"Humanities for the Public Good" Launch

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - 4:00pm
Event Location: 
Iowa City Public Library
123 S. Linn St.
Iowa City, IA 52240

On November 13 at 4:00 p.m. at the Iowa City Public Library, Teresa Mangum, Director of the UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, will share details of a new 4-year program funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, "Humanities for the Public Good: An Integrative, Collaborative, Practice-Based Humanities PhD."

The event will feature opening remarks by John Keller, Dean of the Graduate College and Interim Vice President for Research & Economic Development; a talk titled “The Future of the Humanities at the University of Iowa—Possibilities,” by Teresa Mangum, PI and Director of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and Professor of Gender, Women’s, & Sexuality Studies; and a conversation with a panel of current and recent UI graduate students

As of October 1, 2018, an award of $1,341,000 was made from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a degree in the Graduate College in collaboration with humanities departments that choose to participate, such as African American studies, American studies, anthropology, the visual and performing arts, art history, cinematic arts, classics, communication studies, history, languages, literature, philosophy, religious studies, and rhetoric. Campus libraries and museums will also be likely partners.

In advance of writing the grant, PI Teresa Mangum led focus groups involving more than 60 UI faculty members, staff, and graduate students to lay the groundwork for the proposal. The goal is to prepare students for diverse careers, in the non-profit sector, public policy, government, libraries, cultural administration, technology, publishing, and institutional education and research. The program will explore benefits of campus-community partnerships, team-taught courses, and funded summer internships and externships. The Mellon Foundation provided funding for postdoctoral fellows, graduate interns, faculty development opportunities, visiting scholars, travel to conferences, and co-learning opportunities for students, staff, faculty members, alumni, and community partners.

“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— a commitment to equity, inclusion, justice, empathy, and compassion—and humanistic methods and emphases on interpretation, storytelling, and meaning-making.”

The event is hosted by the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, UI Graduate College, UI College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Humanities Advisory Board. Free and open to the public.