Barbara Eckstein (English, CLAS) co-directed the Graduate Institute in 2014 and 2015. Her own engagement work includes co-leading the The People's Weather Map, a digital humanities project. She is also a member of the Oakdale Community [Prison] Choir. In 2014, she co-directed the Obermann Humanities Symposium, Energy Cultures in the Age of the Anthropocene.
As a recent Obermann Fellow in Residence, Eckstein continued her previous research into the relationship between story and sustainability, e.g., in Sustaining New Orleans (Routledge, 2005), Geohumanities (Routledge, 2011), and American Literary History (2012), through a project focused on the historical relationship between humans and mosquitoes in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. From the ancient site at Cahokia (IL) to the Civil War prison at Alton (IL) to the prairie bogs confronting surveyors of the Iowa Territory, what stories have been told about this insect that is the subject of much contemporary debate as climate change alters the geography of mosquito-borne human diseases?