July 2017  
Welcome to the JCB's 2017-18 Fellows

The Library is pleased to announce its 2017-18 fellows class, which includes seven long-term fellows and forty-seven short-term fellows from a broad array of disciplines, including archaeology, art history, linguistics, history, and literature. In addition, nine scholars have accepted the Library’s Collaborative Cluster Fellowships, the Hodson Trust Fellowship, and (new this year) Digital Fellowships for Former Fellows. We are excited to host this esteemed group of scholars from around the world and to welcome them to the JCB’s expansive scholarly community.  Read about the 2017-18 Fellows and their projects here.

Global Americana: The Many Worlds of a Singular Collection

From its founder’s first major purchase, the John Carter Brown Library has always been a global collection. The connections between America and other continents and regions around the world have consistently been a central theme in the Library’s acquisition policies. Even more so today: as we continue to acquire new books, maps, and prints, we have paid close attention to these broader connections, largely in response to our own researchers who are pushing the conventional geographical boundaries that have tended to separate regions and spaces in historical scholarship. In conjunction with the LAGLOBAL research network at the University of London (of which the JCB is one of several institutional partners) and researchers in residence at the Library, Global Americana has been conceived as a collectively curated exhibition that highlights not only the JCB’s globe-spanning collection, but also the ingenuity of scholars from around the world who are taking advantage of its materials to advance research in a global frame.

The exhibition will be on view beginning in August. We invite you to visit the Library to see the treasures selected for your viewing pleasure by our global community of scholars. 
Cuba Bound: Lincoln School Students Prepare at the JCB

As part of an ongoing partnership with the Lincoln School, the JCB opened its doors on a Saturday in May to allow high school students to conduct research in preparation for their excursion to Cuba last month. Led by instructors Barret Fabris and Silvia Campbell, the students examined original material on topics ranging from colonialism, architecture, cartography, and environmental history, including this guide to Caribbean marine life printed in Havana in 1787.

Help the JCB Make History, One Book at a Time

By any standard, the JCB has an extraordinary collection of Americana that John Carter Brown began to build in the middle of the nineteenth century. In 2017, we take our mission of stewarding this collection very seriously, and we continue to build the collection by acquiring rare books and maps of great value to scholars of today and tomorrow. 

Every person who is a member of the Library’s Association of Friends and Fellows contributes toward this all-important work, enabling us to continue to build this exemplary collection. Will you? When you join, part of your membership dues will be set aside to purchase rare books and maps to enhance our collections and fuel new scholarship.

Please join the Association or renew your membership today. We thank you in advance for your generous support. 

Meet Helen Watson Buckner Fellow Julia Sarreal

Summer doldrums are nowhere to be found at the JCB this year (or any year!). July brings an abundance of new fellows to Providence who beat the heat by diving into the JCB collections in the W. Duncan MacMillan Reading Room. Julia Sarreal, an Associate Professor of Latin American History at Arizona State University, is spending two months at the Library as a Helen Watson Buckner Memorial Fellow. Her current project, Yerba Mate, Guaraní Consumable, Tool of Empire, and Gaucho Lifeblood provides a refreshing take on the indigenous Argentinian beverage, which has been described as coffee, tea, and chocolate combined. “The drink initially repelled Europeans, but then it became a daily ritual for people of both genders and all social and economic classes and all racial identities throughout southern South America, and it served as an informal tool of empire,” explains Sarreal. 

The project, which evolved from Sarreal's first book,  The Guarani and Their Missions: A Socioeconomic History ( Stanford University Press, 2014), shows how commodities shape perceptions and legacies of empire. In the nineteenth century, yerba mate was redefined and sidelined as part of Argentina’s struggle with its identity, but yerba mate continued to be produced and widely consumed, she explains. It is a vestige of Argentina’s Indian and rural past that evolved and took new meanings while tenaciously maintaining distinctive cultural and communal characteristics.”
Fresh Ink: Wildness without Wilderness

Congratulations to Chris Parsons (JCB Association Fellow 2008-09) for his new article: "Wildness without Wilderness: Biogeography and Empire in Seventeenth-Century French North America", published in Environmental History in March.

The image to the right (view larger version here) is from the JCB collections and is a map of Samuel de Champlain’s New France, with detail of Acadia and the Saint Lawrence Valley that he explored. Samuel de Champlain, Carte géographique de la Nouvelle France … (Paris: Chez Jean Berjon, 1613).  

Parsons explores how early French colonists, missionaries, and explorers experienced the environments of northeastern North America in the seventeenth century. In the encounters between French colonists and the plants they called sauvage, or wild, the article points to the emergence of a French colonial political ecology that identified the observable differences between American and European flora as wildness. Focusing on the opportunities to rehabilitate sauvage fruits and landscapes, empire itself was recast as a recuperative project that would redeem both indigenous peoples and American environments.