Rachel Carson Papers | Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

https://beinecke.library.yale.edu/collections/highlights/rachel-carson-papers

Rachel Carson Papers at the Beinecke Library

The Rachel Carson Papers consist of manuscripts, notebooks, letters, newspaper clippings, photos, and printed material relating to the life and career of the noted biologist and environmentalist. The collection spans the years 1921 to 1981, with the bulk of the material covering the period from 1950 to 1964.

Visit the library’s website to learn more: https://beinecke.library.yale.edu/col…

Health Justice Advocates Say Vaccine Equity, Not “Racist” Travel Bans, Will Stop the Om icron Variant


We go to Cape Town, South Africa, to speak with a leading health justice advocate about how scientists in the country have identified a new Omicron coronavirus variant, and the World Health Organization warns it could be more transmissible than previous variants. Against the advice of the WHO, several countries have closed their borders to foreign travelers. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa criticized the travel bans and called on wealthy nations to help poorer nations gain greater access to COVID vaccines. The bans are “actually quite racist,” says Fatima Hassan, founder and director of Health Justice Initiative. “We need to urgently … vaccinate as many people in Africa as possible.”

The History of How the U.S. Almost Solved Climate Change


How the U.S. government came to fully understand the threat of climate change during the 1980’s, 90’s, and 00’s, but was never able to put serious limits on greenhouse gas emissions. This extended, ad-free episode https://tdc.video/programs/the-comple… Featuring interviews with: Writer Nathaniel Rich – Losing Earth: The Decade We Could Have Stopped Climate Change Article: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2… Book: https://www.amazon.com/Losing-Earth-H… Rafe Pomerance: a leading climate change activist who has worked for decades to put – and keep – the issue on the agenda in Washington D.C. https://www.woodwellclimate.org/staff… Full list of research links available to members of https://tdc.video/

For the MFA, Benin Bronzes are a troubling gift – The Boston Globe

Can a stolen object ever be ethically owned? Amid growing calls for restitution, museums mull consequences of keeping precious artifacts looted during a colonial era.

By Malcolm Gay Globe Staff,Updated November 27, 2021, 2:33 p.m.

In 2012, the Museum of Fine Arts received what seemed like an unimaginable promised gift: a trove of centuries-old masterworks from the Benin kingdom, located in present-day Nigeria.

The gift was not without its complications. Many of the 32 works, known as Benin Bronzes, had been among the estimated thousandsforcibly seized by the British in 1897, when troops captured Benin City and ransacked the royal palace.

The precious loot would be parceled out over time and scattered to various museums and private troves. More than a century later, intact collections of the Bronzes were not only rare, they were also controversial. But former MFA director Malcolm Rogers was determined to secure the collection for Boston, where the museum had only begun assembling its modest African holdings in 1991.

“This is the transformation of our collection,” Rogers said at the time. “It’s some of the greatest art ever produced in Africa.”

Today, the MFA finds itself at a crossroads as Bronzes around the worldhave become a central focus in the ongoing struggle over artifacts looted during that colonial era. The debate has intensified in recent months with a number of European museums moving to return the objects amid intensifying calls for restitution.

Today, the MFA finds itself at a crossroads as Bronzes around the worldhave become a central focus in the ongoing struggle over artifacts looted during that colonial era. The debate has intensified in recent months with a number of European museums moving to return the objects amid intensifying calls for restitution.

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Congo’s Missing Millions – BBC Africa Eye documentary


Congo’s Missing Millions – BBC Africa Eye documentary
BBC News AfricaPremiere in progress. Started 16 minutes ago
Unlocking secrets from Africa’s biggest banking data leak, BBC Africa Eye reveals how millions of dollars of public funds ended up in the private bank accounts of businesses based in Democratic Republic of Congo and owned by family and associates of former President Joseph Kabila. This programme also raises serious questions about unexplained transactions through an official account for the office of the Presidency when Joseph Kabila was in power. How much did the former president know?

The investigation is part of #CongoHoldUp, an international collaboration with access to evidence from BGFI Bank. *** Africa Eye brings you original, investigative journalism revealing secrets and rooting out injustice in the world’s most complex and exciting continent. Nothing stays hidden forever.

Benin Bronzes … The Boston Globe

Portuguese Soldier from the 16th century in the Benin Kingdom Gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts. The museum must decide what to do with this collection, which was looted by British troops during a 19th century military expedition.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Can a stolen object ever be ethically owned? Amid growing calls for restitution, museums mull consequences of keeping precious artifacts looted during a colonial era.

By Malcolm Gay Globe Staff,Updated November 27, 2021, 2:33 p.m.

In 2012, the Museum of Fine Arts received what seemed like an unimaginable promised gift: a trove of centuries-old masterworks from the Benin kingdom, located in present-day Nigeria.

The gift was not without its complications. Many of the 32 works, known as Benin Bronzes, had been among the estimated thousands forcibly seized by the British in 1897, when troops captured Benin City and ransacked the royal palace.

The precious loot would be parceled out over time and scattered to various museums and private troves. More than a century later, intact collections of the Bronzes were not only rare, they were also controversial. But former MFA director Malcolm Rogers was determined to secure the collection for Boston, where the museum had only begun assembling its modest African holdings in 1991.

“This is the transformation of our collection,” Rogers said at the time. “It’s some of the greatest art ever produced in Africa.”

Today, the MFA finds itself at a crossroads as Bronzes around the world have become a central focus in the ongoing struggle over artifacts looted during that colonial era. The debate has intensified in recent months with a number of European museums moving to return the objects amid intensifying calls for restitution.

Today, the MFA finds itself at a crossroads as Bronzes around the world have become a central focus in the ongoing struggle over artifacts looted during that colonial era. The debate has intensified in recent months with a number of European museums moving to return the objects amid intensifying calls for restitution.

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“The question for American institutions is: How many times does a stolen African object have to change hands between Europeans and Americans until it’s no longer stolen?” said Hicks, who is also a curator at Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum. “This is a conversation for Boston.”

As a measure of the MFA’s evolving response, the museum told the Globein July it planned to move forward and accept the promised gift: To date, the museum owns five of the 32 Bronzes on display in its dedicated Benin Kingdom Gallery. The donor, banking scion Robert Owen Lehman, owns the other 27, which he plans to transfer to the museum in the coming years.

After the Globe began asking questions about the collection, the museum shifted course, saying it was temporarily “pausing converting promised gifts to outright gifts.”

“It’s not the right time to start bringing things into the collection,” said Teitelbaum. “At the same time, we certainly don’t think we should encourage the return of the objects to the donor.”

* * *

For centuries, the kingdom of Benin — not to be confused with the country of Benin, which borders Nigeria — was a major power in West Africa, where it derived a portion of its wealth from European trade in pepper, palm oil, and, at one point, enslaved people.

But by January 1897, tensions were high when a trade dispute prompted James Phillips, an official with England’s Niger Coast Protectorate, to defy the wishes of theoba, or king, and travel as anenvoy to Benin City. An attack party ambushed Phillips’s group, killing seven British officials including Phillips along with an estimated 200 or more African carriers.

The attack inflamed colonial passions, and within weeks the British had launched a so-called punitive expedition, described by newspapers at the time as a “little war” to avenge the attack and “thrash the bloodthirsty savages.”

Traveling by foot and by boat, a large contingent of soldiers made their way inland that February, killing untold numbers as they machine-gunned their way toward the capital, ultimately capturing Benin City and ransacking the royal palace.

“They’re making these very precise inland attacks from the ships and then retreating back,” said Hicks, author of “The Brutish Museums,” which reexamines the attack and the role museums played in the colonial enterprise. “Of course, that’s how you’re able to ship the cargo out. That’s how you can do so much looting.”

No one knows for certain how many objects the British plundered. It’s believed there are more than 3,000 Benin artifacts, though some estimate the real figure is closer to 10,000.

The Benin Bronzes — a catch-all term that includes cast metal heads, figures, and relief plaques as well as other materials such as carved ivory and wood that date from at least the 16th century onward —played an integral role in the life of the kingdom, commemorating past rulers and offering an idealized history of dynastic life.

In London, their beauty and technical bravura were recognized almost instantly. One museum curator hailed them as a “new ‘Codex Africanus,’ not written on fragile papyrus but in ivory and imperishable brass”; his European counterpart compared them favorably to the work of renaissance sculptor Benvenuto Cellini.

Some of the choicest works, including a pair of ivory leopards, went to Queen Victoria. The British Museum now has more than 900 objects, including many plaques that once ornamented the palace. Some of the works were sold by dealers; others were retained by expedition members as spoils of war. Many more were dispersed around the world.

Today, Hicks estimates that more than 160 institutions possess items from the raid, including American museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Chicago’s Field Museum, and Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.

Precious few of the Bronzes, however, are in Nigeria.

“When you ask questions, they tell you, ‘Oh, you can come see it in our museum, we have kept it well,’” said Victor Ehikhamenor, an artist who has long advocated the Bronzes’ return.“At some point, humanity has to prevail.”

