News

Relying on the Unreliable: Historian Catherine Stewart Examines 1930s Domestic Workers

Obermann Fellow-in-Residence Catherine Stewart’s current book project, The New Maid, relies in part on a highly unreliable source—student essays. Specifically, Stewart is interested in what is divulged through a cache of papers written by students at a private women’s college in the South in response to the topic, “Negro servants in my household.” Written between 1928 and 1940, the nearly 100...

Ashley Cheyemi McNeil Appointed 2019-21 HPG Postdoctoral Scholar

Interdisciplinary scholar Dr. Ashley Cheyemi Rae McNeil has been appointed the 2019–2021 Postdoctoral Scholar for the Andrew W. Mellon–Funded Humanities for the Public Good (HPG) initiative. McNeil earned her bi-national PhD in English from Georgia State University and in American Studies from the Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany. As...

Misfitting: Symposium Connects Disabilities Studies Scholars, Shines Light on Need for Scholarly Leadership at UI

Tricia Zebrowski and Douglas Baynton pulled off a wonderful finale this spring. The two retiring professors—Zebrowski is in her first year as an Emeritus in Communication Sciences & Disorders, while Baynton retired in May 2019 from History—co-directed “Misfitting: Disability Broadly Considered,” the 2019 Obermann Humanities Symposium. During three days in April, the pair helped to host eminent...

Ortiz-Guzmán Appointed 2019-20 Sawyer Seminar Postdoctoral Fellow

Directors of the 2019–20 Andrew W. Mellon Sawyer Seminar, “Imagining Latinidades: Articulations of National Belonging,” have selected interdisciplinary scholar Dr. Lisa Ortiz-Guzmán as the Seminar’s Postdoctoral Fellow. Ortiz-Guzmán earned her PhD in Educational Policy Studies with graduate minors in Latina/o Studies and Gender & Women’s Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana...

Not Distracted: Aiden Bettine Balances Traditional Scholarship and Public Engagement Projects

Aiden Bettine, the first Humanities for the Public Good (HPG) Graduate Fellow, is already embodying the goals of this grant. A historian with a strong commitment to public scholarship, Aiden is pushing the boundaries of his discipline in experimental and collaborative directions. With funding and support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and the...

Four CLAS Graduate Students Chosen for National Humanities Center Education Program

Four University of Iowa PHD candidates have been selected to attend the 2019 Graduate Student Summer Residency Program at the National Humanities Center in the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. From July 15 to 26, Aiden M. Bettine (History), Enrico Bruno (English), Hadley Galbraith (French & Italian), and Mary Wise (History) will join approximately 100 fellow humanities graduate students...

Andrew Tubbs: Scholar, musician, disability advocate, comedian

Andrew Tubbs 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.” The University of Iowa...

Yellow Fever's History of Humans, Microbes, and Ideas

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, it is caused by a species of mosquito that prefers clean, fresh water. Before this was proven decisively in 1901, yellow fever was a...

NHA Advocacy Day

Obermann Director Teresa Mangum 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. As part of the annual NHA Advocacy Day, they shared the educational, social, and economic benefits of the arts and humanities. The NHA especially encourages...
Esco in his 20s wearing a suit and bowtie

An Aerial View—Remembering Esco Obermann

Esco Obermann embodied interdisciplinarity. That's him in the photo to the right, upside down on his parents' windmill in Yarmouth, Iowa. (Look closely—the soles of his shoes are aligned with the motor.) Esco, one of nine siblings, grew up doing acrobatics on his family's farm in southeastern Iowa—backbends on bulls, rope stunts in haylofts, L-sits on windmills—as if driven to seek new...