November  2018
News & Achievements
  • Ellen Lewin (GWSS) published her book Filled with the Spirit: Sexuality, Gender, and Radical Inclusivity in a Black Pentecostal Church Coalition (University of Chicago Press, 2018), which she worked on while an Obermann Fellow-in-Residence. 
  • Joy Woods (College of Education), a former Obermann Graduate Institute Fellow moderated a session with the artist Common and Black Student Leaders on campus.
  • Ted Gutsche, senior lecturer in Critical Digital Media Practice at Lancaster University and former Obermann Graduate Fellow, published a book, Geographies of JournalismThe Imaginative Power of Place in Making Digital News (Routledge, 2018).
Join us for Launch Event, Nov. 13
Teresa Mangum serves as PI on major grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

On November 13 from 4:00-5:30 pm at the Iowa City Public Library, we will officially launch the four-year  program, Humanities for the Public Good. After a welcome from Graduate College Dean (and Interim VPRED) John Keller, Teresa Mangum, Director of the Obermann Center and PI on the $1,314,000 grant, will review the goals and funding opportunities of the grant in a brief presentation titled "The Future of the Humanities at the University of Iowa--Possibilities." A roundtable of current and recent UI humanities graduate students will discuss "How We're Imagining the Future." A group exercise and and reception will close the event. 

"We are deeply grateful to the Mellon Foundation," Mangum said. "While we often hear about the devaluing of the humanities, I proposed this grant because I hold the opposite view. Our work these next few years presumes that humanities scholars can contribute much-needed commitment to culture, values, careful research, historically and culturally sensitive practices, and civic dialogue to every sector. Increasingly, businesses as well as political, nonprofit, and cultural organizations see the importance of humanistic values--commitment to equity, inclusion, justice, empathy, and compassion--and humanistic methods and emphases on interpretation, storytelling, and meaning-making."

The November 13 event is free and open to the public.
Imagining Latinidades
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grants $225,000 to 3 UI faculty to lead Mellon Sawyer Seminar

Darrel Wanzer-Serrano (Communication Studies), Rene Rocha (Political Science), and Ariana Ruiz (Spanish & Portuguese) will lead "Imagining Latinidades: Articulations of National Belonging" in partnership with the Obermann Center. 

The seminar, which will publicly begin Fall 2019, will include over 20 free presentations by renowned visiting scholars and artists, a film series, and public performances, all of which will engage questions of national identity, national belonging, intersectional identities (related to race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, etc.), and Latina/o/x peoples. "Imagining Latinidades" will build upon the strong foundation of the UI's interdisciplinary Latina/o Studies Program, itself an outgrowth of the Obermann Center's 2012 Humanities Symposium, "The Latino Midwest." UI faculty and graduate students will meet regularly as part of the year-long seminar. The grant also funds a postdoctoral fellow and graduate dissertation fellowships.
Iphigenia Point Blank
Film opera takes on global refugee crisis via ancient Greek tale
In the summer of 2016, three artists-- Lisa Schlesinger (Theatre Arts), Irina Patkanian (independent filmmaker), and Marion Schoevaert (independent theater director)--worked at the Obermann Center as part of an Interdisciplinary Research Grant. They were respectively writing, editing, and storyboarding what they call a film opera. 

Using the story of Iphigenia, the mythological Greek princess whose father sacrifices her to start a war with Troy, coupled with contemporary events, the collaborative work will premiere as a robust multimedia performance at the UI's Thayer Theatre on Nov. 1, running through Nov. 11. Several of the related artists, including composer-clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, will give independent performances and talks. the 2020-21 Humanities Symposium are due Oct. 9. 
Invitation to Join Archives & Social Justice Working Group
A new Obermann Working group joins the 2018-19 lineup

We've added a new option to the  current lineup of Obermann Working Groups.   "Archives & Social Justice" brings together faculty, doctoral students, and archival professionals to develop pedagogical modes that explore issues of social justice through the critical lens of the archives. The group will develop modes of scholarship that critically engage the archives through the reading of archival materials, models of archival practice, the construction of archival collections, and other critical praxis. Members will also pursue funding opportunities to support the implementation of these pedagogical models in the undergraduate curriculum. 
If you're interested in participating, please contact the director of the group, Lindsay Kistler Mattock, professor in the School of Library and Information Science ( And if the topic interests you, we also highly recommend the new podcast by the Kitchen Sisters,   The Keepers.