March  2019
The following are Obermann or Obermann-sponsored events.
News & Achievements 
  • Michael Sauder was awarded a fellowship from the Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies in Erfurt, Germany for the 2019-2020 academic year. 
  • The Philosophy of Logical Atomism: A Centenary Reappraisal, edited by Landon Elkind and Gregory Landini, the result of their 2017 Summer Seminar, has been published by Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Leslie Ann Locke, who had a Summer 2018 Interdisciplinary Research Grant, has been selected as a Fulbright Scholar to Mexico for 2019-20.
  • Lisa Covington, 2019 Senior Graduate Fellow, is teaching cultural competency courses for the Iowa Youth Writing Project, a public partner of the Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy. 
Disability Scholars Present Cross-Discipline Research
April 4, 5, & 6 Obermann Humanities Symposium 

"All of the speakers have fascinating interpretations of what 'misfitting' means to disabled people," says Doug Baynton (History), co-director of this year's Obermann Humanities Symposium, Misfitting: Disability Broadly Considered, along with Tricia Zebrowski (Communication Sciences & Disorders). The symposium brings  leading disability scholars from diverse disciplines to discuss the relevance and importance of disability to their respective fields. 
  • Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, a professor of English and Bioethics at Emory University, will discuss a recent balletic adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as a drama of a parent's refusal to accord full moral personhood to an unexpected and unfamiliar child who enters a family in an unorthodox way.
  • Margaret Price, professor of English and Director of Disability Studies at The Ohio State University, will describe findings from her 10 years of research in academic settings and argue for a new understanding of access based upon the concept of "crip spacetime."
  • Michele Friedner, a professor in Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago, draws from urban India to consider how the concept of "the social" in disability studies and the ways that it is bound up within liberal and secular framings foreclose on the existence of disability otherworlds (or alterworlds).
  • Sami Schalk, a professor of Gender and Women's Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison, will explore the Black Panther Party's involvement in the 1977 504 sit-in and use their work to make larger arguments about how black activists articulate and enact disability politics differently than the mainstream, white disability rights movement does.
  • Joseph Straus, a professor of music at CUNY, will discuss the impact of eugenics on images of what Modernist artists characterized as creative "idiocy."
  • Nina G, comedian and activist, will give a performance that uses humor around her own stuttering as a springboard to help people confront and understand social justice issues such as disability, diversity, and equity.
In addition, there will be a panel of early-career scholars; an interactive session on teaching disability studies; a panel on technology, art, and design; and a performance by the local Combined Efforts Men's Choir. All events are free and open to the public.
Humanities for the Public Good Summer Internships 
Paid opportunities for humanities PhD students 

As part of The Andrew W. Mellon-funded Humanities for the Public Good initiative, University of Iowa humanities PhD students, as well as those in qualitative social science programs, are eligible to apply for 8-week summer internships. Applicants can choose from projects with the following local nonprofits: The Englert Theatre, the African American Museum of Iowa, Iowa Valley Resource Conservation & Development, and Hancher Auditorium. Project topics range from a Belgian lawn game to the Underground Railroad. Each internship carries a stipend of $5,000 in addition to financial support for the hosting organization. Each project is intended to highlight the ways advanced work in the humanities--combined with skills in leadership, communication, project management, curation, and other talents valued by a myriad of workplaces, including higher education--can prepare scholars for diverse careers.
Humans, Microbes, and Ideas
Mariola Espinosa traces yellow fever's not-so-subtle power dynamics

Yellow fever was once a terrifying killer that violently took the lives of half of the people who contracted it. It killed workers building canals, soldiers engaged in sieges, and investors on fact-finding missions. A viral disease spread between humans and primates, yellow fever is caused by a species of mosquito that prefers clean, fresh water. Before this was proven decisively in 1901, yellow fever was a major player in the Caribbean during the colonial period. 

The virus has been historian Mariola Espinosa's research companion for more than two decades. She is drawn to this "history of humans, microbes, and ideas" because it affected the whole of the Caribbean and provides a vehicle for moving beyond the usual area studies approach. In fact, after  concentrating on Cuba in her first book, she has broadened her scope to a current book project, "Fighting Fever in the Caribbean: Medicine and Empire, 1650-1902," the focus of her  Spring 2019 Obermann Fellow-in-Residency.
An Aerial View
Esco Obermann's legacy at the University of Iowa

When UI alumnus and Iowa native C. Esco Obermann joined the UI faculty in 1966 as an associate professor of rehabilitation counseling, he began advocating for the establishment of a center where practicing and trainee psychologists could be educated in a broad array of disciplines by experts across campus. He would later widen this focus to include research in every discipline, lamenting what he called the "tendency towards fragmentation of knowledge." 

The same qualities that helped the one-time member of the UI gymnastics team to balance upside-down on a draft horse would eventually help him clear the bureaucratic hurdles inherent to establishing what would eventually become the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.
Andrew Tubbs
Scholar, musician, disability advocate, comedian

Andrew Tubbs--an Obermann Graduate Fellow and panelist at Misfitting: Disability Broadly Considered--would like to see more researchers recognize the influence that disability has on their work-no matter the field of study.

"It's beneficial for researchers to understand that disability inherently intersects with their work," Tubbs says. "Being able to come at issues, research questions, and problems from a disability perspective helps nuance arguments."

Tubbs' research interests are deeply personal. He has long loved studying and making music, primarily as a vocalist and percussionist. He earned his BA in music from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.  He also has thrombocytopenia-absent radius (TAR), a rare genetic disorder characterized by low levels of platelets in the blood and the absence of the radius bone in the arms. But the fatigue, abnormal bleeding, and shortened arms caused by TAR have not slowed Tubbs down.

Support the NEA and the NEH
Mangum lobbies for the humanities on Capitol Hill

Obermann Director Teresa Mangum (pictured here along with Leanne Hotek,  UI Director of Federal Relations, and Congressman Dave Loebsack of Iowa's 2nd Congressional District) joined hundreds of humanities faculty members, center directors, and leaders of professional organizations like the Modern Language Association and the American Historical Association in Washington, DC, earlier this month. As part of the annual NHA Advocacy Day, they shared the educational, social, and economic benefits of the arts and humanities.