Commencement Forum | Brown University’s Slavery and Justice Report with Commentary on Context and Impact: Presenting the Revised and Expanded Second Edition

Commencement Forum

Willis Reading Room, John Hay Library
20 Prospect St, Providence, RI
Saturday, May 28
11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

In 2006 Brown released its groundbreaking “Report of the Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice,” confronting and publicly documenting the University’s complex history with the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies of inequity and injustice. A newly released expanded edition, available through an immersive, interactive digital experience and as a printed book, offers insights into the Report’s persistent and evolving impact both on campus and across the world.

Join Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice Director Anthony Bogues; President of Alliance for Justice and AFJ Action Rakim H. Brooks ‘09; and Brown University Library Digital Scholarship Editor Allison Levy for a demonstration and discussion of the enhanced and expanded report. Welcome remarks by Joukowsky Family University Librarian Joseph S. Meisel.

Brown University Library Awarded Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to Create New Frameworks to Preserve and Publish Born-Digital Art

Brown University Library has been approved for a $20,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts to support “New Frameworks to Preserve and Publish Born-Digital Art.” This project will develop new frameworks for the long-term preservation and presentation of born-digital art. Brown University Library’s project is among 1,125 projects across America totaling more than $26.6 million that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2022 funding.

Preserving born-digital work can be challenging because platforms, hardware, and software are often updated or replaced, changing and even degrading how the original art is displayed. Through “containerization” — a portable, low-cost method of preserving and presenting the code, operating system, and text for experimental, born-digital art — future readers will still be able to view, distribute, collaborate on, and experiment with the original work even if its infrastructure has been altered or discontinued. 

Dr. Ashley Champagne, Brown University Library’s Head of Digital Scholarship Project Planning and Public Humanities Subject Librarian, and Principal Investigator, is enthusiastic about the award and the impact it will have on the preservation of born-digital art:

We’re thrilled to receive this award that will help us work directly with born-digital artists to preserve experimental art that might otherwise be lost. The goal of this grant is to develop models that will not only preserve the work of the artists we’re working with but also provide models that others can learn from in the future. Brown University is the perfect place to work on this project as our Literary Arts program draws talented artists from across the world. And the staff at the Library and Brown’s Center for Computation and Visualization are skilled at containerization, which has the greatest potential for preserving and presenting the code for experimental born-digital works.

Brown University, one of the world’s leading institutions for born-digital art, is a central hub for artists experimenting with new digital technologies and producing a vast array of digital objects. There is no other institution that consistently produces as diverse a collection of born-digital art. For example, several students at Brown create exhibits and born-digital works that utilize Artificial Intelligence (AI) to produce varying presentations depending on how the user interacts with the piece. Because the presentation of the work changes constantly, web archiving does not adequately preserve the work as that method cannot capture how the work constantly changes. Field-defining artistry like this requires new frameworks for preservation and presentation that can be used at Brown and beyond. With the support of this grant, Brown’s highly skilled technical staff will continue its work to develop new and standards-compliant frameworks to preserve and publish these born-digital artworks. 

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts and cultural organizations throughout the nation with these grants, including Brown University Library, providing opportunities for all of us to live artful lives,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “The arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and to our local economies. The arts are also crucial to helping us make sense of our circumstances from different perspectives as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a shared new normal informed by our examined experience.”

For more information on other projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

Questions? Contact Ashley Champagne.

John Hay Library Acquires José Rivera Papers

Lauded contemporary Latinx playwright’s papers will enrich the Hay’s holdings by artists of color in its distinctive Performance & Entertainment collecting area

The John Hay Library has acquired the papers of award-winning Puerto Rican-American playwright and screenwriter José Rivera. Serving as a foundational collection within the Hay’s Performance & Entertainment collecting direction, this trove of material will offer scholars and students a window into the contemporary life and work of a singularly talented writer whose work centers the lived experience of Puerto Rican-Americans. Consisting of 20 boxes, the papers include handwritten drafts, playscripts, notebooks, correspondence, promotional materials, press clippings, photographs, and juvenilia.

A page from a 2002 typed draft of José Rivera’s magical realist work “Lucky.” Mr. Rivera writes new pieces by hand; drafts are then typed for review and revision.

Amanda E. Strauss, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections, is thrilled that the Performance & Entertainment area of collecting will be bolstered in such a remarkable way: 

José Rivera is such an important creative voice, and this collection will allow students and scholars to understand his writing process and to see firsthand how he brings his vision to fruition. This material will be heavily used by an international audience, and I’m proud that Mr. Rivera chose the John Hay Library as his partner in preserving and making accessible his archival legacy. 

