February  2019
News & Achievements 
  • Michael Sauder, recent Obermann Fellow-in-Residence, received a major award from the National Science Foundation for his project "Beliefs about Luck and Inequality"
  • Obermann Graduate Fellow Lance Bennett received the Student-Faculty Pipeline Diversity Award from the American Association for Public Opinion Research 
Experiments in Career Diversity in Humanities Graduate Education
Mentoring workshop and daylong symposium, March 7 & 8

Across the country, leaders of PhD programs in the humanities face a conundrum. How can departments honor the subjects, methods, and practices of their disciplines while also preparing graduates for diverse careers? 

Mentorship is a key piece to this puzzle. On March 7, Jen Teitle of the UI Graduate College will lead a workshop, Mentoring with Diverse Humanities Careers in Mind for UI faculty, graduate students, and staff. Invite a partner, create a free account on ImaginePHD, and register. (Registration is required.) 

The following day, March 8, we've invited directors of some of the most imaginative programs across the country to share their successes and help us to imagine versions best suited to the UI during a daylong program. Drop by the Iowa City Public Library any time between 9:00 and 5:00, or register to join our speakers for an agenda lunch. 

In one of the  short thought pieces we asked speakers to share with us, Stacy Hartman, who has worked with MLA's Connected Academics, writes: 

"Those of us who work in graduate education must recognize that many of our students are deeply mission-driven; they care about the world and their communities, and they want their work to have an impact now. They don't want to save the work that will matter for their 'post-tenure project.' And moreover, they should not have to."
Nina G Performs as Part of Misfitting
Stuttering comic walks line between satire and issue advocacy

Walking the line between progressive comedy that advances her audiences' understanding of social issues and comedy that reinforces stereotypes can be tricky. Nina G uses her superpowers for the Forces of Good. As well as working comedy clubs, she presents her advocacy work on stuttering and dyslexia to conferences, colleges, and corporations As part of the  2018-19 Obermann Humanities Symposium, Misfitting: Disability Broadly Considered , Nina G will perform on Friday, April 5, at 8:00 pm in the Hawkeye Room at the IMU. Earlier that same day, from 1:00 to 2:00 pm at the Iowa City Public Library, she will sit down with Frank Durham (School of Journalism & Mass Communication) for a conversation about her art and its impact on American culture. 
Austen and Urban Activism as Sites of Engaged Scholarship
UI Press-Obermann Center book series publishes new work

The titles in the Humanities & Public Life series are, according to co-editor and Obermann director Teresa Mangum, "part exhibition, part documentary, part advice, and part reflection on failures, successes, and possible futures." She adds, "this series honors innovative forms of humanities scholarship in their many-layered, capacious complexity." The series, a partnership between the University of Iowa Press and the Obermann Center, has recently released two new books: Contested City: Art and Public History as Mediation at New York's Seward Park Urban Renewal Area by Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani and Engaging the Age of Jane Austen: Public Humanities in Practice edited by Danielle Spratt and UI English PhD alum Bridget Draxler. 

Listen to author Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani's podcast interview about contested areas of New York City, including issues of immigration and gentrification. 
Women's March
Monthlong series of films produced by women features UI scholar talks

FilmScene, Iowa City's nonprofit cinema, is once against dedicating  every day, every screen, and every program during the month of March to films made exclusively by women. Women's March programming runs the gamut from documentaries, animations, newly released featured films, and even a women-made porn film during the late-night screenings. 

The Obermann Center is pleased to support the Vanguard Voices series, which focuses on emerging female directors. The screening of the Vanguard Voices films will include talkback sessions by UI scholars whose work provides a unique vantage point for understanding the films. In addition to an opening event intended to provide viewers with tools for watching Vanguard Voices films, the series will close with a panel discussion by its programming team, including Obermann's own Associate Director Jennifer New.
  • March 4 - The Third Wife (Vietnam) | Scholar-host: Hyaeweol Choi (Korean Studies)
  • March 11 - Rafiki (Kenya) | Scholar-host: Brady G'Sell (Anthropology and GWSS)
  • March 18 - The Chambermaid (Mexico) | Scholar-host Emily Wentzell (Anthropology)
  • March 25 - Little Woods (USA) | Scholar-host Jacki Rand (History)
A Better Gathering
Lunchtime workshop provides models for facilitating meetings, classes, and conversations

Members of the Obermann Working Group Modes and Models of Facilitation will share practices culled from their reading and implementation of ideas from the following books: Healing the Heart of Democracy,  The Way of Generativity,  Community, and Emergent Strategy. The members of this group explore ways facilitators can use imaginative frameworks to ensure greater inclusivity and creativity when groups work together. 

This lunchtime workshop is part of Obermann's GET IT DONE! series and will take place on Friday, March 1, from 12:00-1:00 pm in the Obermann Center library. Please bring your own lunch. All are welcome! No registration necessary.
Christopher Roy
Longtime Obermann scholar passes

Christopher Roy, the Elizabeth M. Stanley Faculty Fellow of African Art History, died on February 10 in Iowa City. Roy (pictured with Yiriko Gnamou in Burkino Faso) had an unusually long tenure at the Obermann Center owing to a series of major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Department of Education, the Iowa Humanities Board, and the Obermann Center to conduct research and develop courses and educational material on African art.  Longtime Obermann Center Director Jay Semel says, "Chris's sheer friendliness and unguarded personality made his stories about his Manhattan boyhood and about his adolescent prep school experience as exotic and exciting as his tales of working in Ouagadougou. Most memorable and important was Chris's passionate (and controversial) conviction that appreciation of any work of art required knowledge of its cultural context."

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Your donations help us to expand our work and serve scholars and artists at all stages of their careers

  • When you give to the Obermann Center, you are supporting a community of scholars, artists, and researchers who work to understand our world through the lenses of history, philosophy, literature, the arts, and much more.
  • When you give to the Obermann Center, you help us to expand and amplify the knowledge of our community through informal, public conversations, interdisciplinary working groups, and multi-day, internationally-recognized symposia.
  • When you give to the Obermann Center, you cast a vote of confidence for the work that a small team does to create a fertile and safe space for new ideas to take root in Iowa.