Religion and Culture in the Americas Seminar at the Newberry Library

The Newberry Library is hosting a Religion and Culture in the Americas Seminar on Friday, November 10, 2017. Unlike other seminars, this one provides an opportunity for attendees to read the paper before the seminar and participate in the discussion. Neither presenter reads the paper at the seminar but rather comments on the goals of the work. A respondent critiques both papers and then the seminar is open for discussion.

The sponsors of the seminar are Albion College, the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Wheaton College. More details below:

When: Friday, November 10, 2017 / 3:00pm to 5:00pm / Room 101
Where: The Newberry Library / 60 West Walton Street / Chicago IL 60610

Two papers will be presented:

The Benedictines, Sugar and Slavery: Texts, Contexts and Material Culture from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Worlds
James Krippner, Haverford College 
This paper will present an overview and some initial archival and visual culture research findings from Brazil and Portugal from what is ultimately intended to be a multi-volume study of sugar, slavery, and Christianity and in the Portuguese colonial world. The paper will emphasize the network of Benedictine monasteries within the Portuguese empire and especially colonial Brazil that developed from the late sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, though I shall also consider the Benedictine presence in the late medieval Mediterranean world and early modern Angola. The paper will conclude with a brief discussion of the role played by Benedictines in terms of the abolition of slavery in Brazil. In 1871 Benedictines freed all their slaves, seventeen years prior to Brazilian emancipation in 1888.

Quaker Institutionalism and the Success of Antislavery Legislation:
The New England Yearly Meeting, 1760-1784
          Kevin Vrevich, Ohio State University
After declaring slavery incompatible with Truth and the Inner Light in the 1760s, Quakers worked tirelessly over the next three decades to eradicate slaveholding within their meetings and in the states where they lived. Yet while Quaker beliefs and Revolutionary rhetoric tend to receive credit for the success of gradual emancipation, Quakers’ institutional nature and past experience in politics played a far more vital role in securing antislavery victories. This paper seeks to examine the importance of Quaker institutions and activism to antislavery success through an examination of the New England Yearly Meeting in Rhode Island from 1760-1784.

The respondent for this session will be Aaron Fogleman, Northern Illinois University. Newberry Scholarly Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically. For a copy of the paper, email Please only request a paper if you plan to attend.

For more information on the seminar series, please visit the Newberry website.

Private Tour of the Newberry Library's Exhibit, Religious Change, 1450-1700

The Newberry Library's exhibit Religious Change, 1450-1700 is a multidisciplinary exploration of how religion and print challenged authority, upended society, and made the medieval world modern. CARA's Steering Committee has arranged a private tour of the exhibit with Christopher D. Fletcher, Program Assistant at Newberry's Center for Renaissance Studies.

The tour will take place on Friday, November 17, 2017 at 2pm. The tour is open to anyone who is interested and costs $5 per person (please bring cash or check payable to The Newberry Library). I hope you will join us for what is "bound" to be a fascinating afternoon! Please RSVP to Jerice Barrios at by November 10.

2017 CARA Fall Meeting, "Endangered Archives"

Fall Leaves. Photo by Sister Jean Reardon, r.c.
Courtesy Archives of the N.A. Province of the Cenacle.

The 2017 CARA Fall Meeting will be held on Thursday, November 9, 1-3pm. The theme will be "Endangered Archives," and the meeting is being co-sponsored by Chicago Area Archivists (CAA). Here are the details:

What: CAA and CARA present a panel discussion on "Endangered Archives". How do you identify endangered archival collections, and what steps can be taken to save them? The speakers will be:
  • Wanda Dole, Archives of Episcopal Diocese of Chicago
  • Jane Kenamore, Kenamore & Klinkow
  • Malachy McCarthy, Claretian Missionaries Archives USA-Canada
  • Anita Mechler, Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC)
Where: The Claretian Building, 10th Floor, 205 W. Monroe St., Chicago, IL. For those driving, there are public parking garages in the near vicinity.

When: Thursday, November 9, 2017, 1-3pm.

The meeting is free and open to anyone who is interested in attending. Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to Jerice Barrios at by November 6, 2017. We hope to see you there!