Prestigious Chinese publisher, China Book Company, has published An Illustrated Catalogue of Ancient Chinese Books in the Brown University Library by Dr. Li Wang, the Library’s Curator of the East Asian Collection. The volume contains detailed bibliographic and research information on all Chinese rare books found in the Library published before the end of the Qing dynasty (1912). Most of the 256 books in the Catalogue are part of the Gardner Collection at the Rockefeller Library, though several of the books are held at the John Hay Library.
This published work is a result of many years’ dedicated efforts in special collection management and providing Library patrons with an effective reference and research tool in Chinese and East Asian studies. In the Preface, the author expresses his sincere gratitude to many people who have helped and supported the long journey of research, especially Prof. Gardner and his family, former East Asian Collections curators and staff, other library colleagues, East Asian Studies faculty at Brown, students and scholars, and other friends, both domestic and international.
The publication is a milestone in the development of the East Asian Library at Brown. 2020 marks the the 120th anniversary of the birth of Charles S. Gardner (Jan.1, 1900 – Nov. 30, 1966). This new book is not only a scholarly summary of Gardner’s legacy, but also a way to pay homage to this devoted and pioneering scholar in East Asian studies and cross-cultural exchange.
Kenneth Molloy, a PhD candidate in the Department of Theatre Arts & Performance Studies, has been awarded the 2020 – 2021 John Hay Library/Center for the Study of the Early Modern World Fellowship.
This fellowship, a partnership between the University Library and the Brown Center for the Study of the Early Modern World, provides support to PhD candidates completing their dissertations in any field involving study of the Early Modern World, defined as the period between 1500 and 1800, and that involves an innovative project to be completed using resources available at the John Hay Library.
Kenneth’s dissertation project comprises “a critical historiography of Islamic theories of theatricality and performance in the post-Mongol to early modern period” that highlights cosmological readings of shadow and puppet theatre in Arabic and Persian materials.
His fellowship project at the Hay will involve organizing an interdisciplinary symposium “on theatricalities and the global early modern world” with the aim to “showcase innovative performance-based inquiry into the early modern world.”
The Brown University Library, together with the Office of the Provost and the Department of Africana Studies, is delighted to announce the appointment of Renée Ater as a Provost’s Visiting Professor for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Professor Ater, Associate Professor Emerita of American Art at the University of Maryland, is highly regarded for her pathbreaking research on the intersection of race, public art, and national identity. She is currently working on a born-digital scholarly publication, Contemporary Monuments to the Slave Past: Race, Memorialization, Public Space, and Civic Engagement, for which she has received fellowship support from the Smithsonian, NEH-Mellon, and the Getty Research Institute. Professor Ater received her undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and her Ph.D. in art history from the University of Maryland.
A self-described “public art historian,” Professor Ater is curious about the ways in which politics imbue monuments with shifting meaning over time, and she is passionate about sharing her observations and insights with a broad audience. Her innovative scholarship has had an impact on both scholarly dialogues and community conversations. Professor Ater visited Brown last spring and provided a clear demonstration of the kinds of distinctive contributions and cross-disciplinary connection-building that she will bring to the University under the Provost’s Visiting Professor Program. In particular, she will make significant contributions to campus interests in slavery and justice, digital scholarship, and mentorship of students and younger faculty from Historically Underrepresented Groups in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.
Professor Ater’s work, located at the intersection of politics, biography, and critical art theory, aligns closely with that of scholars in Brown’s Africana Studies Department, with their established interdisciplinary interests in critical Africana theory, black feminism, cultural studies, and performance, through the Department’s Rites and Reason Theatre. She will also provide significant support and mentorship for graduate students working on varied themes in contemporary popular culture, the civil rights movement, and the resistance to racism, particularly in the contemporary period. Her academic constituency on campus will also extend to the History of Art and Archaeology, History, and American Studies departments, the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage. The University Library will support Professor Ater’s current research focus on developing a digital publication. The Library is home to a pioneering Digital Publications Initiative supported by the Mellon Foundation and the Center for Digital Scholarship, which provides essential staff expertise and technology infrastructure for faculty digital projects.
