April 2018


News & Achievements
  • Joyce Tsai, a Summer 2017 IDRG Fellow, published Laszlo Moholy-Nagy: Painting after Photography (University of California Press).
  • Frank Salomon, a recent Obermann Fellow-in-Residence, published At the Mountains' Altar: Anthropology of Religion in an Andean Community (Routledge).
  • Lydia Maunz-Breese was awarded the Edwin Ford Piper Memorial Scholarship, and Heidi RenĂ©e Aijala was awarded the Freda Dixon Malone Dissertation Scholarship (English Department); both students are former Obermann Graduate Institute Fellows.
  • Aiden Bettine, John Jepsen, Mariana Mazer, and Subin Paul, all of whom are former Graduate Institute Fellows, were named Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio Fellows for Summer 2018.  
  • Aiden Bettine and John Jepsen have been awarded an Office of Outreach & Engagement/Obermann Graduate Institute award to support their oral history project with the Iowa Youth Writing Project.
Global Citizenship & 
Gun Violence Research 
Obermann Conversations in April

April 19, 4:00-5:00 pm, Iowa City Public Library - Global Citizenship 
Join UI College of Education's Jason Harshman, Grinnell College's Caleb Elfenbein, and North Central Jr. High School's Alisa Meggitt as they ask:  How does our understanding of global citizenship in the U.S. help us understand our power in the world? How do we balance our responsibilities to local and national communities with our obligations to the world community?  And what does this mean for the future of education in the United States?
There is an increasing call for research on gun violence. However, federally funded research has been limited by the Dickey Amendment. Corinne Peek-Asa (College of Public Health), Mark Berg (Sociology and Public Policy Center), and Carletta Knox-Seymour (Cedar Rapids anti-violence community organizer with 1Strong) will discuss the history of the Dickey Amendment, current interpretations and changes to this legislation, and the effects that gun violence research could have on our communities.
The Healing Arts 
15th-century illuminated book sits at crossroads of medicine and humanism
Sarah Kyle, a visiting scholar from the  University of Central Oklahoma and a 2017-18 Obermann Fellow, is working on a study of the Roccabonella Herbal, a fifteenth-century Venetian illustrated book of plant medicines. An art historian, Kyle is studying the interplay of the more than 400 paintings in the book with its encyclopedic account of medicinal plants. The book, she believes, represents a "network that maps relationships among artists, physicians, and the developing study of botany."

In addition to participating in Obermann's bi-weekly seminars for its Fellows, Kyle has reaped the benefits of the UI's John Martin Rare Book Room and its treasure of early medical books and of the UI Center for the Book with its riches of book arts scholars. These UI resources have helped her unravel the many mysteries of this 900-page work.

Book Completion Workshop Announced
Book Ends, a new Obermann and OVPRED program, launches next fall

In 2018-19, the Obermann Center and the Office of the Vice President for Research & Economic Development will launch a new program to support UI faculty members in transforming promising manuscripts into important, field-changing books. Three Book Ends awards--for UI faculty from disciplines in which publishing a monograph is required for tenure and promotion--will provide funding for faculty to bring two senior scholars to campus for a candid, constructive workshop on a book manuscript. Additionally, two UI senior faculty members will participate in the workshop. While preference will be given to assistant professors working on first books, associate professors completing books in preparation for promotion to full professor are also eligible. The goal is for each author to leave the workshop with concrete suggestions for revision, a list of likely presses, and a timeline that will lead to a revised manuscript ready for presses to review within six months. The first round of applications is due September 12, 2018--inspiration to finish a draft of your manuscript this summer!

Rachel Williams's WWI Graphic History
Guts and Glory: The War Train That Shaped a Nation

Rachel Williams, chair of the UI Department of Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies and associate professor of Art and Art History, is part of a creative team that has developed an upcoming exhibition at the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library. Williams's stunning art helps tell the story of the Czech and Slovak Legions during World War I and the birth of Czechoslovakia, midwifed by a professor in exile along with his family and students.  The team, including NCSML curator Stefanie Kohn, NCSML director of learning and civic engagement Nic Hartmann, and author Kevin J. McNamara, will discuss the making of the exhibit on April  5 at 4:00 pm in Room 240 of Art Building West. 

Williams, who co-directed the 2011 Obermann Humanities Symposium, "Comics, Creativity, and Culture," is also at work on a book-length graphic history of the 1943 Detroit race riot.   
Human Rights and the Archives

Talks by Trudy Huskamp Peterson and William Pretzer highlight the vital role of archives in preserving and extending rights


We are thrilled to share two of the provocative keynote lectures from our recent symposium, "Against Amnesia: Archives, Evidence, and Social Justice." In our next newsletter, we'll provide a longer summary of this exciting conference and its sister event, the Iowa City Archives Crawl, but more immediately, we wanted to share the audio and video of these two excellent lectures.

Mangum Elected Vice President of National Humanities Alliance

Obermann Center director Teresa Mangum was recently elected Vice President of the Board of Directors of the National Humanities Alliance. The organization  creates opportunities and resources to help students, faculty, and cultural leaders advocate for the humanities.   For more information about the benefits of our UI membership, visit the NHA website. For snapshots of the NHA's 2018 National Humanities Advocacy Day, take a look at the lively comments on Twitter: #HAD18.
Locating the Digital Humanities

For the past two years, we've had the pleasure of working with Matthew Hannah as our Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow for the Digital Bridges for Humanistic Inquiry Grinnell College/UI Partnership. In March, Matt started a new position at Purdue University as Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities. Here is an article he recently published for his alma mater, the University of Oregon, about his career path. Congratulations and thanks, Matt!

" One of the central claims of some Digital Humanities practitioners is that the field offers diverse career opportunities. Skills learned in DH, it is often argued, help undergraduate and graduate students diversify their portfolios, expanding their options for meaningful employment in academia and beyond, employment which requires humanistic thinking and digital training. Such a narrative can be critiqued as being too utopian, but there is a truth to the notion that learning innovative skills and tools both energizes the study of the humanities and social sciences and provides exciting material attractive to many employers."