September  2018

News & Achievements
  • The Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy is featured on the National Humanities Alliance's new Humanities for All website, along with a constellation of fascinating projects. 
  • The companion website to The Latina/o Midwest Reader has launched! Congrats to Claire Fox and her co-editors.
  • Melissa Moreton, UI History PhD and postdoc for the 2016-17 Sawyer Seminar, Cultural and Textual Exchanges: The Manuscript Across Pre-Modern Eurasia, has accepted a position at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library.
  • Lori Branch (English) was awarded an NEH grant for a 2019 Summer Seminar titled "Religion, Secularism, and the Novel."
  • Summer 2018 Interdisciplinary Research Grant Fellows Daniel Fine, Paul Kalina, and Shannon Harvey have been invited to present their work-in-progress show Media Clown   as part of the 2019 Prague Quadrennial (PQ '19) of Performance Design and Space, the largest international exhibition and festival event dedicated to scenography, performance design, and theatre architecture.  
What a Year!

From our humanities symposium about the intersection of archives and social justice to our "pop-up" conversations that had scholars and community members discussing their responses to current events, 2017-18 was a rich year at the Obermann Center. 

Read about your own and friends' contributions in our Annual Report and consider how you can join our community this year. 
Making Space
Grad Institute alum blogs, podcasts for Black graduate students with mental health issues

When Joy Melody Woods discovered halfway through her master's degree that she had multiple learning disabilities,  she felt isolated, despite support from UI Student Disability Services. "I felt like I didn't have space on campus or in my family to discuss what I was going through," she remembers, noting that learning disabilities are often viewed as a weakness in the Black community.  So she made her own space, online. 

On her blog,  Without a Space: A Depressed Black Woman's Guide to Graduate School, Woods writes about topics as weighty as depression and suicide in the Black family, racism she's experienced in Iowa, imposter syndrome, and how to make rent as an unfunded grad student.  She also hosts a companion podcast, " Morning Joy, " where she discusses education, mental health, and music with friends, academics, and other public figures. 
Changes coming to Graduate Institute 

For twelve years, the weeklong Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy has been led by  two faculty co-directors and has emphasized individual project design. Beginning in January 2019, faculty experienced in engaged arts and research will lead 3 days of morning workshops, and afternoons will be devoted to practical applications of the workshop topics. The Institute will culminate in a mixer to connect participants with possible partners.

Applications for the 2019 Graduate Institute (January 7-10, 2019) are due Tuesday, October 9, 2018. Interested in applying? Attend our info session on Friday, September 14, at 9:00 a.m. in the Obermann Center library to learn about the Institute from Obermann staff and a former graduate fellow (no RSVP required).
Fall Conversation Lineup
Obermann Conversations to address Title IX, voting rights, and documenting immigrants' experiences in Iowa  

Get these Fall 2018 Obermann Conversations on your calendar now! All run from 4:00-5:00 p.m. at the Iowa City Public Library:
Fall 2018 Fellows-in-Residence

Welcome to our new Fellows-in-Residence:
  • Mark Berg (Sociology)
  • Roxanna Curto (French & Italian and Spanish & Portuguese)
  • Eric Gidal (English)
  • Tammy Nyden (Grinnell College, Philosophy)
  • Thomas Oates (American Studies and School of Journalism & Mass Communication)
  • Nathan Platte (School of Music)
  • Samuel Rebelsky (Grinnell College, Computer Science)
We wish you all a rewarding, productive semester!
Book Ends
New program helps faculty to complete book manuscripts

Bringing a book to the finish line of publication is one of the most challenging tasks faced by scholars in disciplines where monographs are the main vehicle for sharing discoveries. At the Obermann Center, we hope to smooth the path by helping to create an inspiring, supportive audience of experts for authors as they head into the final stretch of completing a book project.  
Book Ends, a new Obermann Center and Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development program, is now open to faculty from disciplines in which publishing a monograph is required for tenure and promotion. The award is specifically aimed at helping assistant and associate professors transform promising manuscripts into field-changing, published books.
Critical Disabilities Studies Focus of 2019 Humanities Symposium
On April 4-6, 2019,  Misfitting: Disability Broadly Considered , will bring leading disability scholars to discuss how their diverse disciplines offer insight into the meaning and experience of differently abled bodies. Co-directed by Douglas Baynton (History) and Patricia Zebrowski (Communication Sciences & Disorders), the symposium includes a keynote by  Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, a professor of English and bioethics at Emory University, and a performance by the comedian Nina G. 

Interested in leading a future Humanities Symposium? The purpose of the Obermann Humanities Symposium is to explore an important topic that brings provocative speakers to campus while also highlighting UI scholars and scholarship. The proposed symposium may be interdisciplinary or dig deep into a specific field. We encourage creative formats that inspire lively exchange of ideas and encourage organizers to include sessions open to all UI faculty members, staff, and students. If you would like to discuss an idea, contact Erin Hackathorn (335-4034) to meet with our staff.
Faculty interested in applying to co-direct the 2020-21 Humanities Symposium should apply by October 9, 2018. to direct the 2020-21 Humanities Symposium are due Oct. 9. 
The Obermann Center Celebrates Membership in Humanities Without Walls   

Since 2012, the Obermann Center has been a proud member of the 15-university consortium Humanities Without Walls. Led by Antoinette Burton, Professor and Director of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, HWW has supported inter-institutional faculty research teams that include "humanities labs" for graduate students and hosted an annual Pre-doctoral Career Diversity Summer Workshop in Chicago. 

The Obermann Center has sent students to the summer program since it began in 2015, including English PhD students and 2018 fellowship recipients Lydia Maunz-Breese and Makayla Steiner . We were also honored to host one of the research groups this summer. research group is co-directed by UI professor and chair of English,  Claire Fox.

To learn more about the exciting work of the Humanities Without Walls consortium, visit the HWW website or subscribe to its Youtube channel.
Obermann Working Groups Welcome New Members
Islamic manuscripts and the amazing journey of Cabeza de Vaca among the topics under study by our new groups

Obermann Center Working Groups provide space, structure, and discretionary funding for groups led by faculty that may include advanced graduate students, staff members, and community members with shared intellectual interests. Groups have used this opportunity to explore new work and to share their own research, to organize a symposium, and to develop grant proposals and courses. 

For 2018-19, thirteen different groups will meet regularly at the Obermann Center. Learn more about the foci of the groups. Contact a group's director if you are interested in seeing if they are accepting new members. 
Our newsletters have a lovely new banner, thanks to the brilliant Rachel Williams!

An incredibly talented artist; associate professor in Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies and the School of Art and Art History;  and the newly appointed University Ombudsperson, Rachel is a longtime friend of the Obermann Center. We're deeply grateful to her for sharing her artistry with us by creating the elegant image of the Center that appears to the left and at the top of this newsletter.