Ra Ra Brunonia: Rhode Island Hall

Taxidermy-Original2

Rhode Island Hall seems to be one of the more unnoticed buildings on the Main Green—some only know it as Joukowsky, while others have never set foot inside. Little do people know that Rhode Island Hall has an incredibly cool history… and even used to home to a large collection of taxidermy (among other things). Yes, you read correctly.

Rhode Island Hall was built in 1840 to create new space for the Departments of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Mineralogy, Geology, and Natural History. Its name reflected the fact that the building was almost funded entirely by Rhode Islanders. The second floor of Rhode Island Hall was also Brown’s Museum of Natural History, which displayed a large variety of taxidermy and osteological species. Continue Reading


Scream it with me: THIS…IS…uhhh…Paxson?

“It’s before 4 p.m., you can’t use meal credi-” “SPAAAARRRTTTAAAAAAAA!”

Next Wednesday, the Brown community can experience the rare pleasure of uniting as one, in a scene reminiscent, in both scale and pomp, of the Transcontinental Railroad’s completion. Uniting, I say, and driving a sweaty, visceral spike straight through the heart of whatever whimpering modicum of respectability lies pitifully deep within the critically ill institution of liberal arts academia. Specifically, a screening of 300, presented (really? is that the word to use for crop-dusting us with liquid testosterone?) by the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World. It’s part of the JIAA’s “See the Movie…Then Think About It” series, which amounts to the classic game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” but replacing yourself with a Hollywood movie and Kevin Bacon with academic relevancy.

By all objective measures, it’s gonna be sick. Think about it: hundreds of your peers, that actor who plays Faramir telling stories in an eye-patch and metal bikini, cosmic amounts of Geneva Conventions-obliterating violence, Christina Paxson — wait, what?

Yep. Our brand new president is still in her first Hundred Days, but instead of playing it safe and limiting herself to the normal presidential stuff like touring the new gym and saying “hi” to oblivious freshmen, she’s decided to sit in on a movie whose main reason for being is to prove, once and for all, that the human drive for power and accomplishment exists independently of the presence of clothes. You gotta give it to her — she’s not afraid to take on the big issues of our time.

Our only advice to you, Christina, is this: either leave the room during the slow-mo (and, like, what, 20-minute long?) sex scene, or practice composing your face into a perfectly impassive mask of inner peace when every student turns to you to see how the face of the University reacts to such a confusing amount of eroticized pseudo-history.

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A cool thing you shouldn’t miss: Leonardo López Luján

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If you’re not fighting in the first night of the Shelter Games, here’s an event to stimulate your brain as your peers battle it out for 315 Thayer.

The Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World presents Leonardo López Luján, one of the leading Mesoamerican archaeologists in the world. He will be giving two lectures on campus this week: one on Teotihuacan’s Pyramid of the Moon and the other on Tenochtitlan’s Templo Mayor. López Luján has written over nineteen books and eighty articles on Mesoamerica and is one of the most respected figures in the study of Tenochtitlan and Teotihuacan.

López Luján will discuss his current research at the Pyramid of the Moon in Teotihuacan on Tuesday at 12 p.m. in Rhode Island Hall 108. On Wednesday evening at 5:30 p.m., he will return to the same classroom to talk about Templo Mayor, where he has served as director of archaeological projects since 1991.

For those not well-versed in Mesoamerican archaeology, Teotihuacan is like the Atlantis of Mesoamerican archaeology (aside from the fact that it lacks its own Disney movie…and isn’t quite a mythical city under the sea). One of the most powerful and influential civilizations of pre-Columbian times, Teotihuacan fell in a mysterious collapse in the 5th century AD. Close your eyes and think of Mexico before the arrival of Spanish conquistadors; the elaborate pyramids that come to mind probably resemble those that are found at the Teotihuacan site. Tenochtitlan came later and rose as the capital of the Aztec empire before the Spanish conquest.

There will also be pizza at both events. Can’t say no to that.

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