close up of hebrew writing

Working Group Spotlight: Jewish Studies

Monday, April 4, 2022
This is part of a series highlighting recently formed Obermann Center Working Groups. Lisa Heineman (History), co-director of the Jewish Studies Working Group with Ari Ariel (History), shared her responses. Thank you, Lisa! If you are interested in starting an Obermann Working Group for 2022-23, the application deadline is April 12. 

Q. This is the first year of your Working Group. What led you to start it? 

A: Iowa is the only Big 10 school without a Jewish Studies program. Yet Jewish Studies is an incredibly dynamic field of study, with real contemporary relevance—and we have many terrific teachers and scholars of Jewish Studies on our campus. We were hearing from students, alumni, and parents who made clear there was a demand for the field. We decided it was time to get together and think about how to have a more meaningful presence on campus.

Q. What kinds of people and from what disciplines are participating in your Group? 

 A. We have faculty members from History, International Studies, German, GWSS, Classics, Religious Studies, English, Translation, the Maggid Writing Center…. I hope I’m not forgetting anyone! We have emeriti and graduate students with important areas of expertise, and we have community members who play significant roles in Jewish life beyond our campus.
Men of different races sit around a table studying together. They are wearing matching blue shirts.

Working Group Spotlight: Transform(ED) Justice Collaboratory

Monday, March 21, 2022
In order to understand and amplify our Obermann Working Groups and their diverse activities, this spring we are spotlighting a number of newer groups. For this issue, we talk with Heather Erwin, who co-directs the Transform(ED) Justice Collaboratory group along with Daria Fisher-Page (Law). 

Q: This is the first year of your Working Group. What led you to start it? 

A: This working group evolved from the Liberal Arts Behind Bars (LABB) working group whose goal was to advance the work of serving incarcerated students. With the reinstatement of Pell grant eligibility for incarcerated students and the reimagining campus safety initiative on campus there are many opportunities to work toward building a campus community that prioritizes inclusivity and support for people impacted by the criminal legal system. The mission of the Transform(ED) Justice Collaboratory is to work toward abolition by building supportive communities, based on evidence created through research, and generating policy that creates necessary change.  

Working Group Spotlight: Spanish Heritage Speakers in the Classroom

Saturday, March 5, 2022
This spring, we're featuring a few of our newer Working Groups. As one of the most popular and largest Obermann Center programs, the Working Groups span a wide range of topics and have members who include emeriti faculty, lecturers, community members, and students, in addition to faculty from both the University of Iowa and other institutions. Here, we speak with Christine Shea (Spanish & Portuguese), who co-directs the Spanish and Heritage Speakers in the Classroom Working Group with Becky Gonzalez (Spanish & Portuguese).  
John Rapson

John Rapson's Communal Composition: Esteban and the Children of the Sun

Tuesday, September 28, 2021
In mid-June, a dozen musicians gathered in the basement of one of Iowa City’s oldest homes. There was a blues guitarist, a French mandole player, and a Celtic fiddler. The drummer was sequestered in the laundry room, and an electric guitarist’s amp was routed through a shower stall to limit distortion. In the midst of it all was John Rapson.
John Rapson sitting at the piano

John Rapson: Looking Back at a Generous Collaborator

Tuesday, July 27, 2021
In the summer of 2014, it wasn't uncommon to find two faculty members padding around the Obermann Center in bare feet as they dashed from their upstairs offices to the downstairs library to watch movies. While it appeared to be a scholarly form of summer camp, John Rapson (School of Music) and Paul Kalina (Theatre) were deep in research as they broke down how music and movement interacted in old...

Exploring the Echo Chamber: Brian Ekdale PI on $1M Grant to Study Social Media Algorithms & Extremism

Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Let's say you want to watch a news clip about Confederate monuments. You search YouTube and choose a video from what appears to be a randomly generated list of results. When the video ends, YouTube autoplays another video and recommends dozens more—and likely they’re the sort of thing you actually might watch, because that list is generated by algorithms that process your YouTube viewing history...

Working Group Directors Q&A

Monday, March 30, 2020
The Obermann Center's unique Working Groups program provides space, structure, and discretionary funding for participants from across the UI campus and beyond to explore complex issues at a moment when cross-disciplinary collaboration is crucial to address shifting domains of knowledge and a rapidly changing world. We've extended the application deadline for 2020-21 Working Groups to April 28, and...

UI’s Iowa Native Spaces project works with Meskwaki, Ioway to bring historical perspectives to more Iowans

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Reprinted from Iowa Now, this article features a project that was incubated via the Obermann Working Group program and has been directed by Jacki Rand (History, CLAS) who has been an Obermann Fellow-in-Residence and Co-Director of the Obermann Graduate Institute, as well as former Graduate Institute Fellows Eric Zimmer and Dave De La Tore and Obermann HASTAC Scholar Mary Wise. Article by Chris...