Born in Puerto Rico in 1955, Mr. Rivera moved to Long Island, NY with his family when he was five years old. He grew up surrounded by books. Though his grandparents could not read or write, they were gifted storytellers, and he realized he wanted to be a writer in his adolescent years. In 1989, he took part in the Sundance Institute workshop led by Nobel Prize winning writer and journalist Gabriel García Márquez, whose magical realist style has been an influence on his work. His plays have been produced internationally and include “Sueño,” which Mr. Rivera translated and adapted from the play by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, recently produced  this spring at Trinity Rep in Providence, RI and directed by Brown/Trinity alumna Tatyana-Marie Carlo, MFA’ 20 d. Mr. Rivera has written many plays, two of which received Obie Awards: “Marisol” (1993) and “References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot” (2001); other plays include “The Promise,” “Each Day Dies with Sleep,” “Cloud Tectonics,” “The Street of the Sun,” “Sonnets for an Old Century,” “School of the Americas,” “Brainpeople,” “Giants Have Us in Their Book,” and “The House of Ramon Iglesia.” 

Mr. Rivera visited Brown in April during which time he attended classes with English and Brown/Trinity MFA students, toured the construction site of the new Performing Arts Center with Brown Arts Institute leadership, and met with members of the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies. Patricia Ybarra, Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, explains the significance of this acquisition:

Bringing José Rivera’s papers to Brown will allow researchers and artists to experience the thinking, aesthetics, and creative process of one of the most important and contemporary Latinx playwrights. This collection expands the Brown University Library’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the arts by expanding their collections to include the papers of contemporary artists of color as a key part of the Hay Library’s rich archive of contemporary plays and performance.

Mr. Rivera’s plays have been published by Viking Press, Mentor Books, Dramatists Play Service, Dramatics magazine, Samuel French, Broadway Play Publishing, American Theatre magazine, Theatre Communications Group and Smith & Kraus. 

In addition to playwriting, Mr. Rivera is also a gifted and accomplished screenwriter. His screenplay for the feature film “The Motorcycle Diaries” was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar in 2005, making him the first Puerto Rican writer to be nominated for an Academy Award. Also nominated for a BAFTA and a Writers Guild Award, “The Motorcycle Diaries” won top writing awards in Spain and Argentina. His screenplay, based on Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and was distributed nationally in the winter of 2013. His film “Trade” was the first film to premiere at the United Nations, and he has many other screenplays and screenwriting credits to his name including work in television such as, “The House of Ramon Iglesia; A.K.A. Pablo” for PBS’s “American Playhouse” (Norman Lear, producer); “The Eddie Matos Story; Eerie, Indiana” (co-creator and producer); “Goosebumps; Mayhem” (Bob Cooper, producer); “The Conquest” (Ron Howard, producer); and “Latino Roots,” an untitled 10-hour limited series for HBO. Avery Willis Hoffman, Artistic Director of the Brown Arts Institute, says of Mr. Rivera’s writing:

José Rivera’s seminal works for stage and screen have tackled some of the most pressing social issues of our time — violence, racism and misogyny, mental illness, poverty, climate change; as we work towards the opening of our new Performing Arts Center in late 2023, new creative collaborations and ongoing engagements with artists such as José will define the powerful ways in which art makes space for the exploration of challenging topics.

Mr. Rivera is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Sundance Institute and has been a creative advisor for Screenwriting Labs in Utah, Jordan and India. A member of the LAByrinth Theatre Company and Ensemble Studio Theatre, he leads a weekly writing workshop in New York City, where he lives.

Cataloging of the contents of the collection is ongoing. Requests to view the collection can be made online through the John Hay Library’s website.

Brown Library Announces 2022 Cohort for NEH Institute on Digital Publishing

Fifteen humanities scholars from under-resourced institutions—60% from HBCUs—will convene for national training workshop focused on growing and diversifying digital publication opportunities.

Brown University Library is pleased to announce the 2022 cohort for Born-Digital Scholarly Publishing: Resources and Roadmaps, a three-week hybrid institute designed to expand the voices, perspectives, and visions represented in the practice and production of digital scholarship. Centered on diversity and inclusion, the summer institute—made possible by a $169,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)—will support fifteen scholars who lack the necessary infrastructure at their home institutions to pursue new scholarly forms that offer unique capabilities beyond conventional publishing formats, from multimedia enhancements to global reach.