The pathbreaking multimodal digital book — Furnace and Fugue — wasdeveloped with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Providence, R.I. [Brown University] Brown University’s Center for Digital Scholarship, based at the University Library, announces the publication of the first born-digital scholarly monograph under the Digital Publications Initiative, a collaboration between the Library and the Dean of the Faculty. Furnace and Fugue: A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) with Scholarly Commentary, edited by Professor of History Tara Nummedal and Independent Scholar Donna Bilak, brings to life in digital form an enigmatic seventeenth-century text, Michael Maier’s alchemical emblem book Atalanta fugiens. This intriguing and complex text reinterprets Ovid’s legend of Atalanta as an alchemical allegory in a series of fifty emblems, each of which contains text, image, and a musical score for three voices.
Published by University of Virginia Press as part of the distinguished academic series Studies in Early Modern German History, Furnace and Fugue re-renders Maier’s multimedia masterpiece as an enhanced and interactive digital scholarly work that allows contemporary readers to hear, see, manipulate, and investigate Atalanta fugiens in ways that were perhaps imagined when it was composed but were simply impossible to realize in full before now. “We saw an opportunity to bring Maier’s 1618 vision to life in a completely novel way,” said Tara Nummedal. ”The interactive digital format allows us to reach multiple audiences at once: not only fellow scholars and students, but also singers, practicing alchemists, and visual artists.” The Press will publish Furnace and Fugue on an open access basis, making it available immediately, for free, to anyone. “UVA Press is delighted to collaborate with Brown University in bringing out this cutting-edge digital publication. Furnace and Fugue presents the best in innovative and creative publishing, combining rigorously reviewed and edited scholarship with a multi-sensory presentation of Maier’s seventeenth-century music and text,” explained Nadine Zimmerli, Editor of History and Social Sciences at University of Virginia Press. “We hope that this digital monograph will inspire and enrich all readers and listeners.” The development of Furnace and Fugue through the Digital Publications Initiative was supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Social Science Research Institute at Brown University.
Brown is at the vanguard of digital monograph publishing, facilitating the creation and validation of new scholarly forms that demonstrate a range of ways in which the digital environment is necessary for articulating and advancing scholarly argument beyond the capabilities of print. “Furnace and Fugue is a wonderful example of Brown’s Mellon-supported Digital Publications Initiative, which attempts to develop technically diverse and innovative digital publications demonstrating the unique opportunities of digital platforms,” said Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin, co-principal investigator for the Initiative. “We are delighted to be able to support the outstanding scholarship of Brown faculty by leveraging this opportunity.” With oversight from Digital Scholarship Editor Allison Levy and drawing upon the expertise of the Center for Digital Scholarship, faculty selected for this opportunity are enabled to develop their scholarship in ways that take advantage of emerging digital methods and formats. These pathbreaking scholarly works are then submitted to leading university presses that have corresponding academic interests and the infrastructure for peer review and digital publication.
“Brown University, and the University Library in particular, has a long history of pioneering work in digital scholarship,” said Joukowsky Family University Librarian Joseph S. Meisel, co-principal investigator for the Initiative. “Leading the way in models and practices for first-rate digital scholarly monographs is making a significant and much-needed contribution.” Five additional born-digital publications covering a range of humanistic fields are currently in various stages of development under the Digital Publications Initiative. One is forthcoming with Stanford University Press in 2021. Over the next six years, thanks to renewed support from the Mellon Foundation, the Initiative plans to add four to five new projects to its portfolio.
The University of Virginia Press will host a virtual book launch for Furnace and Fugue on August 25 at 1:00 pm EST.
Media inquiries: Jennifer Braga at (401) 863-6913 or Jennifer_Braga@brown.edu.
Each year, in partnership with the Office of the Dean of the College, the Brown University Library recognizes one or two undergraduate students for outstanding research projects that make creative and extensive use of the Library’s collections, including, but not limited to, print resources, databases, primary resources, and materials in all media. The project may take the form of a traditional paper, a database, a website, or other digital project. The prize winners receive $750 each, funded through an endowment established by Douglas Squires ’73.
