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Archive for the ‘Humanities & Social Sciences’ Category

Colonial WilliamsburgArtstor and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation are collaborating to make available approximately 1,000 images of works from the Foundation’s collections in the Digital Library.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation operates the world’s largest living history museum in Williamsburg, Virginia—the restored 18th-century capital of Britain’s largest, wealthiest, and most populous outpost of empire in the New World. Here it interprets the origins of the idea of America in the years before and during the American Revolution. The story of Colonial Williamsburg’s Revolutionary City tells how diverse peoples, having different and sometimes conflicting ambitions, evolved into a society that valued liberty and equality.

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Unknown (Dominican), Saint Nicholas of Bari's Hospital, Santo Domingo, Photographer: Anthony Stevens Acevedo, Image: 2009. Photograph copyright © CUNY Dominican Studies Institute. CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, First Blacks in the Americas collection.

Unknown (Dominican), Saint Nicholas of Bari’s Hospital, Santo Domingo, Photographer: Anthony Stevens Acevedo, Image: 2009. Photograph copyright © CUNY Dominican Studies Institute. CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, First Blacks in the Americas collection.

La Española, the island now divided into the Dominican Republic and the Republic of Haiti, existed first as a Spanish colony during the entire sixteenth century, when its population became the first one in the Americas with a majority of people of African descent. The Black ancestors of today’s Dominicans were the first to experience the dreadful transatlantic slave trade, and the first to offer organized resistance as soon as they landed in La Española. They were also the first to endure and survive all the varieties of enslaved labor and enslaved life, and the first to thrive and produce new generations of Afro-descendants born in the “New World.”

Sixteenth-Century La Española: Glimpses of the First Blacks in the Early Colonial Americas,” an exhibition opening this week at the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, presents images of manuscripts, transcriptions, translations, and photographs that tell the story of the earliest Black inhabitants of the Americas. The exhibit includes photographs of sites of the Dominican Republic’s colonial past by Anthony Stevens-Acevedo, Assistant Director of the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute at The City College of New York, the co-curator of the exhibit and a colonial historian. Dr. Lissette Acosta Corniel, CUNY DSI Post-Doctoral Fellow, is also a co-curator of the exhibit.

The show is an offshoot of “First Blacks in the Americas,” a long term CUNY DSI online project focusing on photographs that were part of the living environment of Black people in that territory during colonial times. Part of the collection is available in Shared Shelf Commons, an open-access library of digital media from Shared Shelf subscribers.

“Sixteenth-Century La Española: Glimpses of the First Blacks in the Early Colonial Americas” opens May 22 6:30–8:00 PM, and is on view through September 10, 2015 at the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, NAC Building Room 2/202, The City College of New York, 160 Convent Avenue, New York, NY 10031.

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Eugène Atget, Bon Marche, 1926-27. George Eastman House

Eugène Atget, Bon Marche, 1926-27. George Eastman House

I recently came across the BBC adaptation of Émile Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise and, as a self-confessed Francophile, couldn’t wait to begin watching it. A few episodes in, though, my enthusiasm dimmed when it became clear that the series didn’t faithfully follow the book. Zola’s novel is, at heart, an acerbic commentary on consumer culture, not a love story. Where Zola makes The Ladies’ Paradise, a department store, into a protagonist, the show instead relies on the budding romance between a shop girl and the store’s owner to drive it along. The Ladies’ Paradise is the backdrop of the story, but unfortunately not its focus.

Zola, often credited as one of the shrewdest observers of 19th-century French society, did not choose the department store arbitrarily as the setting for his novel. By the time he wrote The Ladies’ Paradise in the 1880s, the department store had become one of the most iconic features of modern Parisian life.