Through the purposeful training and mentoring of under-resourced scholars, the institute will help bridge a divide that, without intervention, puts digital publishing—as a future of scholarship—at risk of becoming the preserve of only the most affluent institutions. “By making the born-digital publication process more accessible, transparent, and inclusive,” notes Allison Levy, Brown University Library’s Digital Scholarship Editor and the institute’s Project Director, “the institute will foster the elevation of underrepresented voices and subject matter, thereby diversifying the output of teaching and learning resources as well as expanding the readership for humanities scholarship.”

In recognition of its recently extended membership in the HBCU Library Alliance (the first non-HBCU addition to the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Library Alliance), Brown University Library will welcome nine faculty and/or alumni—60% of the cohort—from member institutions. “This opportunity will certainly allow my subsequent work to have an immediate impact on my campus, in my local community-based research, and at other area HBCUs,” explains cohort member Marco Robinson, Assistant Professor of History and Assistant Director of the Ruth J. Simmons Center on Race and Justice at Prairie View A&M University. “PVAMU does not have a digital humanities center, digital humanities major or minor, or digital publishing department…. The institute’s reach and engagement with minority-serving institutions has the potential to transform the academy and the landscape of higher education.”

The cohort represents a wide range of humanities disciplines, geographic areas, and career stages. Their rigorous and compelling born-digital publication projects bring to the fore the history and future of Black philanthropy in the U.S.; forgotten radio recordings of African writers in exile in London in the 1960s; and the diary of Lillian Jones Horace, the first published African American novelist in Texas and one of the first Black publishers in American history. Foundational research examines the relationship between the life insurance industry and the transatlantic slave trade; the use of emerging media technologies by multiethnic American poets to create new forms of racial representation and political critique; and Indigenous community activism in relation to Pacific Island climate justice, to name just a few. The full list of cohort projects is available here.

Institute participants will leave Brown with in-depth knowledge of the digital publishing process, familiarity with open-source tools and platforms, advanced project management skills, and top-level publishing industry contacts. Faculty presentations—by digital humanities librarians, digital designers and developers, press directors and acquisitions editors, and authors of published or in-progress digital publications—will be recorded and added to the institute website, which has been designed to serve as an open access, resource-rich hub for digital scholarly publishing. With its re-prioritization of how and for whom the development of digital humanities scholarship is taught, the institute will have far-reaching implications for humanities research and teaching.

“The opportunity to work with these outstanding scholars on developing their exciting research as born-digital monographs will significantly advance the state of the art for thinking about and realizing the innovative possibilities for publishing first-rate scholarship in the 21st century,” said Brown’s University Librarian Joseph Meisel.  

Born-Digital Scholarly Publishing: Resources and Road Maps builds upon the successes of Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative, a collaboration between the University Library and the Dean of the Faculty, launched with generous support from the Mellon Foundation in 2015. The initiative has established a novel, transformative approach to the development of longform, multimodal works that make original and meaningful contributions across the humanities. The initiative also collaborates with publishers to help shape new systems of evaluation, peer review, and scholarly validation for born-digital scholarship. Brown’s first project was published in 2020 by University of Virginia Press; two more publications are forthcoming this summer from Stanford University Press and MIT Press, respectively; and ten other projects are in various stages of development. Brown University Library and MIT Press recently launched On Seeing, a book series committed to centering underrepresented perspectives in visual culture.  

Questions about the institute or the Library’s Digital Publications Initiative can be addressed to Allison Levy, Digital Scholarship Editor ([email protected]).

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at neh.gov.

The National Endowment for the Humanities and Brown University together: Democracy demands wisdom.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this press release and in the Born-Digital Scholarly Publishing: Resources and Roadmaps Institute do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Power of Words: Banning Books in the United States

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition

From April 8 – May 6, 2022, the Sorensen Family Reading Room on the first floor

April 8 – May 6, 2022
Sorensen Family Reading Room 

On two shelves at the entrance to the Sorensen Family Reading Room on the first floor of the Rock, books held at the Brown University Library that have been banned at least once in the U.S. will be on display for on-site perusal. This sampling shows a range of titles that demonstrate the variation in publication dates, topics, and genres of books that have been met with calls for censorship.

Book banning has a long history in the United States, beginning before the founding of the nation and carried out for many reasons. In 1637, Thomas Morton’s critique of Puritan society garnered him the honor of being banned in the colonies. From The Bible to more recent young adult fiction like The Hate U Give, thousands of books have been challenged or banned in the U.S.  

Since 1982, the American Library Association has compiled an annual banned book list, which consistently includes classics, contemporary fiction, children’s books, young adult fiction, and graphic novels. Recent years have seen books challenged for “sexual content, presence of LGBTQ+ characters, and content unsuitable for age group.”