Anne Fausto-Sterling to Present at Darwin Days

Monday, February 27, 2017
This Friday and Saturday (March 3 and 4), feminist biologist Professor Anne Fausto-Sterling will visit the University of Iowa to participate in Iowa City's celebration of Darwin Day. Fausto-Sterling will give two talks, a professional talk about her current research on gender and development on Friday at 3 pm in the Kollros Auditorium (Biology Building East) and a public lecture on gender, science...
One of thousands of photos that have been digitized as part of the Ft. Madison Prison Memory Project.

Incarcerated in Iowa - Relationship Forged at the Obermann Graduate Institute Results in Prisons Project and Symposium

Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Conversation Begins at Obermann Graduate Institute: Kathrina Litchfield, recent SLIS grad and a current PhD candidate in Language, Literacy, and Culture (College of Education) and Gemma Goodale-Sussen (English, CLAS) met for the first time last January as Fellows of the Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy. As they shared their respective public engagement projects, each woman...
Charles Darwin

Internationally Renowned Darwin Biographer to Speak

Monday, November 11, 2013
Exploring Darwin's Motives: Why did Charles Darwin, a rich and impeccably upright gentleman, go out of his way to privately develop a subversive image of human evolution in 1837-39? Why did he pursue the subject with tenacity for three decades before publishing The Descent of Man in 1871? Internationally renowned Darwin biographer James Moore will address these questions and others in his lecture,...
Herman Gray

Herman Gray Visit Stems from Obermann Cmiel Semester

Thursday, October 3, 2013
Herman S. Gray, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, will give a public lecture on October 18, 2013, “On Race, Representation, and Resonance,” in Becker Auditorium, Room 101, at 4:00 pm. His lecture engages with the way scholars of television and race often take representation as the site of subject/ion and visibility as the object of cultural politics. Gray asks if...

Obermann Afternoons Kicks Off with Talk on Intergenre Crossing

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Building on the Obermann Center’s tradition of nurturing interdisciplinary scholarship, the Intergenre Explorations Working Group has brought together faculty engaged in intergenre work. Rather than (or in addition to) crossing disciplines, intergenre work crosses from one mode of research or presentation to another. Synthesizing scholarly and creative modalities, these crossings entail palpable...

Loyce Arthur Brings Carnaval to Iowa City

Thursday, April 25, 2013
On June 9, Loyce Arthur (Theatre Arts, CLAS) will realize her dream of bringing Carnaval to Iowa City. The Iowa City Carnaval Parade will occur Sunday, June 9, in conjunction with the annual Iowa City Arts Festival. Carnaval is a strong, vibrant tradition in several island nations and Latin American countries as well as urban centers around the world, with community members working for a year in...

Obermann Afternoons Features Interdisciplinary Research on Aging

Friday, April 19, 2013
From Cells to Sensors: Interdisciplinary Research in Aging“I was so much older then / I'm younger than that now.” (Bob Dylan, 1964)People have long sought a Fountain of Youth. The Aging Mind and Brain Initiative (AMBI) uses science to uncover mechanisms of aging and develop ways to promote healthy brain aging across the lifespan. On April 30 from 4:00 to 5:30 pm at the Obermann Center, Dr. Matt...

Obermann Afternoons Explores Intersection Between Solar Cooker, Deforestation, and Women's Lives

Thursday, March 7, 2013
Missing the Woods for the Trees: Mechanical Engineer and Feminist Anthropologist Connect the Local and Global — Women and children from northwest India spend more than 20 hours a week walking to existing stands of trees, cutting down wood, and carrying as much as 70 pounds home to use as cooking fuel. As part of an Obermann Working Group, H.S. Udaykumar (Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering...

Obermann Working Groups Taking Applications for 2013-2014

Thursday, March 7, 2013
Explore New Work, Share Research, Organize a Symposium or Grant Proposal! The Obermann Working Groups provide space, structure, and discretionary funding for groups of faculty and advanced graduate students with a shared intellectual interest. Groups have used this opportunity to explore new work and to share their own research, to organize a symposium, and to develop grant proposals. This program...

"Circulating Culture" Working Group Hosts UMass-Amherst Scholar Laura Doyle

Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The Obermann Center “Circulating Cultures” Working Group will host the upcoming visit by Laura Doyle, Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Doyle, who specializes in questions of transnationalism, modernity, and empire in literary studies, will give a public lecture, “Reading Otherwise: Interdisciplinarity, History, and the Dialectics of Culture,” on Thursday, October...
Lisa Heineman

Working Group Members Perform and Gain an Award

Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Lisa Heineman (History and Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies) and Kim Marra (Theatre Arts and American Studies) formed one of the inaugural 2011 Obermann Working Groups in order to explore how scholars might communicate their academic interests through performance and artists might use researchers’ methods to explore issues they usually address before live audiences. As scholars, Marra and...

Working Groups Look Ahead to Second Year

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
2011-2012 has been the inaugural year for the Obermann Working Groups. This program, modeled on successful programs at several centers around the country, is intended to provide space, structure, and discretionary funding for groups of faculty and advanced graduate students with a shared intellectual interest. We have had four Working Groups this year: Intergenre Explorations, Women's Health and...