New Book | The Eighteenth Centuries: Global Networks of Enlightenment

Posted in books by Editor on March 22, 2018

The essays in this collection, which includes a contribution by Mary Sheriff, are accompanied by “The Digital Eighteenth Centuries,” a digital atlas created on the MapScholar platform, available here. From the University of Virginia Press:

David Gies and Cynthia Wall, eds., The Eighteenth Centuries: Global Networks of Enlightenment (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2018), 316 pages, ISBN 978 0813940755, $40.

Today, when ‘globalization’ is a buzzword invoked in nearly every realm, we turn back to the eighteenth century and witness the inherent globalization of its desires and, at times, its accomplishments. During the chronological eighteenth century, learning and knowledge were intimately connected across disciplinary and geographical boundaries, yet the connections themselves are largely unstudied. In The Eighteenth Centuries, twenty-two scholars across disciplines address the idea of plural Enlightenments and a global eighteenth century, transcending the demarcations that long limited our grasp of the period’s breadth and depth.

Engaging concepts that span divisions of chronology and continent, these essays address topics ranging from mechanist biology, painted geographies, and revolutionary opera to Americanization, theatrical subversion of marriage, and plantation architecture. Weaving together many disparate threads of the historical tapestry we call the Enlightenment, this volume illuminates our understanding of the interconnectedness of the eighteenth centuries.

David T. Gies, Commonwealth Professor of Spanish at the University of Virginia, is the author of The Theatre in Nineteenth-Century Spain and editor of The Cambridge History of Spanish Literature. Cynthia Wall, Professor of English at the University of Virginia, is the author of The Prose of Things: Transformations of Description in the Eighteenth Century and The Literary and Cultural Spaces of Restoration London.



Part I | Knowledge and the Lives of Books
• Sophia Rosenfeld, Introduction
• Brad Pasanek and Chad Wellmon, Enlightenment, Some Assembly Required
• Michael Pickard, An Inventory of the Estate of William Straham in 1759
• Patricia Meyer Spacks, Understanding and Obscure Text: The Fortunate Foundlings and the Limits of Interdisciplinarity

Part II | Human Economies
• Andrew O’Shaughnessy, Introduction
• Ruth Hill, How Long Does Blood Last? Degeneration as Blanqueamiento in the Americas
• Carrie B. Douglass, Thomas Jefferson: Breeding and Buying Horses, Connecting Family, Friends, and Neighbors
• Louis P. Nelson, The Jamaican Plantation: Industrial, Global, Contested

Part III | Artists’ Geographies
• Richard Will, Introduction
• Mary D. Sheriff, Emotional Geographies: Watteau and the Fate of Women
• Katelyn D. Crawford, Painting New England in the Dutch West Indies: John Greenwood’s Sea Captains Carousing in Surinam

Part IV | Dramatic Politics
• Bonnie Gordon, Introduction
• Pierpaolo Polzonetti, Mozart and the American Revolution
• Adrienne Ward, The Drama of Marriage in Eighteenth-Century Venice: Carlo Goldoni’s La locandiera
• Jennifer Reed, Performances of Suffering and the Stagecraft of Symathy
• Casey R. Eriksen, The Aesthetics of Excess: Rococo Vestiges of Tartuffe in Isla’s Father Gerundio

• James P. Ambuske and Carol Guarnieri, About MapScholar

Notes on Contributors

V&A Cabinet of Curiosity Project, with Artist Victoria Adukwei Bulley

Posted in museums by Editor on March 22, 2018

As Eileen Budd writes on the V&A’s blog (28 February 2018) . . .

Cupboard, unknown, 1678–80, possibly Rotterdam, Netherlands (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, W.7-1914).

The Project
The Cabinets of Curiosity project examines the History of Collecting over the centuries, from Early Modern, to 19th Century to Contemporary. Dr Hannah Young is currently undertaking research that seeks to uncover some of the unexplored histories of the V&A, which in many respects became a large-scale nineteenth-century ‘cabinet of curiosity’. In particular, she is investigating some of the links between British slave-ownership and the development of the museum. Her research focuses on absentee slave-owners who used their wealth, rooted in the exploitation of enslaved people, to invest in collections in the metropole. Objects that were once collected by absentees and their descendants can now be found throughout the museum.

Why Involve an Artist in Residence?
There are multiple histories (our histories) that are hidden in plain sight within our collections.  Such a wealth of stories, voices and lives that surfacing these and even knowing where to begin, can be challenging. We want to open up a new dialogue around our collections and so it’s vital that we have these conversations beyond academia. Artists are often better able to ask questions beyond historical ones. Inviting an artist to interrogate how this history has (and has not) been remembered and how the legacies of this history continue to shape the world we live in today can help change the way we think about the museum collections. We had an amazing response to our open call, from so many talented artists that selecting the right person for the project was incredibly hard. However, I am now delighted to announce that we have selected Victoria Adukwei Bully.

The Artist
Victoria Adukwei Bulley is a British-born Ghanaian poet, writer and filmmaker based in London. Her work explores memory and cultural heritage—their loss and (re)creation—from a diasporic vantage point. Engaging with archival texts in addition to oral and indigenous histories, her practice posits memory as a form of creative activism which seeks to revivify bodies of knowledge that face erasure.

An alumna of the Barbican Young Poets programme, Victoria’s work has been commissioned by the Royal Academy of Arts, in addition to featuring on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. She was shortlisted for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize 2016, and is a Complete Works Poetry fellow. Her debut pamphlet, Girl B, edited by Kwame Dawes, forms part of the 2017 New-Generation African Poets series. Victoria is the director of MOTHER TONGUES, a poetry translation and film initiative supported by Arts Council England and visual arts charity Autograph ABP.

We are excited to be working with her and can’t wait to share the work with you as it progresses.

Cabinets of Curiosity project duration: 2016–18
Project co-leads: Dr Marta Ajmar, Deputy Director VARI, Dr Hannah Young (Maternity cover); Dr Lisa Skogh, external fellow
V&A co-investigator: Dr Martha Fleming, Previous Deputy Director VARI
Artist in Residence: Victoria Adukwei Bulley
Visiting researcher: Earle Havens, William Kurrelmeyer Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, Sheridan Libraries and Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of German and Romance Languages and Literatures, Johns Hopkins University

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