Daily Archives: October 6, 2022

Siddhartha V. Shah Named Director Of The Mead Art Museum At Amherst College – Amherst Indy

Source: Amherst College News

Amherst College announced on August 10 that Siddhartha V. Shah, Director of Education and Civic Engagement and the Curator of South Asian Art at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), has been named the John Wieland 1958 Director of the College’s Mead Art Museum. Shah will take over the reins of the Mead from interim director Michael Kunichika–who is director of the Amherst Center for Russian Culture and an Associate Professor of Russian at Amherst–on Nov. 15.

In his new role, Shah will oversee the museum’s collections, acquisitions, exhibitions and programs, as well as a variety of initiatives aimed at deepening engagement with the community both on and off campus. He will work closely with faculty members across disciplines to make the Mead’s resources available for their courses, research and creative work; with students to foster their involvement with the museum as interns, docents, artists, scholars and visitors; and with area schools and community organizations to expand programming in the region. In addition, he will serve as the museum’s chief fundraiser.

“Siddhartha impressed us with his background and experience, and with his commitment to education, collaboration and broadening access to art on our campus and beyond,” said Catherine Epstein, provost, dean of the faculty and Henry Steele Commager Professor of History. “We are eager to see his vision at work at the museum and the new directions in which he takes the Mead.”

Fostering intersectional learning and cross-cultural understanding through the arts has long been a guiding principle of Shah’s life and career. That philosophy has shaped his curatorial work, as well as his commitment to education and community engagement, he said. “I aspire to help people see their lives and experiences reflected back at them, through objects and stories from cultures that may be completely different from their own,” he explained. “This is how art helps us better understand ourselves and each other. This is how art can break down barriers to grow and nourish a community. I am excited to do my own part to do exactly that at the Mead, the College and in Western Massachusetts.”

Shah joined PEM in 2018 and served first as the curator of South Asian art and then added director of education and civic engagement to his title in 2020. Prior to that he operated the Siddhartha V. Shah Fine Art in Berkeley, Calif., and New York, and also worked as an art consultant and gallery director. As a curator, he specializes in Hindu and Buddhist art of the Kathmandu Valley, visual and material culture of Victorian India, 19th century European painting, and modern Indian art. Among other notable accomplishments, Shah curated the installation of PEM’s new South Asian Art Galleries to consider how colonial occupation shaped ideas and perceptions of India that persist today. The project shed new light on the museum’s renowned Chester and Davida Herwitz Collection of modern Indian Art and what it reveals about nation-building and self-discovery. Most recently, he curated the exhibition Zachari Logan: Remembrance, which opened in May 2022.

Shah received a bachelor of arts degree in art history from Johns Hopkins University, a master’s in East-West psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies, and a doctorate in art history from Columbia University. He was a member of the 2020-21 City of Salem (Mass.) Race Equity Task Force and currently serves on the boards of the American Council for Southern Asian Art, the Salem (Mass.) YMCA, the Advisory Council of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect and the Professional Alliance for Curators of Color (Association of Art Museum Curators).

About The Mead Art Museum
Established with funds bequeathed by William Rutherford Mead (class of 1867), a partner in the storied architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, the Mead Art Museum holds the 19,000-object art collection of Amherst College, representing a wide range of historical periods, national schools and artistic media. The Mead’s collection includes American and European paintings and the Thomas P. Whitney, class of 1937, Collection of Russian Art, as well as Mexican ceramics, Tibetan scroll paintings, an English paneled room, ancient Assyrian carvings, West African sculpture, Korean ceramics, Japanese prints and fine holdings of American furniture and silver.

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From the Galleons to the Highlands: Slave Trade Routes in the Spanish Americas (Diálogos Series): Alex Borucki, David Eltis, David Wheat

The essays in this book demonstrate the importance of transatlantic and intra-American slave trafficking in the development of colonial Spanish America, highlighting the Spanish colonies’ previously underestimated significance within the broader history of the slave trade. Spanish America received African captives not only directly via the transatlantic slave trade but also from slave markets in the Portuguese, English, Dutch, French, and Danish Americas, ultimately absorbing more enslaved Africans than any other imperial jurisdiction in the Americas except Brazil.

The contributors focus on the histories of slave trafficking to, within, and across highly diverse regions of Spanish America throughout the entire colonial period, with themes ranging from the earliest known transatlantic slaving voyages during the sixteenth century to the evolution of antislavery efforts within the Spanish empire.

Students and scholars will find the comprehensive study and analysis in From the Galleons to the Highlands invaluable in examining the study of the slave trade to colonial Spanish America.


