May 2018


News & Achievements
  • The Council on Teaching recognized several Obermann scholars:
    • Rebecca Dickinson, 2018 Obermann Graduate Fellow was awarded as Outstanding Teaching Assistant 
    • Shaun Vecera, recent Fellow-in-Resident, was given a President & Provost Award for Teaching Excellence
  • At the recent Discovery and Innovation Awards ceremony hosted by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, several scholars who work closely with the Obermann Center were recognized:
    • Doug Baynton, who will co-direct next year's Obermann Humanities Symposium, received the Distinguished Achievement in Publicly Engaged Research Award.
    • Joyce Tsai, a recent Interdisciplinary Summer Research grantee, received a Distinguished Mentor Award.
    • Obermann Graduate Fellow Stefan Schรถberlein and Obermann HASTAC Scholar Kelsey Kramer McGinnis were awarded Graduate Student Research Excellence Awards in Arts and Humanities.
Beyond Justice
Carolyn Copps Hartley cross-examines the campus sexual misconduct adjudication process

Carolyn Copps Hartley, a Spring 2018 Fellow-in-Residence and associate professor in the School of Social Work, chairs the subcommittee that administers the Speak Out Iowa Campus Climate Survey, an anonymous survey created to give UI administrators an overview of the incidence and attitudes surrounding campus sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking. 

According to the 2017 survey results, only 39% of the students who said they experienced sexual misconduct disclosed the experience to someone.  "I want to know why," says Copps Hartley. "Why do so few students make a formal report--even to a confidential victim advocate? Are they unaware of the available resources? Are they anxious about initiating what they see as a painful adjudication process?"
Archiving the Archives
Round-up of March symposium
In February and early March, we hosted a series of events and welcomed more than a dozen visitors to campus to discuss when and how archives are crucial in the pursuit of social justice. The symposium also explored the depth of holdings in our own community and the social justice work that is being done in and around archives internationally.

More than 200 people attended the Iowa City Archives Crawl on February 24, which included four sites and nearly 20 partnering organizations. The following week, March 1-3,  one of the original curators of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, a former Acting Archivist of the United States, an expert in haptic animation of archives, two filmmakers, a guerrilla archiver, and more shared the stage for deep and often unexpected conversations. We've summarized the events on our website and provided links to talks and other outcomes.
More Reasons to Write This Summer
Book and dissertation support

In case you need more impetus to work on that writing this project this summer, here are three carrots to tie to the end of your stick! The Obermann Center is premiering a new program, Book Ends, designed to help UI faculty turn promising manuscripts into important, field-changing, published books. Applications are due September 12, and must include two chapters of a mature draft manuscript. While first books leading to tenure will receive highest priority, we also plan to make at least one award to an associate professor. This program is co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research & Economic Development.

We are also supporting two UI Writing Center programs to assist with summer writing. Dissertation Writing Camp meets from May 29 to June 8 and provides time, community, and technical support for those who have completed their thesis prospectus meeting. The registration deadline is May 7. The Write ON program is open to both graduate students and faculty throughout the summer and provides an ongoing writing community. 
Summer at Obermann
In the house: clowns, digital storytellers, critical Latino communications studies + more 

Summer at Obermann is a place for connection and a space for more expansive thinking. The summer starts with a return performance by StoryCenter, who will provide a digital storytelling workshop to faculty, graduate students, and staff as part of The Andrew W. Mellon-funded Digital Bridges for Humanistic Inquiry: A Grinnell College/University of Iowa Partnership. 

Three Interdisciplinary Research Grant project groups will be in the house working on collaborative projects:
  • Media Clown - Paul Kalina (Theatre Arts), Daniel Fine (Theatre Arts and Dance), and Shannon Harvey (Backstage Academy, UK)
  • Capturing the Experiences of Rural Latinx High School Students through Photovoice and Digital Storytelling: An Interdisciplinary Approach - Leslie Ann Locke (Educational Policy and Leadership Studies), Gerta Bardhoshi (Rehabilitation and Counselor Education), and Jeremy Swanston (Art & Art History)
  • Distinguishing High-Crime Neighborhoods from Low-Crime Neighborhoods: A Spatial Examination Integrating a Diversity of Social and Ecological Factors - Caglar Koylu (Geographical & Sustainability Sciences) and James Wo (Sociology)
In mid-July, Darrel Wanzer-Serrano (Communication Studies) hosts eight Latino scholars for a  Critical Latino Communication Studies Workshop. In August, Claire Fox (English) hosts her fellow team members from the Humanities Without Walls project Building Sustainable Worlds: Latinx Placemaking in the Midwest. The Obermann Center is proud to be a member of the 15-member Andrew W. Mellon-funded HWW consortium, led by Professor Antoinette Burton at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Also throughout the summer, several teams from the Digital Bridges for Humanistic Inquiry program will meet at the Center to work on projects. 

Misfitting: Disabilities Broadly Considered
Save the date for the 2019 Obermann  Humanities Symposium

Disability Studies, one of the fastest growing interdisciplinary fields in the humanities, social sciences and health sciences, examines abilities in the context of societies and cultures as they change over time. This symposium will consider the pervasive (though often unnoticed) influence of disability on and in the performing, visual, and literary arts, in philosophy and religion, in political and economic life, and in everyday language, as we explore when and how minds and bodies "misfit."

On April 4-6, 2019, Misfitting: Disability Broadly Considered,  will bring leading disability scholars from diverse disciplines to discuss the relevance and importance of disability to their respective fields. Co-directed by Douglas Baynton (History) and Tricia Zebrowski (Communication Sciences & Disorders), the symposium will feature Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, professor of English and bioethics at Emory University; Joseph Straus, music theorist at City University of New York; Michele Friedner, cultural and social anthropologist at University of Chicago; and comedienne Nina G., among others. 
Digital Bridges Symposium, August 9-11

A symposium will be held this August as the culmination of the multi-year collaboration between Grinnell College and the University of Iowa with generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Members of both institutions and communities are invited to join digital scholars from across the country at this free event. Details coming to the Digital Bridges website soon  

Speakers include Alan Lieu,  founder of the NEH-funded Teaching with Technology project at UCSB called Transcriptions: Literature and the Culture of Information; Miriam Posner, Assistant Professor, Information Studies, UCLA, who has collaborated with students to create projects like Origin of the Speciesearly African-American cinema, and the Getty Provenance Index; and Matthew Battles, Associate Director of metaLAB at Harvard. 
Fond Farewells
The Obermann Center is a meeting place and a crossroads. It is a space where faculty, graduate students, and staff all have a voice. It's a place where the community interacts with the university, the scholarly interacts with the practical, and where you're as likely to stumble upon professional clowns as experts researching cochlear implants.

Being at the crossroads of the University means that every day, we get to work with incredible faculty and staff at the University of Iowa. It is our pleasure to support their work and collaborate with them on projects. That close contact also makes it all the harder to say goodbye when people leave. This spring, we say very fond farewells to multiple longtime Obermann scholars and friends. Lena Hill, Michael Hill, Jennifer Sessions, Trina Roberts, Colleen Theisen, and Greg Prickman are all going on to exciting new opportunities beyond Iowa City. We wish them great success, while also sharing our gratitude for the ways they made our work together better and richer. 

We also congratulate our ICRU Fellow Shannon Nolan on her graduation. Shannon was our videographer this year and also served as the teaching assistant for The Green Room class. Shannon is mulling several exciting next steps. Among her options--the very prestigious offer a position with Teach for America. We look forward to following her journey into the future and wish all of our UI graduates all the best.