young boy and leads to a call for reconciliation and peace based on a syncretistic Christian faith.

Princess Red Wing, or Mary E. Glasko (1896–1987), was an internationally known activist, “preserver of Eastern Native American traditions,” and lecturer who co-founded the Tomaquag Museum, the first and only Native American Museum in Rhode Island. She was awarded numerous distinctions and honors during her lifetime, including induction into the Rhode Island Hall of Fame in 1978.

Exhibit Lecture

On Monday, November 19, 2018 from 12 – 1 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Lorén Spears (Narragansett), Executive Director of Tomaquag Museum, will discuss the life and legacy of Princess Red Wing who was, in addition to being a Narragansett/Wampanoag leader, a culture bearer, author, and educator.

Please join us for the talk and Q&A, we also invite you to view the exhibit across the street at the John Hay Library. The lecture and exhibit are free and open to the public.

Exhibit Dates: November 6 – 30, 2018
Exhibit TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Lecture Date: Monday, November 19, 2018
Lecture Time: 12 – 1 p.m.
Lecture Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

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

Exhibit | Mail carried by Murier, an enslaved person

Letter from Christopher Scott to Nathan Nield, December 31, 1792
Brown University Library, Special Collections

This piece of paper, sent from Christopher Scott of Petersburg to Nathan Nield of Mercer County, served as both letter and, when folded, as envelope, with a red wax seal.

Known today as “slave carried mail,” this letter was carried by “a Negro woman Murier” and contains information about an exchange of Murier for another enslaved female named Christian.

The Library invites you to parse the contents of the letter. What does this artifact tell us about the history of the country? Of commerce in the U.S.? What does it tell us about the struggles women have faced as well as the fraught nature of relationships? Why is preserving items like this so important to contemporary research?

Dates: October 2 – 31, 2018
TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence