January  2019
News & Achievements 
  • Bridget Draxler, former Obermann Graduate Institute Fellow and PhD alum of the UI English Department, published her edited volume Engaging the Age of Jane Austen (University of Iowa Press, 2019) as part of the Humanities and Public Life series. 
  • Aiden Bettine, former Obermann Graduate Institute Fellow, is the Spring 2019 Humanities for the Public Good Graduate Fellow. Aiden also won a Community Impact Grant from the Office of Outreach and Engagement for his Transgender Oral History Project of Iowa.
Experiments in interdisciplinary graduate education for diverse careers
March 8 forum brings experts in graduate education to Iowa City

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

To inspire our thinking, we have invited directors of some of the most imaginative programs across the country for an Obermann Working Symposium as part of the Andrew W. Mellon-funded Humanities for the Public Good initiative. The daylong program will be held Friday, March 8 at the Iowa City Public Library. Everyone is welcome. 

What would an introductory course for an interdisciplinary humanities PhD look like? What can we learn from alumni in varied careers? How are departments preparing students to create digital and publicly engaged scholarship? To work collaboratively? How can we weave experiential learning into graduate studies? How can we best support humanities graduate students from underrepresented groups? What alternatives to the proto-monograph dissertation might serve students seeking careers in administration, curriculum development, government, non-profits, and publishing?
The Power of Programming
Sam Rebelsky seeks to broaden the impact of the computer science curriculum

Sam Rebelsky  is troubled by the fact that computer science remains dominated by white men from middle- to high-socioeconomic backgrounds. "Computers are changing the world, and a limited set of views is building that technology," he says, pointing to trends in the U.S., in both industry and the academy. "If we don't make sure that a broad range of people are involved in developing the technology, we're less likely to have successful or positive change."  A professor of computer science at Grinnell College and a Fall 2018 Obermann Fellow-in-Residence, Sam Rebelsky is part of Digital Bridges for Humanistic Inquiry, an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded partnership between the University of Iowa and Grinnell College.
The Sounds of a Quiet Director
Musicologist Nathan Platte studies eclectic film director Robert Wise

Robert Wise is best known for directing  West Side Story  and  The Sound of Music. But he also directed the first Star Trek film. And a British horror movie. And a boxing film. The list goes on.  Nathan Platte, a faculty member in the School of Music and Cinematic Arts, worked on a new book project about Wise's attention to sound during his Fall 2018 Obermann Residency. He says that Wise oversaw the mixing of ambient and synchronized sounds, noting that even the hum of air conditioning fans (or their absence) affected viewers' perception of place, time, and vulnerability.   
Book Ends 
Apply for spring deadline for new book completion award
This new award is designed to help UI assistant and associate professors turn promising manuscripts into published books. Supported by the Obermann Center and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, Books Ends serves faculty from disciplines in which publishing a monograph is required for tenure and promotion by providing funding and support to bring off- and on-campus experts together to workshop the awardee's manuscript. Learn more about this opportunity at an information session on January 24 at 8:30 AM at the Obermann Center. 
The U.S./Mexico Border in Context
Watch December's Conversation

Since our "pop-up" Obermann Conversation in early December, the border has only become more contentious. We were riveted by the historical and political context provided by  Lina-Maria Murillo (History and GWSS) and Rene Rocha (Political Science) and deeply affected by the personal account of Kristy Nabhan-Warren (Religious Studies and GWSS) and local attorney Yolanda Rivera, both of whom volunteered at the border last summer. Watch this concise, hour-long lesson on the current situation that is derailing our country.