2020 Prize Recipients
Abby Wells ’21
Abby Wells’ paper, “दे वि!मा#हा#त्म्य, Δούργα Μεταφρασθεῖσα ἐκ τοῦ Βραχμάνικου, and Devimahatmyam, Markandeyi Purani Sectio Edidit Latinam Interpretationem: A Comparative Analysis of Greek and Latin Translations of the Devīmāhātmya,” compares translations of the Devīmāhātmya, a Hindu religious text, to offer a unique analysis of grammar, content, and interpretation across three languages, including Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit.
Wells made creative and extensive use of the Library’s collection by locating the Greek and Latin translations of the Devīmāhātmya in the John Hay Library and Google Books, respectively. The award committee was especially impressed by the project’s use of materials made available through the John Hay Library, Google Books, and the Hathi Trust. This project truly spans the full use of library holdings and digital collections available within and beyond Brown University.
Sicheng Luo ’20
Sicheng Luo was selected for her fascinating project, “The Symbol of the Pineapple Used for Clocks,” which explores the symbolism of pineapples in art and artifacts based on a mutual misunderstanding between China and the West. The project leaned heavily on a variety of Library resources and in-depth research consultations with Brown librarians.
Luo’s project, which was initially inspired by a popular television show in China called “National Treasures,” offers the reader an intensive explanation of the history of the pineapple symbol found on a clock made in the Qing Dynasty in China, which is currently on reserve in the Imperial Museum in Beijing.
Luo credits the availability of artist books, scanners, and in-person research consultations at the Library as the foundation of this incredible art history project.
Dear Department Chairs, Directors of Graduate Studies, and Graduate Students,
At the Brown University Library, we are well aware that the COVID-19 public health crisis is having an impact on graduate students’ ability to study for qualifying exams and carry out thesis and dissertation research. At Brown, as is the case at universities across the country, we know that suspending all onsite activity at the Library is contributing to these challenges.
I am writing to let you know about the work we have been doing to strengthen how the Library supports graduate students under these circumstances, and to ensure that you are aware of the resources that are available to help you move forward with your scholarship.
Individual Research Help
You can connect directly with a Library expert in your area who can support your research, answer questions, provide you with digital content, and offer reliable scholarly guidance during this time of stress and uncertainty.
Increased Digital Access
Significantly expanded access to digital content is being made available during the COVID-19 pandemic. More digital scholarly content continues to be made freely accessible, and we are regularly updating our list as this happens.
The Library offers several ways to access digital content:
Through our existing systems
Search Josiah, the online catalog, for books, articles, and other materials that Brown owns or subscribes to in electronic formats.
Request items through Interlibrary Loan. Requests are continuing to be filled for articles available electronically.
Many items from our physical collection are now available electronically via HathiTrust. We have added a link to the HathiTrust version to the records in Josiah. You will need to login with your Brown University web credentials to access the content.
Library experts can help you locate materials available at Brown and elsewhere.
If you are looking for a book that exists in electronic format to which Brown does not currently have access, we will purchase that item if it is possible to do so.
Special collections librarians will seek to identify primary source material in digital format through other libraries and archives that can contribute to students’ research. They can also offer individualized consultations regarding research methods and organizing your digital research files. Special collections is working on other creative solutions to provide digital access to its collections and to connect students with digital content at other institutions. The more we know about student research needs, the better we can deploy to find solutions.
Access to Physical Materials
We recognize that electronically available materials, however abundant, cannot address all scholarly needs and that digital content can also pose accessibility challenges. At this time, most university libraries have discontinued physical circulation and loans. For the health and safety of our staff, we are unable to provide physical access to Library materials until the University authorizes onsite activities to resume.
As the University announced recently, President Paxson has charged a Healthy Fall 2020 Task Force with charting a path to the safe reopening of the campus. As the principles, process, and timeline for reopening emerge, the Library will be able to provide more information on how and when we can resume physical access to general and special collections materials. Like you, we are looking forward to that day.