Gustave Eiffel; Louis Auguste Boileau, Le Bon Marché, 1876. Image and catalog data provided by Allan T. Kohl, Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Gustave Eiffel; Louis Auguste Boileau, Le Bon Marché, 1876. Image and catalog data provided by Allan T. Kohl, Minneapolis College of Art and Design

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Thomas McGovern, Untitled, 1992. © Thomas McGovern

Thomas McGovern, Untitled, 1992. © Thomas McGovern

Artstor and Thomas McGovern are now sharing more than 100 photographs from the artist’s series covering the AIDS crisis in the Digital Library.

The photographs, taken between 1987 and 1997, portray individuals with AIDS and activist demonstrations in the U.S. “While I have photographed many aspects of the crisis since 1987, it is the portraits of people with AIDS that are central to the project and it is around these that the other photos of events revolve,” McGovern writes.

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Jason Larkin | Sobhi Saleh, surrounded by Muslim Brotherhood volunteers and members, tries to organise a campaigning session in his local constituency of al-Ramal; 2010 |© Jason Larkin / Panos Pictures; www.panos.co.uk

Jason Larkin | Sobhi Saleh, surrounded by Muslim Brotherhood volunteers and members, tries to organise a campaigning session in his local constituency of al-Ramal; 2010 |© Jason Larkin / Panos Pictures; http://www.panos.co.uk

Panos Pictures and Artstor have collaborated to share an additional 1,000 images of contemporary global affairs in the Digital Library.

Panos specializes in documenting critical social issues as well as stories beyond the contemporary media landscape. Urban development in Turkey, deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, records of extinct and endangered species at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, a barbershop in Nigeria, and Charlie Chaplin impersonators in India are among the thousands of compelling places and people now discoverable via Artstor. The Panos Profile includes more than twenty photographers working in the North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. Dozens of additional photographers comprise the Panos network to create one of the most comprehensive visual records of international contemporary life. Images documenting urban and rural communities, landscape and the built environment, peace and conflict tell the story of the ties between globalized and regional life.

For over twenty years, Panos Pictures has been working with the commercial and nonprofit sectors, actively using photography to campaign and communicate through a range of media to new and diverse audiences. Recognizing that photography is more than pictures on a page, Panos has engaged in all forms of visual communication, producing exhibitions, multimedia, and video, as well as long-term documentary projects. Panos photographers seek out stories that matter and bring an unparalleled understanding and awareness of the sensitivities and ethical dimensions of the issues and areas they document. (more…)

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logo-arasArtstor is collaborating with the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism to release 17,000 images documenting mythology, symbols and rituals from different time periods and geographic locations in the Digital Library.

The images in Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS) explore the universality of certain iconographies and themes, illustrating commonalities in the ways human beings across the world have thought about and represented different phenomena. Each image includes commentary that points to its unique history and contextualizes it within larger patterns and historical developments. The collection supports interdisciplinary humanities research, research on the meaning of images in psychoanalysis and dreams, and provides support for designers searching for pictorial inspiration. (more…)

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Mummy of Ukhhotep, Middle Kingdom

Egypt, Mummy of Ukhhotep, Middle Kingdom, ca. 1981-1802 B.C. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Come tomorrow evening, droves of miniature monsters will haunt our neighborhoods, jack-o-lantern-shaped candy bowls in tow. Amongst the groups of trick-or-treaters, though, one spooky creature will likely be absent: the mummy, which, despite being the star of many a horror film, never seems to be a Halloween costume favorite.

My guess as to why the mummy costume has never attained the cult status of, for example, the ghost is a purely pragmatic one. Dressing up as a mummy is a difficult task; cutting eyeholes into a white sheet is pretty straightforward. This is a fact that my own failed childhood attempt at dressing up as a mummy—which ended in my mother watching the rolls of gauze bandages she had dutifully wrapped around me immediately unravel—confirms.

An Egyptologist, however, might answer this question differently. For though the mummy of horror cinema is unrestful and vengeful, rising from the tomb to wreak havoc upon the living, in reality mummification was nothing more than a sophisticated burial ritual, meant to help lead the deceased to a peaceful afterlife.

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