The Kislak Chair supports in-depth research projects in the disciplines of archaeology, history, cartography, epigraphy, linguistics, ethno-history, ethnography, bibliography, and sociology, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary projects that combine disciplines in novel and productive ways. With a focus on the Western Hemisphere, the Chair may consider regions from the Arctic to Patagonia, including the Caribbean; from the eras before the arrival of Europeans to about 1825; and regarding themes as diverse as the histories of indigenous peoples, colonial and post-colonial movements, the geopolitics of empire, including among others those of France, England, Spain, and Portugal, new routes of trade and modes of commerce; and issues relating to environmental history and exposure to novel flora and fauna.
By encouraging broad inter-disciplinary enquiry, the Kislak Chair helps to nourish a broad conversation ranging from the technical aspects of archeological discovery to issues of interest in the current cultural conversation. The annually appointed chair will also help to convene scholars, invited by the chair for seminars, consultations, and ongoing study of the artifacts in the Kislak Collection.
Selection Criteria and Schedule
Candidates from a multiplicity of backgrounds will be considered, and preference will be given to scholars whose research draws from the artifacts in the Kislak Collection.
The chair, who will be in residence at the Library, will be appointed for a period of up to nine months, beginning in or around September 2018.
Nominations should be directed to: [email protected]
Nominations received by January 1, 2018, will receive priority consideration, with the expectation that an appointment will be made no later than April 2018.
A panel of experts will consider nominees based on the following criteria:
- The contribution the nominee’s research will make to knowledge in the field
- The quality of the nominee’s previous work
- The appropriateness of the research for the Library of Congress collections
About the Kluge Center and the Library of Congress
The John W. Kluge Center was established at the Library of Congress in 2000 with an endowment from John W. Kluge. It was envisioned as an academic center where accomplished senior scholars and junior post-doctoral fellows gather to make use of the Library's incomparable collections and to interact with members of Congress. The Kluge Center is the Library’s leading resource for high-level academic research.
The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with 162 million books,
newspapers, maps, recordings, films, photographs, and other artifacts in its collections. The Library is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office, in addition to being the first-established federal cultural institution. Its collections cover all topics, and include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages.
Additional items for research may be found on:
The Kluge Center at the Library of Congress seeks nominations for a Jay I. Kislak Chair for the Study of the History and Cultures of the Early Americas.
January 1, 2018
Nominations should be directed to:
Research Areas: the disciplines of archaeology, history, cartography, epigraphy, linguistics, ethno-history, ethnography, bibliography, and sociology, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary projects that combine disciplines in novel and productive ways.
Eligibility: Candidates from a multiplicity of backgrounds will be considered, and preference will be given to scholars whose research draws from the artifacts in the Kislak Collection.
The John W. Kluge Center
phone: (202) 707-3302
fax: (202) 707-3595
email: [email protected]
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opportunities at the Kluge Center.
Sample List of Kislak Collection Items Available for Research
Bartolomé de Las Casas (1474-1566) to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (1500-1558)
Manuscript letter, ca. 1528
Dominican Priest Bartolomé de Las Casas was a passionate champion of the rights of the indigenous people of the Americas. In 1502 he left for Hispaniola, in the West Indies, with the governor, Nicolás de Ovando. As a reward for his participation in various expeditions, he was given a royal land grant including labor of the Indian inhabitants as a reward for his participation in various expeditions. Horrified by the Conquistadors' treatment of the Indians, he returned to Spain in 1510 to take holy orders, determined to devote his life to mission work in the Americas. In 1544 Las Casas was named Bishop of Chiapas, Mexico, where he worked to alleviate the burdens of colonialism on the Indians.
Hernando Cortés (1485-1547)
Dowry agreement for Montezuma's daughter, June 27, 1526
Copied from a Spanish manuscript, [Valladolid]. Manuscript, ca. 1750
In this document, Hernando Cortés justifies a large dowry to Doña Isabel, the late Emperor Montezuma's (1480? - 1520) eldest daughter, when she married a nobleman of considerable standing in New Spain. Cortés recounts the importance of Montezuma's aid to the Spanish during the conquest of Mexico. Cortés, who served as guardian for Montezuma's daughters and as Captain General of New Spain, was a generous trustee, granting Doña Isabel lands, several ranches, and Indian labor.
Descripcion de las Costas Yslas Y Vajos desde San Martin una de las Yslas de Barlovento hasta La Havana... Manuscript, Havana? 177? -?
The manuscript is a pilot-guide detailing the hazards of navigation between the island of St. Martin and the ports of Havana, San Juan and Santo Domingo, through the Windward Passage between Hispaniola and Cuba and on to Veracruz in Mexico. A short section covers the route from Veracruz through the Straits of Florida to Cadiz in Spain. In effect, this derrotero [sailing atlas] describes the route of the bullion fleets from the Spanish colonies of the West Indies and Central America to Spain in the 18th century.
