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Athenaeum programs are made possible through major funding support from the RI Council for Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Athenaeum activities are made possible in part by a grant from the RI State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the RI General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Our thanks to season sponsor Campus Fine Wines.

October 2015 Salons and Programs


Fri 10/2, 5-7pm (5pm reception, 5:30 program, followed by book sale and signing): SALON and Book Launch, co-presented with the Brown University Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies and Tagus Press: Literary scholar Patricio Ferrari and other contributors on the collection of scholarly essays  “Fernando Pessoa as English Reader and Writer,” co-edited by Ferrari and Jerónimo Pizarro and published in Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies 28. Portuguese poet, writer, literary critic, translator, publisher, and philosopher Fernando Pessoa was one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century. With his digitized private library now online (thanks to Ferrari and several others), the importance of English to Pessoa has become indisputable. Numerous English authors served as the bedrock from which his poetic sensibility emerged, developed, and soared, and many of his writings (including those attributed to his heteronyms and/or to other literary personae) were greatly informed by these original sources. This volume includes unpublished materials, new transcriptions of texts Pessoa originally wrote in English, and verse translations by Pessoa into Portuguese.

Fri 10/9, 5-7pm (5pm reception, 5:30 program, followed by book sale and signing): SALON: Providence College Associate Professor of Sociology Cedric de Leon on the 19th century origins of the separation of the labor movement from the civil rights movement, and how the repercussions of that separation are still felt today, as described in his new book, The Origins of Right to Work: Antilabor Democracy in Nineteenth-Century Chicago. In his new book, de Leon argues that political parties since the U.S. Civil War have prompted the American labor movement ​​​to see the struggle for black civil rights as past or passing, and therefore less ​urgent than the needs of white working class men. Join us for a conversation about how the history of the political isolation of labor ​from civil rights affects the way we view class and race relations today.  

Fri 10/16, 5-7pm: SALON: Artists/organizers Dr. Ehsun Mirza, Irum Haque, and Saberah Malik, along with the City of Providence Deputy Director of Arts, Culture + Tourism Stephanie Fortunato, in a conversation on the juried exhibit MORE THAN MY RELIGION, highlighting the power of art to transcend the boundaries of language, culture, nationality, and faith, moderated by RISD Assistant Professor of Modern Architectural History Ijlal Muzaffar. In today’s society, opinions about a group of people can be quickly formed through the divides that we construct in our minds. Through the creative energy of visual art, we can unlearn these differences. MORE THAN MY RELIGION is an exhibition showcasing the talent of local Muslim American artists while providing the public with an enlightening perspective on shared values for community, life, and coexistence across people of different backgrounds. Read more about the exhibit and its genesis from the city and the ProJo. Juried by Jill Brody, the exhibit is on view 10/8 – 11/17 at the Gallery at City Hall, open to the public during City Hall business hours: Mon - Fri, 8:30am to 4:30pm. See the exhibit and join the conversation!

Sat 10/17, 2-4pm: Meet Our New Executive Director and his family! Join the Athenaeum in welcoming our new Executive Director Matt Burriesci, his wife Erin, and their children Violet and Henry, to our community! Drop in at the library for tours, a glance into the Philbrick Rare Book Room, refreshments, and remarks by Matt at 3pm. All are welcome; families encouraged! No RSVP required.

Fri 10/23, 5-7pm: SALON, co-presented with FirstWorks: Brandeis University Assistant Professor of African and Afro- American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Jasmine Johnson on "Black Social Dance: Rhythm, Race, Community." In February, 2016, FirstWorks will present Urban Bush Women performing Walking With ‘Trane, a work emblematic of UBW’s practice of weaving contemporary dance, music, and text with the history, culture, and spiritual traditions of African Americans and the African Diaspora. Join Johnson as she helps create the context for the February concert by asking: What is black social dance? What is the relationship between dance and African American's long fight for racial equality? She will situate the history of black social dance alongside the history of black liberation, to explore some of the lessons that black social dance can teach us about freedom, community, and the power of movement. 

Sat 10/24, 4pm talk, 5:30pm cocktail reception: Goat Hill Writers presents “What’s Happening in Children’s Publishing?” a conversation between Francesco Sedita, President and Publisher of a Penguin Young Readers imprint, and writer Ann Hood. Francesco Sedita will talk with Ann Hood about his career in children's publishing and what's happening in the children’s publishing world, offering insights and advice for writers of picture books, middle grade fiction, nonfiction, and young adult fiction—and those interested in the publishing industry. Ample time will be allowed for questions and a cocktail reception will take place immediately after the talk.


Fri 10/30, 5 to 7pm, SALON: Trinity Repertory Company Resident Artist Joe Wilson, Jr. on Strayhorn, Ferguson, and Black Lives in America. With the support of a Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship, Wilson is currently writing a play about the life and work of Billy Strayhorn, the American jazz composer, pianist, lyricist, arranger, and close collaborator of Duke Ellington. Wilson is also one of 50 playwrights from across the country invited to participate in the 2015 Oregon Shakespeare Festival/One-Minute Play Festival’s "Every 28 Hours: An Investigation of The Events In Ferguson Missouri, and Black Lives In America," a week-long residency in Ferguson and St. Louis, MO this fall, to be followed by performances of the resulting 50 one-minute plays in the playwrights’ home communities. The plays will be performed at Trinity on Monday, October 26 at 7pm, which is four days prior to this Salon presentation; show is free and open to the public, reservations are required! Reserve by email:, please include the date of the show in your request. Be sure to attend the performance, and join us for this conversation on the plays, as well as Wilson’s experience in thinking and writing about African-American lives from both history and the present.

*Check out the NYT's coverage of "Every 28 Hours" here, and Joe's thoughts at HowlRound.*

Our thanks to the Brown Bookstore for making books available for sale and signing.


November Programs