* * *

Lehman, who declined an interview request through a museum spokesperson, assembled his collection over the course of decades, often purchasing from dealers. And while the MFA declined to estimate the collection’s overall value, individual Bronzes can fetch millions even as their sale stirs outrage: Just two years before Lehman’s promised gift, Sotheby’s withdrew an ivory mask estimated at $7 million after the Nigerians denounced the sale.

In Boston, it took less than a month after the announcement of Lehman’s gift for Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments to cry foul, sending a letter in July 2012 demanding the MFA “return these works to their home.”

But former director Rogers held firm.

“We have every right in the world to own these beautiful pieces and make them available for the world public,” he told the Globe at the time. “It’s one of the most special things that museums do. We move objects into the public domain.”

The commission’s director-general, Yusuf Abdallah Usman, fired back: “If these works of art . . . are so wonderful to move into the public domain in the US, would it not be more appropriate if they are first returned to their home?” he told The Art Newspaper. “We demand the return of these looted works.”

Oba Erediauwa, whom Rogers approached separately, eventually sanctioned the display, sending a delegation to attend the 2013 gallery opening. The oba, who died in 2016, also instructed Bostonians from Nigeria’s Edo State, whose capital is Benin City, to work with the museum to help interpret the works.

“He did not make a statement about long-term ownership issues,” Teitelbaum said. “But he did express pleasure that there was going to be this platform for understanding what these objects meant.”

Rogers, who retired from the MFA in 2015, declined an interview request.

In the years since, the MFA has continued to engage the Edo diaspora, with free museum admission, youth symposia, family events, and language lessons. Teitelbaum added thatthere’s a strong argument for exhibiting the works at the MFA, which normallyhosts around 1.2 million visitors annually.

“There is real value in the representation of culture in international museums like the MFA,” said Teitelbaum. “There’s real value in having those objects here for teaching, and for helping push museums to be more transparent and accountable.”

To that end, the museum was among the first to explicitly describe the forceful removal of the Bronzes in its gallery labels, a practice since replicated by other institutions.

“The recognition of that history is in itself progress,” said Chika Okeke-Agulu, who directs the African studies program at Princeton University. Even so, he said, “those objects belong to Nigeria.”

* * *

A growing number of European institutions have reached the same conclusion.

Germany, whose combined state museums house roughly 1,100Bronzes, signed a preliminary agreement with Nigeria last month paving the way to return a substantial number of Bronzes beginning next year.

Barbara Plankensteiner, director of Hamburg’s Museum am Rothenbaum, called the decision “a moral obligation.”

Several British institutions have also initiated returns. In late October, Jesus College at the University of Cambridge returned a bronze cockerel; the next day, the University of Aberdeen in Scotland returneda commemorative bronze head of an oba that it purchased in the 1950s.

Master of Jesus College Sonita Alleyne (left) and Abba Isa Tijani, director general of Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments, spoke before a transfer ceremony for the looted bronze cockerel, known as the Okukur, to Nigeria. Joe Giddens/Associated Press

In a statement before the transfer ceremony at Aberdeen, Oba Ewuare II said he hoped other institutions would take note and “see the injustice when they insist on holding on to items,” adding, the “return of stolen art is the right thing to do.”

Meanwhile, Abba Isa Tijani, director general of Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments, said in a statement at Jesus College that “we would like other museums and institutions across the world to take this opportunity and follow suit.”

The returns follow years of work by the Benin Dialogue Group, an international consortium of European museum heads and Nigerian leaders that has been discussing the Bronzes for more than a decade. They also coincide with plans to build the Edo Museum of West African Art, which is being designed by the Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye to display Bronzes and other works.

Restitution efforts are slowly gaining momentum in the United States, where a few museums have approached Nigerian officials about returning the objects. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art announced earlier this month it had identified 16 pilfered Bronzes in its collection that the museum would seek to return.

“It’s clear the objects were looted,” director Ngaire Blankenberg told the Globe before the announcement. “They were stolen.”

Ehikhamenor, who is also a member of the nonprofit trust that is spearheading the new museum, attributed the restitution movement’s current strength in part to a groundbreaking 2018 report commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron that urged the permanent return of objects looted from Africa.

“He really set fire at a lot of institutions,” said Ehikhamenor. “Other presidents have no choice but to listen. Other institutions now know that they really don’t have any more moral ground to stand on.”

* * *

The MFA, which has grown in recent years to become a leader in restitution matters, garnered praise in 2014 when it returned eight items to Nigeria that were likely trafficked in the preceding decades.

Kathryn Wysocki Gunsch, the museum’s chair and curator of African and Oceanic art, emphasized that the Lehman collection places the museum in an unusual position: Although all 32 Bronzes are promised to the MFA, the collector still owns most of the works on display.

“This sounds duplicitous, but it is something seriously to consider: You can only return something if you own it,” said Gunsch, who specializes in the art of the Benin kingdom. “And you can only return something once.”

Gunsch, who is also the MFA’s director of collections, added that despite Usman’s 2012 demand, it remains unclear who has proper standing to make a restitution claim: Is it the oba?  Edo State? Or is it Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments?

“It is not for art museums to adjudicate which claimant is the right claimant” said Gunsch, who added there has been recent division among the parties. “You have to wait and see how it sorts out. That’s true anytime there’s a claim for our works.”

Enotie Ogbebor, an artist and authority on the Bronzes, bristled at the notion that the Nigerians lack a proper claimant, noting the MFA’s European counterparts have proceeded with restitutions.

“All other issues about ownership are issues that will be resolved internally,” said Ogbebor. “You cannot pretend to be an ostrich.”

In a statement before the transfer ceremony at Aberdeen, Oba Ewuare II said he hoped other institutions would take note and “see the injustice when they insist on holding on to items,” adding, the “return of stolen art is the right thing to do.”

Meanwhile, Abba Isa Tijani, director general of Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments, said in a statement at Jesus College that “we would like other museums and institutions across the world to take this opportunity and follow suit.”

The returns follow years of work by the Benin Dialogue Group, an international consortium of European museum heads and Nigerian leaders that has been discussing the Bronzes for more than a decade. They also coincide with plans to build the Edo Museum of West African Art, which is beingdesigned by the Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye to display Bronzes and other works.

Restitution efforts are slowly gaining momentum in the United States, where a few museums have approached Nigerian officials about returning the objects. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art announced earlier this month it had identified 16 pilfered Bronzes in its collection that the museum would seek to return.

“It’s clear the objects were looted,” director Ngaire Blankenberg told the Globe before the announcement. “They were stolen.”

Ehikhamenor, who is also a member of the nonprofit trust that is spearheading the new museum, attributed the restitution movement’s current strength in part to a groundbreaking 2018 report commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron that urged the permanent return of objects looted from Africa.

“He really set fire at a lot of institutions,” said Ehikhamenor. “Other presidents have no choice but to listen. Other institutions now know that they really don’t have any more moral ground to stand on.”

The Benin Kingdom Gallery at the MFA, Boston. Lane Turner/Globe Staff

So far, the Nigerians haven’t submitted a renewed claim to the MFA. Teitelbaum said that whilethe museum has been in contact with “a number of interested parties,” he has not had direct contact with Oba Ewuare II. He added that whatever the museum ultimately decides, the process should betransparent.

This decision ”will come out of conversations with representatives in Nigeria and in the palace,” he said, noting that “you want to track how the issue moves. . . . Having an active dialogue helps us understand when that tipping point moves, and if it does, we will do the right thing.”

In the meantime, Ehikhamenor said, he’s hopeful more Bronzes will return to Nigeria.

“The children of the colonized are getting a bit wiser,” he said, noting that Nigeria didn’t gain independence until 1960. “The entanglements of colonialism took hundreds of years — to begin to unwind that is not going to be an overnight thing.”

Malcolm Gay can be reached at malcolm.gay@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @malcolmgay.

* * *

First Kluge Prize Awarded (December 2003) – Library of Congress Information Bulletin

Kluge-2

By GAIL FINEBERG

Leszek Kolakowski, 76, a scholar, philosopher, historian and gifted writer whose works informed and inspired the anti-totalitarian youth movement inside his native Poland, has been awarded the first John W. Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Human Sciences.

The $1 million Kluge Prize is given by the Library of Congress for lifetime achievement in the humanities and social sciences—areas of scholarship for which there are no Nobel Prizes. These disciplines include philosophy, history, political science, anthropology, sociology, religion, linguistics and criticism in the arts and literature.

“This is the first award of an international prize at the level, in terms of exhaustive inquiry and study as well as financial remuneration, of the Nobel Awards, in an area in which there are no Nobel-type level international prizes for the human sciences,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington in announcing the award at a packed news conference on Nov. 5 in the Library’s Whittall Pavilion.

Prosser-Kluge-01The Librarian said he thought it appropriate for this prize to be awarded in America, because American universities “have made a great effort and great investment” in studies of the humanities during the 20th century.

…..

Selection Process
The process that led to the selection of Leszek Kolakowski for the Kluge Prize began more than two years ago with a solicitation of nominations from more than 2,000 individuals worldwide: presidents or directors of universities, colleges and institutions of advanced research, and a wide variety of eminent scholars who were in a position to assess outstanding work in the humanities and social sciences. These nominations and others were reviewed by a number of other scholars. Curatorial specialists in the Library provided bibliographies and materials by and about nominees, and, in September 2002, the Library’s Council of Scholars conducted its review. Outside reviewers versed in particular fields, disciplines, cultures and languages were consulted and wrote evaluations throughout the process.

The final stage in the process was the convening in September 2003 of a special outside panel to review the selected group of 14 candidates for the prize. Five distinguished scholars experienced in a variety of high-quality scholarly selection procedures made up the final review panel. They were:

David Alexander, president emeritus of Pomona College in California, vice president of the Phi Beta Kappa Fellows, and former American secretary to the Rhodes Trust, whose doctorate from Oxford is in religion and philosophy;

Timothy Breen, professor of American history at Northwestern University, who after a doctorate at Yale has held appointments at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N. J., and at the National Humanities Center in Durham, N.C.;

Bruce Cole, the current chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), who was a distinguished professor of fine arts and of comparative literature at Indiana University in Bloomington; his doctorate is from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania;

Gertrude Himmelfarb, professor emerita of history at the Graduate School of the City University of New York, a noted scholar of intellectual and cultural history in the 17th and 18th centuries and a fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Historical Society; and

Amartya Sen, master of Trinity College, Cambridge University, England, who will become university professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard in 2004. A Nobel Prize laureate in economics, Sen was educated at Presidency College in Calcutta, India, and at Cambridge.

The discussion and recommendations of members of this panel were a key factor in advising the Librarian concerning his final selection. Billington, the 13th Librarian of Congress, was formerly professor of history at Princeton University, chairman of the board that governs the Fulbright Program and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Prosser Gifford, director of Scholarly Programs at the Library, supervised the selection process for the Kluge Prize. He holds graduate degrees from three different universities in three different subject areas of the human sciences and was formerly dean of faculty at Amherst College and deputy director of the Wilson Center.

[For further information on the life and work of the late Prosser Gifford as a distinguished scholar, a pioneering Africanist and an innovative administrator in both important university and senior government positions see:


See full article:

First-Kluge-award

.,..(read more).

How an international gang ran a $250 million money laundering operation, by @BBC Stories – BBC


Stream original BBC programmes FIRST on BBC iPlayer 👉 https://bbc.in/2J18jYJ
Subscribe and 🔔 to @BBC Stories 👉 https://bit.ly/2TJw0va

Following criminal cash from the streets of London to the gold markets of Dubai, BBC Panorama and the French media company Premieres Lignes reveal how an international crime gang laundered millions in drug money.

How Money Laundering Works | BBC

Robbed of culture and heritage: Canada’s Indigenous peoples | DW Documentary


Back then it was called assimilation. Now, it’s recognized as cultural genocide. For generations, Indigenous families in Canada were forced to send their children to residential schools where their culture and language were eroded.

The church-run schools, which operated between 1883 and 1996, were set up to turn Indigenous children into Christians and rid them of their heritage. They robbed them of their culture, and many were subjected to emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Disease and malnourishment were also common in the often-overcrowded schools. More than 4,000 children died while attending the schools. Since May of this year, with the help of new technology, around one thousand unmarked graves have been found at the sites of three former residential schools – two in British Colombia, and one in Saskatchewan.

The discoveries prompted a national outcry. The Canadian government has issued several apologies, but many feel these fall short of making up for the decades-long systematic mistreatment of Indigenous people. Among those is a group of survivors from Ontario, who brought a class action suit against the Canadian government. This documentary tracks their fight.

First Nations people and Inuit in Canada continue to face hardships. They experience a disproportionately high prevalence of suicide, substance use, and drug and alcohol addiction compared to the overall Canadian population. Perhaps even more worrying are the numbers concerning violence against Indigenous women. Twenty-four percent of all women killed in Canada belong to Indigenous communities. Between 1980 and 2012, a total of 1181 Indigenous women in Canada were reported missing or killed. Theirs is a story of struggle – tied to a past of systematic abuse that was even codified in the act of Parliament, the Indian Act. Following #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, this dark chapter of Canada’s history is now finally also receiving international attention.