“This volume will be a reference for scholars interested in empirical reassessments of slave trading and routes of passage to Spanish America. Many of these chapters will fit easily into a standard college curriculum.”–Norah L. A. Gharala, Bulletin for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies

“Beyond the implications for understanding Atlantic slavery, From the Galleons to the Highlands sets a model for reevaluating one of the central ‘branches’ of the transatlantic slave trade and establishes a precedent for further investigation of the intra-slave trade among the various other empires that drove this trafficking of humans.”–William A. Morgan, H-LatAm

“As the text more than adequately proves, much can be gained by including the experiences of colonial Spain within the larger transnational histories of the Atlantic slave trade. . . . This is an important book that will be of value to a variety of scholars and their students. Highly recommended.”–J. Rankin, Choice

“[This book] is an important contribution to the growing literature on the Atlantic World. The contributors explore the labor and intellectual role of enslaved and free Africans in the organization of colonial towns and economies in the Spanish Empire.”–Mariana P. Candido, author of An African Slaving Port and the Atlantic World: Benguela and Its Hinterland

About the Author

Alex Borucki is an associate professor of history at the University of California Irvine and the author of From Shipmates to Soldiers: Emerging Black Identities in the Río de la Plata (UNM Press).

David Eltis is the Robert W. Woodruff Emeritus Professor of History at Emory University and the author of The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas.

David Wheat is an associate professor of history at Michigan State University and the author of Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640.

  • Publisher‏ : ‎ University of New Mexico Press (May 1, 2020)
  • Language‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback‏ : ‎ 360 pages
  • ISBN-10‏ : ‎ 0826361161
  • ISBN-13‏ : ‎ 978-0826361165
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.24 pounds
  • Dimensions‏ : ‎ 6 x 1.4 x 8.9 inches

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The Spanish Caribbean and the Atlantic World in the Long Sixteenth Century: David Wheat; Ida Altman

he Spanish Caribbean and the Atlantic World in the Long Sixteenth Century breaks new ground in articulating the early Spanish Caribbean as a distinct and diverse group of colonies loosely united under Spanish rule for roughly a century prior to the establishment of other European colonies.

In the sixteenth century no part of the Americas was more diverse; international; or as closely tied to Spain, the islands of the Atlantic, western Africa, and the Spanish American mainland than the Caribbean. The Caribbean experienced rapid growth during this period, displayed considerable ethnic and religious diversity, developed extensive networks of exchange both within and beyond the region, and played an important role in the broader Spanish colonization of the Americas. Contributors address topics such as the role of religious orders, the development of transatlantic and regional commercial systems, insular and regional political dynamics in relation to imperial objectives, the formation of colonial society, and the effects on Caribbean colonial society of the importation and incorporation of large numbers of indigenous captives and enslaved Africans.


“The Spanish Caribbean and the Atlantic World in the Long Sixteenth Century conveys the foundational character of the region for the immediate postcontact Americas while also allowing room for debate and more subtle articulations of the period’s historical diversity. . . . Educators will benefit from assigning the book in its entirety to specialized classes or using its many valuable individual essays to fill in the cracks of Latin American, Caribbean, or Atlantic history syllabi.”—Jesse Cromwell, H-LatAm

“Covering both standard topics and less conventional subjects, this volume reminds us of the multiple research opportunities related to the sixteenth-century Caribbean that still deserve attention from scholars. It also provides plentiful evidence that the early colonial Spanish Caribbean functioned as a social, economic, and immigration incubator for the Atlantic world with far-reaching ramifications.”—Daniel S. Murphree, Hispanic American Historical Review

“The editors have assembled a uniformly strong collection of essays. This is essential reading for those interested in Iberian America, the West Indies, and the Atlantic world. Bravo to Altman and Wheat!”—Carla G. Pestana, professor of history and Joyce Appleby Endowed Chair of America in the World at the University of California, Los Angeles Published On: 2018-09-21

“This extremely interesting collection of highly original, engagingly written essays demonstrates persuasively the enormous richness and tantalizing complexity of the initial century of contact between Europeans and indigenous Americans in the Caribbean. This work provides a wonderful window on the early Americas.”—Franklin W. Knight, Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor Emeritus and Academy Professor at Johns Hopkins University Published On: 2018-09-21

“This excellent volume brings together the work of veteran historians with that of a new generation of scholars in a series of detailed and innovative studies.”—Stuart B. Schwartz, George Burton Adams Professor of History at Yale University Published On: 2018-09-21

About the Author

Ida Altman is a professor emerita of history at the University of Florida. She is the author, coauthor, or editor of several books, including Emigrants and Society: Extremadura and Spanish America in the Sixteenth Century and The War for Mexico’s West: Spaniards and Indians in New Galicia, 1524–1550. David Wheat is an associate professor of history at Michigan State University. He is the author of Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570–1640.

  • Publisher‏ : ‎ University of Nebraska Press (June 1, 2019)
  • Language‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback‏ : ‎ 330 pages
  • ISBN-10‏ : ‎ 0803299575
  • ISBN-13‏ : ‎ 978-0803299573
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.06 pounds
  • Dimensions‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.73 x 9 inches

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