Virtual Talk on Book Banning with Dr. Emily Knox

On Thursday, April 7 at 6:30 p.m., Dr. Emily Knox will give a talked, “Intellectual Freedom and Social Justice: Understanding the Discourse of Censorship,” for the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center’s Masha Dexter Lecture on Gender, Sexuality, and Public Policy. Dr. Knox, author of Book Banning in 21st Century America (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), will discuss the underpinnings of contemporary book bans and will provide recommendations for how to address book censorship in schools and public libraries.

Immediately following the lecture will be a Q&A moderated by Dr. Kenvi Phillips, Director of Library Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Brown University Library.

RSVP at: https://tinyurl.com/DexterLecture22

More information

Banned Books on Display at the Rock

The Masha Dexter Lecture on Gender, Sexuality, and Public Policy presents “Intellectual Freedom and Social Justice: Understanding the Discourse of Censorship” a Virtual Talk by Dr. Emily Knox

Thursday, April 7 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. EDT

RSVP at: https://tinyurl.com/DexterLecture22

Book Banning

The censorship of books has long permeated our political and cultural landscape. Books at the intersection of race, sexuality, and gender have been particular targets for censorship at school districts and libraries across the country. In this talk, Dr. Emily Knox, author of Book Banning in 21st Century America (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), will discuss the underpinnings of contemporary book bans and will provide recommendations for how to address book censorship in schools and public libraries. Immediately following the lecture will be a Q&A moderated by Dr. Kenvi Phillips, Director of Library Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Brown University Library.

This event will be remote captioned.

About Dr. Emily Knox

Emily is an associate professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include information access, intellectual freedom and censorship, information ethics, information policy, and the intersection of print culture and reading practices. Emily’s next book, Foundations of Intellectual Freedom (American Library Association), will be released in Fall 2022. She also serves on the board of the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Sponsors

Brown University Library, LGBTQ Center, Sarah Doyle Center for Women and Gender, and the Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy

Kimberly Toney Inaugural Coordinating Curator for Native American and Indigenous Collections

Kimberly Toney

The John Carter Brown Library and the Brown University Library are pleased to announce Kimberly Toney as the inaugural Coordinating Curator for Native American and Indigenous Collections. Kim’s first day will be July 18, 2022.

The Coordinating Curator for Native American and Indigenous Collections will support the libraries in their focus on Native American and Indigenous collections of signal importance as well as programming, including outreach and engagement with Native American and Indigenous communities.

Kim is a member of the Hassanamisco Band of Nipmuc and is currently Head of Readers’ Services and Director of Indigenous Initiatives at the American Antiquarian Society. During her time at the American Antiquarian Society she has streamlined reference workflows, implemented and managed the Aeon collection management software, coordinated the Society’s undergraduate seminar in American Studies, developed the Indigenous Engagement Initiative, and co-curated several digital exhibitions; the most recent is Reclaiming Heritage, Digitizing Early Nipmuc Histories from Colonial Documents, which launched in November, 2021. Kim has a master’s degree in Urban Affairs & Public Policy with a concentration on Historic Preservation from the University of Delaware and a bachelor’s in Art History from the University of Rhode Island.

Brown University is committed to advancing research, teaching and engagement with the social, cultural, artistic, ancestral and heritage, legal and political aspects of Native American and Indigenous peoples in both the historical and contemporary periods. Amanda Strauss, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections, notes that Kim’s appointment heralds an important collaboration between two world-class institutions: “Establishing a permanent, joint position that focuses on Native American & Indigenous collections at both the John Carter Brown Library and the John Hay Library furthers our shared commitment to ensuring that our libraries are sites of ethical, engaged, and culturally-centered collecting and scholarship.” Dr. Rae Gould, Executive Director of Brown’s Native American & Indigenous Studies Initiative, was instrumental in helping shape this new position in support of the University’s commitment and the libraries’ collaboration. Speaking on behalf of the John Carter Brown Library’s staff and Board, Karin Wulf, Director and Librarian for the John Carter Brown Library, states: “We are delighted to welcome Kim, an outstanding professional who has innovated important programming in Native American and Indigenous Studies, to the JCB. And we’re equally delighted to be partnering with Brown University Library, reflecting our joint commitment to this essential focus.”

WWII Art Collection Talk by Peter Harrington

Greenhalgh, Robert F., “Aboard aircraft carrier ‘Belleau Wood’ on raid on Wake Island: view from starboard fantail on flight deck, two chiefs in foreground, ‘talkers’ in rear ” (1943). Prints, Drawings and Watercolors from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. https://repository.library.brown.edu/studio/item/bdr:247094/

The Brown University Library is pleased to share an open invitation to view a presentation by Peter Harrington, Curator, Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, to the Continental Commandery of the Naval Order of the United States on Thursday March 24 at 7 p.m. EST

The talk will be broadcast live on the Continental Commandery’s YouTube channel. Discover more information about this and other events from the Continental Commandery.

