Early May 2020 


All public Obermann-sponsored events have been canceled or postponed for spring 2020. We are delighted to report that our Fellows and Working Groups continue to meet and share their work and lively conversations. We welcome you to contact us with questions or suggestions at obermann-center@uiowa.edu

News & Achievements 
Celebrating the work of current & past Obermann scholars and friends 
  • Diane Williams (Obermann Senior Graduate Fellow, 2017) successfully defended her dissertation, "Inside the AIAW: The Philosophy, People, and Power of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW)," and will begin a job as Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at McDaniel College in the fall.
  • Lydia Maunz (Humanities for the Public Good Advisory Committee) successfully defended her dissertation, "Testament of Grief: A Cripistemology of Somatic Loss in Women's Writing of the First World War."
  • Luke Borland (Humanities for the Public Good Advisory Committee) was awarded a 2020 Outstanding Teaching Assistant award. 
Media Inspiration
Recent video and audio that we love. We hope these will provide you with a smile or a new view on the world!
Macyvering the Semester
Or, thoughts from Teresa's kitchen counter (aka standing desk)

It's been a MacGyver of a semester. A peaceful, tech-savvy problem solver, tv character "Mac" MacGyver talked, taped, and tweaked his way through every disaster. This spring-so did you. We sacrificed a great deal: the flow of ideas in a classroom , graduation ceremonies, research momentum, and, most heartbreakingly, loved ones.  

Now we need to reframe the world with the creativity, inventiveness, resourcefulness, resilience, interconnectedness, and perseverance we discovered in our intellectual, organizational, and pedagogical toolkits. We at the Obermann Center profoundly admire your inspired MacGyvering. In a still uncertain future, we'll be right there with you, duct tape at the ready.
Pan Asian Council Issues Statement
Condemns the anti-Asian discrimination that has accompanied COVID-19

Ashley Cheyemi McNeil, the Andrew W. Mellon Humanities for the Public Good Post-Doctoral Fellow and our Obermann colleague, is a member of the UI Pan Asian Council and was central to the development of a statement regarding COVID-19 and its impact on the local Asian and Asian American communities. We asked Ashley to share some background on the statement, as well as a link for Signatures of Solidarity. Thank you, Ashley, for your work on this important issue. We are so grateful for your efforts to make our campus more just and hospitable. 
States of Limbo, Asian American Memoir, Voting Rights, the Role of Cities
Pandemic Insights series continues to explore the current moment

How are you reflecting on the current pandemic through the lens of your research and art-making practice? This is the central question that we are posing to Obermann-connected scholars, artists, and partners through our new and growing video series, Pandemic Insights. A cross-disciplinary approach is vital to perceiving the many ways that COVID-19 is impacting our world. How can we understand this period and the events we are all experiencing both intimately and globally through the work of our colleagues? We hope you'll enjoy our newest videos.

Lucie Laurian (Urban & Regional Planning) and Chuck Connerly (Urban & Regional Planning) discuss the role of mayors and cities in the pandemic and what to expect in the aftermath.

Lisa Schlesinger (Theatre Arts) and Lisa Heineman (History and GWSS) reflect on their ongoing individual projects about people living through periods of extreme limbo, including Heineman's family during the Holocaust and current refugee children experiencing resignation syndrome.

Michaela Hoenicke-Moore (History) reflects on past nationalistic responses and what listening to the voices of everyday people might tell us about the current moment.

Ashley Cheyemi McNeil (Humanities for the Public Good) discusses her work on  multiethnic American literatures and shares a haunting story from a Japanese emigrant whose life echoes current events. 

Kristy Nabhan-Warren (Religious Studies and GWSS) and Lisa Ortiz (Sawyer Seminar) share their research on meatpacking plants and reflect on the impact of the pandemic on rural Latinx immigrants.

Forthcoming: John McKerley and Robin Clark-Bennett on labor and the worker's perspective and Rebecca Fons on the impact to cinema.

Please Join Us in Supporting Our Local Community

At this time, many in our community are feeling the effects of job loss or are continuing to work in risky situations by tending to our medical needs, keeping our grocery stores open, and removing our garbage. We hope you'll join us in expressing gratitude by giving. The health and safety of many members of our campus community rely on the well-being of the entire community--especially during a pandemic.

Women, children (+ pets) in emergency shelters

The Domestic Violence Intervention Program 
has moved 20 local families--most of whom are women and children--to hotel rooms (at a cost of approx. $50/night) to comply with social distancing policies. On May 1, DVIP began moving these families into permanent apartment housing and is currently seeking monetary donations to help cover the rental deposits, application fees, and first month of rent for these families. And d id you know that the DVIP is also committed to providing safe shelter to the pets of domestic violence survivors? Monetary donations help to take care of these beloved cats and dogs as well! 

The DVIP also  desperately needs used cell phones and chargers, deodorant, body wash, and non-perishable boxed and microwavable meals. To donate these (and any other) items, please contact  Ashlee at (319) 359-9353, and she will arrange to meet you in Iowa City.

Low-wage, immigrant workers with no safety net 
Center for Worker Justice logo
The Center for Worker Justice unites low-wage workers in Eastern Iowa across race and immigration status and helps them to gain social and economic justice through education, direct services, and community alliances. 

Please help to support low-wage and immigrant workers who do not have job security, paid sick time, health care, or access to unemployment benefits. The CWJ has just launched a new campaign, From My Home to Yours, to pass along federal stimulus checks to our neighbors who need them most. You can donate any amount online OR send a check to the CWJ office at 1556 1st Ave. #C, Iowa City, IA 52240 (please put "COVID-19 Fund" in the memo). 

Donate to CWJ online - 100% of funds go directly to families in crisis.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Rafael Morataya, Executive Director, at rafael@cwjiowa.org or 319-449-8363.
Sharing and Archiving the Moment
Projects collect personal stories, art, and other reactions to the crisis

The Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio and UI Libraries' University Archives are partnering to collect first-hand, local accounts of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, including those from students, faculty, and staff. Visit the link above to read more and to submit material(s). 

StoryCenter, a California-based storytelling organization that has trained UI faculty in its digital methods, is also collecting first-person stories about life during the pandemic. Write and submit your 500-word story.
Witness Wall, a new project that has sprung up outside Public Space One (229 Gilbert St.), will post new art every few days and serve as an outdoor gallery while the new inside space is closed.  If you are interested in contributing, email witnesswall@publicspaceone.com.
Congratulations to Taylor Newby!
A new job and grad school await our student assistant

Congratulations to our Undergraduate Communications Assistant, Taylor Newby, who graduates this month with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication and a certificate in Cultural Competence. She'll be staying in the area, studying theology with the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and working in ministry with Veritas Church of Iowa City.