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Research Interests: United States history (pre-Civil War), African American history, race and ethnicity, public history and public memory, intersections of public humanities and public art, inclusive museum practices
Lyra D. Monteiro received her PhD from Brown University in 2012, and specializes in public humanities, early United States history, and race and ethnic identity. Her dissertation, “Racializing the Ancient World: Ancestry and Identity in the Early United States,” explored how ideas about antiquity were mobilized in the service of organizing race in a slaveholding republic predicated on equality but erected on exclusion and difference. Focusing on the period between the American Revolution and the start of the Civil War, it analyzed objects, performances, and spaces in the early United States in which Greece, Rome, and Egypt were evoked as racial ancestors of either white or black Americans, including: Egyptian mummies and classical sculptures displayed and studied in museums and medical schools; theatrical representations of ancient Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, and Egyptians; and the classicizing landscapes of southern slave plantations.
Dr. Monteiro also co-directs The Museum On Site, a public art project that aims to help people understand their worlds through site-specific, free public experiences that share ideas and information in accessible and stimulating ways. Previous projects have included an installation at the public festival WaterFire Providence, combining public performances and participatory ritual to address the history and legacy of Rhode Island’s transatlantic slave trade (www.themuseumonline.com/athousandships, www.themuseumonline.com/book); a photo-based diorama of a busy street in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, displayed in a store window with labels that shared stories from the past and present of the people, buildings, and things on two blocks (www.westminsterstories.com); and a pop-up museum that filled a real street with hundreds of museum labels about that street (www.tinyurl.com/museumvideo).
She has also worked on curatorial, education, and development projects for over a dozen museums and cultural institutions, including the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Harvard Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.
Ph.D., Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown University, 2012
M.A., Public Humanities, Brown University, 2009
M.A., Classical Art and Archaeology, University of Michigan, 2006
M.A., Classical Studies-Latin, University of Michigan, 2006
B.A., Anthropology and Classical Civilizations, summa cum laude, New York University, 2004
Edited with Andrew Losowsky, A Thousand Ships: A Ritual of Remembrance Marking the Bicentennial of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (Providence: The Museum On Site, 2012)
(under review by Classical Journal) “Temples to White Mastery: Antebellum Slave Plantations and the Construction of American Whiteness”
“Methodology of A Thousand Ships,” in A Thousand Ships: A Ritual of Remembrance Marking the Bicentennial of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, eds. A. Losowsky and L. Monteiro (Providence: The Museum On Site, 2012)
“The Mezquita of Córdoba is Made of More than Bricks: Towards a Broader Definition of the ‘Heritage’ Protected at UNESCO World Heritage Sites,” Archaeologies: Journal of the World Archaeological Congress 7 (2011): 312-328.
“Including Immigrants: How Art Museums Can Bring Together Old and New Americans” in International Journal of the Inclusive Museum 1, no. 4 (2008): 139-146.
(with Daniel Shoup) “When Past and Present Collide: the Ethics of Archaeological Stewardship” in Current Anthropology 49 (2008): 328-333.
“Ethnicity and Conflict in the Roman Conquest of Spain” in TRAC 2007: Proceedings of the Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, London 2007 (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2008), 53-61.
“Object in Focus: A Silver Stater from Metapontum, Italy, in the Kelsey Museum,” Bulletin of the University of Michigan Museums of Art and Archaeology 26 (2005-2006), 76-79.
“The Present in the Past: Globalization and the Roman World,” a review of R. Hingley Globalizing Roman Culture, in Journal of Roman Archaeology 20 (2007): 549-554.
J.M. Stuart Fellow, John Carter Brown Library, September 2009-June 2010
Jay and Deborah Last Fellow, American Antiquarian Society, January 2010
Summer Seminar Fellow, American Numismatic Society, June-July 2007
Mellon Fellowship for Humanistic Studies, 2004-2005