In his presentation, Peter will describe the Brown University Library’s World War Two Art Collection, which is part of the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, and how it was created over the last 25 years. The talk will include some of the collection’s highlights with a special focus on the Naval and Marine Corps artists represented.

Peter Harrington is an author, military historian, and archaeologist, who curates the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection for the John Hay Library at Brown University where he has worked for over 37 years. A native of Manchester, England, he studied at London, Edinburgh, Simmons and Brown, and his research over the past three decades has focused on artists and images of war. For many years he taught a distance learning graduate course on the subject. His other area of research is Conflict Archaeology. He has authored and edited a number of books including British Artists and War: The face of battle in paintings and prints 1700-1914; William Simpson’s Afghanistan: Travels of a Special Artist and Antiquarian during the Second Afghan War, 1878-1879The Castles of Henry VIII; and English Civil War Archaeology. His current research focuses on art and mural programs in U.S. training camps, 1941-1945.

Brown University Library Celebrates National Public Health Week 2022

In keeping with the theme of National Public Health Week 2022, Public Health is Where You Are, below are some relevant projects, initiatives, and resources from the Brown University Library.

Subscription resources available via the Library

A search for “public health” as subject retrieves these results in BruKnow, the Library catalog. You may use the filters on the left side to refine results by format, library, language, and more. Sign in with your Brown credentials to access or request any of the results.

Key academic research databases, books, journals, and other resources for Public Health can be found here: libguides.brown.edu/PublicHealth.

Freely-available online resources for reliable health information

KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Nonprofit organization focusing on national health issues, as well as the U.S. role in global health policy. KFF develops and runs its own policy analysis, journalism and communications programs, sometimes in partnership with major news organizations. KFF serves as a nonpartisan source of facts, analysis and journalism for policymakers, the media, the health policy community and the public.

MedlinePlus.gov

Offers high-quality, relevant health and wellness information that is trusted, easy to understand, and free of advertising, in both English and Spanish. It is a service of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), which is the world’s largest medical library and a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Global Index Medicus

Provides worldwide access to biomedical and public health literature produced by and within low-middle income countries. The material is collated and aggregated by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office Libraries.

More freely-available online resources can be found here: libguides.brown.edu/ConsumerHealth

Center for Digital Scholarship projects

Learn more about the Twitter projects on Black Maternal Health and My Body My Choice that the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) staff have collaborated on with faculty. Information about other CDS projects can be viewed on the CDS website.

Special Collections

Request access to special collections materials at the John Hay Library on Alcohol and Addiction Studies, ACT UP Rhode Island, and more! Find information about many special collections holdings and researching and accessing to special collections.

Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online (SUCHO)

book with Ukraine flag

We invite members of the Brown, local, and global community to this hybrid work-in session to preserve Ukrainian cultural heritage online.

Join the Brown University Library in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library (10 Prospect St, Providence) on Thursday, March 10, 2022 from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. EST or via Zoom as we come together in collaboration with the SUCHO project, a group of cultural heritage professionals — librarians, archivists, researchers, programmers — working together to identify and archive at-risk sites, digital content, and data in Ukrainian cultural heritage institutions while the country is under attack.

Registration Required

Register through LiveWhale, indicating in the comment field whether you will be attending in-person or via Zoom. Fill out the volunteer form. You will then be invited to join the project Slack page.

Registration is limited to 30 in-person participants. Registration to participate via Zoom is unlimited.

Please wait until we add you to the Slack to actually get started. If you want to read about the process, here’s our workflow and an orientation for new volunteers.

Questions? Contact [email protected].

Work-in Session

This work-in session will offer an overview of the types of work that you can do to help identify and archive at-risk sites, digital content, and data in Ukrainian cultural heritage institutions. We are using a combination of technologies to crawl and archive sites and content, including the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, the Browsertrix crawler and the ArchiveWeb.page browser extension and app of the Webrecorder project.

Get Involved Prior to Workshop

  1. Visit our orientation page.
  2. Submit important URLs for collections in cultural heritage institutions in Ukraine
  3. If you can read Ukrainian or Russian, or if you can run the Browsertrix crawler (check out our Browsertrix documentation to see if it’s something you’d be up for trying), fill out the volunteer form.
  4. We are currently at capacity for people to help with Wayback Machine / Internet Archive tasks or manual Webrecorder tasks, but you can still help by submitting URLs.