Obermann Center logo and tagline

August 2020 

Celebrating the work of current & past Obermann scholars and friends 
Photo of Black Lives Matter graffiti on Pentacrest sidewalks
Director's Welcome 
Obermann's commitment to Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian Pacific Islander and Desi American faculty, students, and staff 

This summer at the Obermann Center, the other staff members and I have been listening compassionately and carefully to the outpouring of pain, anger, accusation, exhaustion, and hope at the intersection of the Black Lives Matter movement and COVID. We have been learning from artists, scholars, and activists who expose how institutions--including universities and disciplines and research centers--are embedded in the forces of White supremacy that structure not only our country's economic system, but also our educational and cultural institutions.
In response, we are reflecting on how and where we--individually and institutionally--are entangled in racism's coils. Are we doing all we can to be sure Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian Pacific Islander and Desi American, and international artists and scholars find the Obermann Center a welcoming, supportive space? Do our programs speak to the interests and concerns of the many communities that make up the University and the area? If not, why not?
Photo of female instructor at blackboard
Mini Grants for Visiting Speakers
Obermann offers honoraria for virtual course visits

This is likely to be a hard teaching fall, so we want to give you and your students a little lagniappe lift for the second half of the semester. Are you teaching an undergraduate or graduate course that features work by a colleague outside the University of Iowa? Do you have a colleague from another discipline who could bring a thought-provoking cross-disciplinary perspective to a topic you're addressing in your course? Or would you like to invite a practitioner or an expert from the public sector whose perspective would complement course readings? We especially encourage applications that invite the voices of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian Pacific Islander and Desi American artists and scholars into class discussion.The Obermann Center will provide a small ($150) honorarium to support virtual course visits. We welcome applications from faculty members (including lecturers and clinical faculty) who are teaching semester-long, 3-credit-hour courses that fulfill the requirement of a major or graduate degree in any college. The award is competitive and will be selected according to the following criteria:
  • The visitor will clearly bring an intriguing, thought-provoking new dimension to a well-thought-out course;
  • The instructor has an imaginative plan (not complicated, just inventive) for preparing students to derive real benefit from the course visit; and
  • The course fulfills an undergraduate major or graduate degree requirement in the instructor's department.
Screenshot of Obermann group Zoom meeting
Join an Obermann Working Group!
Camaraderie, conversation, and shared critical thought 

Our Obermann Working Groups provide an inviting place to join with others around a shared topic of interest and to do a deep intellectual dive via reading together, workshopping, or planning for a future event. The nineteen groups currently planned for this year include Latina/x/o Migration and Education; Reproductive and Maternal Politics; Sustainability and the Environment; and many more. Find the full list of groups here. If you are a faculty member, upper-level graduate student, or community expert, we encourage you to email the listed group director(s) to inquire about joining an upcoming meeting. 
Color photo of Laura Perry outdoors with her dog
New Mellon Post Doctoral Fellow Joins Obermann

Laura Perry joins the Obermann Center staff as a two-year Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow with the Humanities for the Public Good project. Laura recently received her doctoral degree in Literary Studies from the University of Wisconsin¬≠-Madison, and is adapting her dissertation into a book, tentatively titled "The Nuisance: A Cultural History." 

"I'm interested in the American suburbs and why neighborhoods are the way they are," says Perry. "The suburbs are such a large part of our national landscape and imagination. Just think about the frequent dog whistles of American political rhetoric, 'suburban housewives' and 'suburban voters.'"
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Humanities Without Walls Consortium Awarded Mellon Grant Renewal

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $5 million grant renewal for Humanities Without Walls (HWW), an initiative that links the humanities at 16 Midwestern research universities, including the University of Iowa. The renewed grant provides additional funding to research teams and supports the continuation of summer workshops for pre-doctoral humanities students that began in 2015. Since its inception, HWW has awarded 39 unique research grants to teams in the consortium and graduated more than 140 students from the annual career diversity workshop. Look for our upcoming invitation to apply for a seed grant as a step toward submitting a team-based application for up to $150,000.