Brockey publishes The Visitor with Harvard

Professor Liam Brockey’s new book, The Visitor: André Palmeiro and the Jesuits in Asia has been released by Harvard University Press.

From the press: In an age when few people ventured beyond their place of birth, André Palmeiro left Portugal on a journey to the far side of the world. Bearing the title “Father Visitor,” he was entrusted with the daunting task of inspecting Jesuit missions spanning from Mozambique to Japan. A global history in the guise of a biography, The Visitor tells the story of a theologian whose extraordinary travels bore witness to the fruitful contact—and violent collision—of East and West in the early modern era.

In India, Palmeiro was thrust into a controversy over the missionary tactics of Roberto Nobili, who insisted on dressing the part of an indigenous ascetic. Palmeiro walked across Southern India to inspect Nobili’s mission, recording fascinating observations along the way. As the highest-ranking Jesuit in India, he also coordinated missions to the Mughal Emperors and the Ethiopian Christians, as well as the first European explorations of the East African interior and the highlands of Tibet.

Orders from Rome sent Palmeiro farther afield in 1626, to Macau, where he oversaw Jesuit affairs in East Asia. He played a crucial role in creating missions in Vietnam and seized the opportunity to visit the Chinese mission, trekking thousands of miles to Beijing as one of China’s first Western tourists. When the Tokugawa Shogunate brutally cracked down on Christians in Japan—where neither he nor any Westerner had power to intervene—Palmeiro died from anxiety over the possibility that the last Jesuits still alive would apostatize under torture.


Pescador co-directs arts project

Professor Javier Pescador co-directed a visual arts collective project, the Selfi-Eye Mural at the Jackson County Youth Center, sponsored by the Youth Arts Alliance in Michigan. The mural is a collaborative project with the center residents that explored photography, self-portraiture and mural painting as public art. YAA provides art programming for Youth-At-Risk in the Juvenile Justice System. It will be displayed at the Washtenaw Community College and permanently at the visitors room in Jackson County Youth Center.



Montgomery receives NEH award

The Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) is pleased to announce that its recent proposal submitted to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) was selected to receive project funding. Within the category of Museums, Libraries, and Cultural Organizations Planning Grants, NEH awarded PRI with $60,000 to plan and develop a traveling exhibition that will share the challenges and triumphs of the women – past and present – who strived for equality in the field of paleontology. This particular category at NEH has a funding ratio of just 9 percent.

For hundreds of years, American women have contributed to the field of paleontology, from the detailed drawings of Cecilia Beaux to the innovative ideas of Esther Applin. Unfortunately, however, these contributions have never received the wide recognition of those made by men. Women’s paleontological work was frequently unpublished, or published without adequately acknowledging their contribution. Even after the idea of women pursuing higher education and careers was considered socially acceptable, women were frequently discouraged from entering science in general, and the Earth sciences in particular. Even today, women comprise only 23% of the membership of the Paleontological Society, the leading U.S. professional organization in the field.

Beginning this October, PRI exhibits and education staff will lead a team of historians, scientists, and educators to research historic artifacts and specimens, develop the exhibit’s stories, plan public programs, and begin preliminary exhibition design.

The project team includes:

Michele Aldrich, California Academy of Sciences

Warren Allmon, Paleontological Research Institution

Paul Brinkman, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Sandra Carlson, University of California, Davis

Jane Davidson, University of Nevada, Reno

Linda Deck, Bradbury Science Museum

Julie Fick, Michigan State University Museum

Richard Kissel, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

Georgina Montgomery, Michigan State University

Rob Ross, Paleontological Research Institution

Beth Stricker, Paleontological Research Institution

We will also be working with exhibit developer Ed Mooney of emDESIGN, and visitor study specialists from Randi Korn & Associates, Inc.

At the end of this planning stage, the project team will apply for additional grants, which would fund the final design and fabrication of the exhibition. The 5,000 square foot exhibition will travel to participating institutions, and then would be available to other museums across the country as part of the Museum of the Earth’s Traveling Exhibitions Program.



Siegelbaum pens essay in The Nation

Professor Lewis Siegelbaum published an essay in The NationDrawing on oral interviews he conducted in the 1980s and ’90s, he places the present conflict in Ukraine historical context.


Professor Fair awarded prestigious fellowship

Professor Laura Fair has been awarded a prestigious fellowship from the Netherland’s Institute for Advanced Study. She will join a select group of scholars in residence at the institute during the academic year 2013-14, where she will be working on a book project tentatively titled, ‘Cinema, Society and the City: Film Cultures in Twentieth Century Tanzania.