As researchers and scholarly experts ourselves, and as dedicated partners for you and your academic programs, we keenly appreciate the challenges you are facing in moving forward with your graduate studies. The Brown University Library is committed to doing whatever is possible under the circumstances to help you. To that end, we will continue to explore new ways to provide more of the content you need. In the meantime, keep telling us what you need and we’ll do our very best!
With best wishes for your safety and wellbeing,
Joseph S. Meisel Joukowsky Family University Librarian
Dis/Assemble is a collaborative effort by graduate students from across ten different humanities disciplines to construct narratives around a continuously moving archive: the Minassian Collection of Persian, Mughal, and Indian Paintings and Calligraphies at Brown University. This collection evokes questions of assemblage and disassemblage, from sifting the extraordinary from the ordinary to practices of collecting and taxonomizing. Visitors are invited to participate in the creative act of engaging with fragments and fragmentation as they behold, imagine, and truly see the objects on view.
Opening Reception & Curator’s Introduction
Monday, March 9, 2020 4:30 p.m. John Hay Library
“Making Meaning from the Minassian Collection” Monday, March 9, 2020 5:30 p.m. Lownes Room, John Hay Library
Dr. Navina Haidar, Nasser Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah Curator in Charge of the Department of Islamic Art
Dr. Maryam Ekhtiar, Associate Curator of the Department of Islamic Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Dates: March 9, 2019 – May 25, 2020 & September 1 – December 15, 2021 Time: John Hay Library Hours Location: Exhibition Gallery, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence
This Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14, 2020, look for 10 posters of poems hanging around the Rock. Written by poets who identify as LGBTQ+ and/or as members of historically underrepresented groups, the poetry offers readers an opportunity to engage with love from different perspectives.
Readers can also vote for you favorite poem of the ten selected, tell us your all time favorite poem and item in the Library, and provide feedback, if you like, for what the Library can do or do better to make all feel welcome and supported.
Limón, Ada. “What I Didn’t Know Before.” The Carrying, Milkweed Editions, 2018, p. 120.
It is the Library’s sincere hope that all members of the Brown community feel welcome and supported in our physical and virtual spaces. We have the privilege and responsibility to steward and highlight works by writers and researchers of all backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Representation is important.
Love comes in many forms. On Valentine’s Day, we appreciate you joining us in a love for poetry and for all the ways in which we can love and support each other, today and every day.
This is YOUR Brown University Library. You belong here.
On Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at 4 p.m. in the Lownes Room of the John Hay Library, Rob Emlen will discuss his newly-published book Imagining the Shakers, based in part on research in the Hay’s Special Collections.
The Evolving Image of Shaker Life
In the half century between 1830 and 1880, the American public encountered the first visual images of this country’s oldest and largest communal religious society. Published as newspaper and magazine illustrations or as separate engravings and lithographs meant to be framed and displayed, these prints reveal the changing ways in which Americans imagined the radically nonconformist Shakers, evolving from suspicion and ridicule to acceptance as a valued part of the cultural landscape of the nation.
Rob Emlen is a Visiting Scholar in American Studies at Brown University and a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He recently retired as university curator and senior lecturer in American Studies at Brown, and as a part-time faculty member in the Theory and History of Art and Design at the Rhode Island School of Design. During his 34 years at Brown he conducted much of the research for his book Imagining the Shakers in the collections of the John Hay Library.
To request special services, accommodations, or assistance for this event, please contact Jennifer Braga at Jennifer_Braga@brown.edu or (401) 863-6913 as far in advance of the event as possible. Thank you.
Bookplates are also known as “ex libris” and include a name, motto, and motif. Decorated pieces of paper found on the inside of books, ex libris have practical, historical and social associations that trace back to 15th century Germany, around the time of the invention of the printing press. They not only promote the return of borrowed books and provide a trail of documented ownership, their artistic design also conveys the personalities of book owners and the practical and imaginary worlds inhabited by them.
View bookplates for Henrietta Countess of Pomfret Lady of the Bedchamber to the Queen (1698–1761), Massachusetts Medical Society (1781), and Louis-Rene Quentin de Richebourg of Champcenetz (1759–1794), among others.
Exhibit Dates: February 6 – March 31, 2020 Exhibit Time: John Hay Library Hours Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence