Events

    Between Worlds: China’s WWII Interpreters and Their Divergent Fates in China, Taiwan, and the United States

    Location: 

    Harvard Radcliffe Institute—Online

    David Cheng Chang is an associate professor of humanities and the associate director of Global China Center at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. While at Radcliffe, he is using interdisciplinary source materials to write a book that will weave together the personal histories of more than 3,000 Chinese interpreters for the American and British allied forces during World War II with the larger military, political, diplomatic, and social history of World War II, the Chinese Civil War, the Korean War, and the Cold War. Join Chang as he discusses this project and the...

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    Daniela Bleichmar, “The history of cochineal and the changing value of Mexican indigenous environmental knowledge, ca. 1500–1800”

    Location: 

    Harvard Graduate School of Design—Online

    Before the development of synthetic dyes in the second half of the 1800s, natural dyes were some of the most prized and sought-after commodities in the global economy. This talk uses historical images and texts to excavate changing approaches to indigenous environmental knowledge in colonial Mexico and early modern Europe through the study of cochineal.

    This insect, native to the Americas, produced the world's best quality and most valuable red dye from the 1520s until the rise of the modern chemical dye industry. Long used by indigenous people in the Americas, under Spanish...

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    Rachel Dorothy Tanur Memorial Lecture: Andrea Roberts, “The Community Core: Making and Keeping Place Heritage in Texas’s Freedom Colonies”

    Location: 

    Harvard Graduate School of Design—Online

    In Texas’ freedom colonies — African American settlements founded 1866-1930 — descendants of community founders engage in heritage conservation by keeping folklife, sacred rituals, and other cultural expressions that sustain communities’ Black sense of place. However, rural, vernacular African American placekeeping strategies are rarely framed in planning and architectural history as transgressive or expressions of Black liberation.

    Presenting an excerpt from her forthcoming book, Never Sell the Land, Dr. Roberts shares case studies in which descendants of Deep East...

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    The Art of Making Day of the Dead Altars

    Location: 

    Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology—Online

    Live interpretation in English and Spanish

    Interpretación en vivo en inglés y español

    Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican tradition that seeks to commemorate and celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed away. The creation of an altar is a key component of this celebration, which is both bittersweet and joyful. In this program, Los Angeles-based artist, educator, and altarista Ofelia Esparza will share her philosophy and approach to making altars and to keeping Día de los Muertos alive in the U.S. She will be joined by her daughter,...

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    Airbrush, Instamatics, and Funk: Art, Pop, and New York City’s Long 1970s

    Location: 

    Harvard Radcliffe Institute—Online

    A presentation from 2021–2022 Walter Jackson Bate Fellow Uri McMillan.

    Uri McMillan, an associate professor in the Department of African American Studies and Department of English at UCLA, is a cultural historian who researches and writes in the interstices between black cultural studies, performance studies, queer theory, and contemporary art. He is writing a book about the effervescent artistic practices and networks of affiliation of three artists living and working in 1970s New York City: the Jamaican American visual artist Grace Jones, the Nuyorican illustrator Antonio...

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    Entangled Histories: The Bamiyan Buddhas—Past, Present, and Future

    Location: 

    Harvard Art Museums—Online

    Western scholarship has focused on the monumental sculptures in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Valley as Buddhas created in the late sixth and early seventh centuries. This lecture tells an alternative story based on Islamic sources from the tenth to the twentieth century, which saw these sculptures not as Buddhas but as legendary heroes representing the mythic conversion of the Bamiyan Valley to Islam.

    At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the Taliban destroyed the sculptures—as Buddhas. After the fall of the Taliban, the sculptures’ entangled histories and the viewpoints of...

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    Muchos Méxicos: Virtual Exhibition Preview and Conversation

    Location: 

    Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology—Online

    Join us for a virtual preview and conversation about the Muchos Méxicos exhibition! Three scholars who contributed to the making of the show will discuss their favorite objects, and how they each tell stories of exchange and innovation—as well as loss and perseverance—across time and space.

    Live interpretation available in English and Spanish.

    Learn more about and RSVP for this virtual event.

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    Artist Discussion for Brown II Exhibition

    Location: 

    Harvard Radcliffe Institute—Online

    The artist Tomashi Jackson and Tomiko Brown-Nagin, dean of the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, will engage in a wide-ranging conversation to mark the opening of Jackson’s new Radcliffe exhibition, Brown II, which explores the challenges of implementing the landmark 1954 US Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Her work centers on the subsequent 1955 case (referred to as Brown II), which stated that the effort to desegregate schools in the United States was to be undertaken with “all deliberate speed.”

    Jackson and Brown-Nagin will consider the Brown II...

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    Our Bodies, Ourselves Book Talk

    Location: 

    Harvard Radcliffe Institute—Online

    The final installment in the summer series of Virtual Radcliffe Book Talks will feature a discussion of Our Bodies, Ourselves, first published in 1971. This event is organized in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the book’s first edition and in connection with the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective Records housed in the Schlesinger Library. The event will also include audience Q&A.

    ...

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    Book Talk with Daniel Carpenter

    Location: 

    Harvard Radcliffe Institute—Online

    The third installment of the Virtual Radcliffe Book Talks will feature Daniel Carpenter, author of Democracy by Petition: Popular Politics in Transformation, 1790–1870 (Harvard University Press, 2021). Carpenter is the faculty director of the social sciences at Harvard Radcliffe Institute and the Allie S. Freed Professor of Government in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

    Carpenter's reading will be followed by a discussion with Nikki M. Taylor, professor of history and chair of the Department of History at Howard University. The event will also include an...

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    Book Talk with Tiya Miles

    Location: 

    Harvard Radcliffe Institute—Online

    The second installment of the Virtual Radcliffe Book Talks will feature Tiya Miles, author of All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake (Random House, 2021). Miles is a Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at Harvard Radcliffe Institute and a professor of history in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

    Miles's reading will be followed by a discussion with Tomiko Brown-Nagin, dean of Harvard Radcliffe Institute, Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, professor of history in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and...

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    Book Talk with Clint Smith

    Location: 

    Harvard Radcliffe Institute—Online

    The first installment in the summer series of Virtual Radcliffe Book Talks will feature Clint Smith, author of How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America (Little, Brown and Company, 2021) and staff writer at The Atlantic. Smith's reading will be followed by a discussion with Kyera Singleton, executive director of the Royall House and Slave Quarters, in Medford, Massachusetts. The event will also include audience Q and A.

    ...

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    In the Groves

    Location: 

    Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    Immerse yourself in the deep beauty of trees in this story and music journey through the Arboretum. Led by Oracle award-winning storyteller Diane Edgecomb and Celtic harper Margot Chamberlain, this unfolding performance of ancient tales and songs from cultures around the world takes place in a variety of groves—birch, cherry, and evergreen—at some of the Arboretum’s loveliest spots.

    This event is free, but registration is required and limited. Not designed for children under 12, and dogs are not allowed. COVID guidelines will be followed.

    ...

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    Performance and Ritual in Ancient Egyptian Funerary Practice

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East—Online

    One of the best documented Egyptian rituals—occurring in both cultic and funerary contexts—is known as the Opening of the Mouth ritual. Performing this ritual was believed to animate statues and temples, while also restoring the senses of the deceased, thus ensuring that they could eat, drink, and breathe in the afterlife. Textual and iconographic references to the ritual are found in different time periods, from the Old Kingdom through the Roman Period.

    In this lecture, Mariam Ayad uses the Opening of the Mouth ritual as a case study to illustrate the power of imagery and the...

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    The Dawn of Olmec Civilization

    Location: 

    Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology—Online

    The hearth of Olmec civilization is located in the tropical lowlands of Mexico’s southern Gulf Coast region, in the majestic archaeological site of San Lorenzo. The inhabitants of this first Olmec capital developed a distinctive geo-political territory and managed complex trade systems. The Olmec also created spectacular earthen architecture and magnificent stone sculpture—including the famous Colossal Heads—that reflect their stratified social organization and centralized political system backed by religion and directed by hereditary rulers.

    Building on the pioneering work of...

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    Racial Inequity and Housing Instability in Boston: Past, Present, and Future

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    Millions of Americans have long struggled to pay for housing, with communities of color additionally burdened by housing discrimination and historical race-based policies, such as legalized segregation, redlining, and mortgage discrimination. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic crisis, the federal government instituted a moratorium on evictions that is currently set to expire on March 31, 2021. Despite this, the continuing public health emergency has exacerbated the national housing affordability crisis for people of color, who are more likely to have lost...

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    Virtual Exhibit: Women of the Museum, 1860–1920: Behind-the-Scenes at the Museum of Comparative Zoology

    Location: 

    Harvard Museums of Science & Culture—Online

    For the first time in the museum’s history, women who labored in the collections, offices, and labs of the Museum of Comparative Zoology in the late 19th century are being revealed in a unique online exhibit from the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture. The exhibit is curated by Reed Gochberg, Assistant Director of Studies and a Lecturer on History and Literature at Harvard University.

    Women like Elizabeth Hodges Clark, Elizabeth Bangs Bryant, and Elvira Wood persevered diligently behind-the-scenes, gaining unparalleled expertise in what were previously thought to be men’...

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    Resetting the Table: A Virtual Talk and Tour with the Curators

    Location: 

    Food Literacy Project—Online

    The "Resetting the Table: Food and Our Changing Tastes" exhibition at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology explores food choices and eating habits in the United States, including the sometimes hidden but always important ways in which our tables are shaped by cultural, historical, political, and technological influences.

    Join us on this special virtual talk and tour at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology with Joyce Chapli, guest curator and Harvard University James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History; Janis Sacco, Director...

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    Gender Rights in the Time of Pandemic

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    This session will consider what it means to organize for gender rights in global contexts in the 21st century during a pandemic. The speakers will feature diverse geographic and disciplinary perspectives, addressing key issues related to gendered power and difference in Africa, South Asia, and among minoritized people in the United States, including the gendered nature of care labor, rights-based activism in the face of rising global authoritarianisms, and the transnational reach of global protest.

    ...

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    Stories of Women from Jaina Island Maya Figurines

    Location: 

    Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology—Online

    Maya female ceramic figurines from the island of Jaina in Campeche, Mexico, produced in the Late Classic Period (600–900 CE) are admired for their lifelike, poignant, and sometimes amusing characteristics. Long assumed to be elite women or moon goddesses, these figurines reveal a complexity of Maya social life, especially for women, that is rarely seen in other painted ceramics or monumental sculpture. They also offer insights into the culture of Jaina Island, including disturbing enslavement practices.

    Mary Miller will discuss various interpretations of Jaina figurines—...

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