Jay I. Kislak Chair for the Study of the History and Cultures of the Early Americas
About the Chair
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 interdisciplinary 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 also helps to convene scholars, invited by the chair for seminars, consultations, and ongoing study of the artifacts in the Kislak Collection.
Stephen Houston is the Dupee Family professor of social science and a professor in the Department of Anthropology at Brown University. He has worked on the excavations of several major Mayan cities, most recently the ancient city of El Zotz in Guatemala and on collaborative advances in mapping with lidar technology. His interpretations of stylized representations of the human body reveal the concepts that underlie ancient Maya existence and his research on writing around the world reconstructs how early scripts begin, flourish and die. A major participant in the decipherment of Maya script, Houston draws on inscriptions and figural art to reconstruct the political and social structure of Mayan civilization, including the dynamics of royal court life and the role of religion.
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.
By the Librarian of Congress
$13,500 per month
For More Information
The John W. Kluge Center
Phone: (202) 707-3302