Pedro Menéndez de Avilés (1519-) to Don Cristóbal de Eraso
Manuscript sailing orders, July 21, 1572
In the age of piracy on the high seas, sailing instructions were top-secret documents upon which rested the security of the king's fleet and his treasure. Here, Menéndez de Avilés, governor of Florida, gives Don Cristóbal de Eraso complicated and detailed instructions for sailing to Spain on the Buenaventura with his fleet, via the islands of Flores and San Miguel. He is admonished not to proceed beyond a designated rendezvous without further instructions from Menéndez, "under penalty of paying with his person and his property for any injury to his Majesty or his royal treasury."
Don Andrés, Aztec notary
Techialoyan land records, with text in Nahuatl
Santa Maria Itztacapan, Mexico. Aztec, seventeenth century, Manuscript on amate (fig tree bark) paper
Techialoyan land records
San Juan Tolcayuca, Mexico. Aztec, seventeenth century, Manuscript map on amate (fig tree bark) paper
Because the Spaniards annihilated the Aztec civilization and burned its archives, surviving examples of Indian codices are rare. This manuscript and map are part of the "Techialoyan" land records created in the seventeenth century using old methods to substantiate native land claims with the Spanish authorities. This map contains indigenous cartographic conventions that differ considerably from those of Europe. For example, one must rotate it for proper viewing. Also, the bell-shapes denote a community, and the trail of footprints depicts a path or road. Documents like these portray the legitimacy of a local community and its rights to a territory.
James I (1566-1625)
Royal Proclamation: Proclaiming Peace with Spain and Forbidding Armed Vessels from England Attacking Spanish Merchant Ships. Given at our Mannour of Greenwich the 23 Day of June, in the First Yeere of our Reign of England, France, and Ireland, London: Robert Barker, 1603
This proclamation was directed at Sir Walter Raleigh and his associates. Raleigh was a thorn in the flesh of James I. Even before the death of Queen Elizabeth he opposed James' claims, and was ready to go to any lengths to prevent his accession to the throne. Consequently, one of James' first acts as King was to dismiss Raleigh from his various offices of State and order cessation of hostilities with Spain. Raleigh was condemned to death on a charge of conspiracy, but was reprieved and imprisoned in the Tower of London where he wrote his unfinished History of the World. Released in 1616, he led a disastrous expedition to Brazil seeking gold. On his return, he was beheaded under his former sentence.
Horatio Nelson (1758-1805)
Account of the proceedings of Captain Nelson of His Majesty's Ship Boreas relative to the illegal trade carried on between the Americans & the British West India Islands, Bound manuscript, 1784-1786
In 1784, Captain Horatio Nelson was given command of the Boreas, a twenty-eight-gun frigate, with orders to enforce the British Navigation Acts that required all imports be carried in English ships. The acts had become a major problem after the end of the American Revolution because American vessels dominated trade between the West Indies and the former colonies. When Nelson seized four illegally laden American ships that had obviously violated the Navigation Acts, the captains sued him for illegal seizure. In the ensuing trial, the judge eventually found in favor of the British navy. However, to avoid arrest and imprisonment, Nelson spent nearly eight months aboard his frigate.
Account of a voyage to Jamaica, Manuscript journal by an English carpenter, 1816-1818
This journal describes a journey from London to Jamaica, life on the island, and a voyage to Wilmington, Delaware, and back to England
Claude Joseph Désiré Charnay (1828-1915)
Photographic album albumen prints, 1859-1860
An album of thirty-five albumen prints is from the first systematic photographic expedition to the ruins at Mitla, Izamal, Chichén Itzá, and Uxmal, Mexico. French photographer and explorer, Désiré Charnay, made the photographs during two seasons of fieldwork in 1859 and 1860. Charnay's work was instrumental in attracting serious scholarly interest in pre-conquest Mexico, thus setting the stage for later intensive archaeological studies of Mesoamerican civilization.
Codex-style vase with sixty hieroglyphs, Red and black on cream ceramic.
Guatemalan lowlands. Maya, Late Classic Period, A.D. 700-900
As in all societies where lineage serves political purposes, the Maya kept dynastic lists in varied forms, including architectural elements, sarcophagi, and ceramic objects. This vessel, with its calligraphic hieroglyphs and restricted palette of red and brown-black on cream, is part of a tradition called "codex style" that is thought to mimic the appearance of Mayan books. Most painted vessels of this type deal with mythological topics, but this example is one of a small set that appears to deal with historical information. The vase records the names and dates of rulers associated with the city-state of Calakmul in the Yucatan, Mexico.