Lauren Burrell Cox

Assistant Director

Lauren Burrell Cox received her PhD in English with a concentration in film and media studies from the University of Florida. She was awarded the University of Florida College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Michael Aschoff Dissertation Fellowship. Her hybrid dissertation project “Reactivating the Film Archive” focused on archival documentary films and how they activate and engage with film history. For the project, she also created her own film, Sundrop. The film is an experimental documentary film that reflects on her hometown of Merritt Island, Florida’s history as well as her personal experiences growing up there. Lauren has shown films at the Key West Film Festival and in Gainesville, Florida.

Lauren has worked in a variety of public humanities roles. Before coming to the Obermann Center, she was the Humanities Program Manager at the University of Florida Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere (UF CHPS), where she managed the UF Synergies Speaker Series and the Humanities Engagement Scholars program. Prior to that, she served as the program coordinator for UF CHPS and the Public Relations Coordinator for the Andrew W. Mellon Intersections program. 

She is an avid podcaster and has co-created both narrative and interview-based podcasts. With Dr. June Ke, and sponsored by the University of Florida Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere and the University of California Humanities Research Institute, she co-created the podcast series Under Review: Rethinking Humanities Graduate Education. Putting graduate education under review, the podcast examines pressing issues such as the tenure-track jobs crisis, economic outcomes for humanities PhDs, future directions for graduate education, and professional development that takes into account diverse paths and the current realities of the job market. Under Review serves as a resource for helping graduate students in the humanities feel more empowered as they navigate the academy and take the next steps in their careers. The podcast has been written about in Ytori Magazine. Lauren also co-created The Hipp Six podcast with Gabrielle Byam, Director of Education at the Hippodrome Theatre. The podcast tells the story of the founding of the theatre by six University of Florida students in the 1970s, and it was awarded a Florida Humanities Community Project Grant with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In the summer of 2020, she was a fellow at the National Humanities Center Podcasting Institute. With other graduate students from across the country, she produced Pod.Cast.Zoom - Shifting Intimacies Under COVID. In 2021, she co-produced an episode on the future of artificial intelligence and the humanities for the NHC’s In Our Image: Artificial Intelligence and the Humanities conference.

Lauren received her M.A. in English with a concentration in film and media studies from the University of Florida and a B.A. in English, summa cum laude, with a Spanish minor from the University of Florida. She has taught film and literature in the UF English department, and was awarded Best First Year Teacher for teaching in the University of Florida Writing Program.

Authored by Lauren Burrell Cox

Scholars Create Demo Derby as Comment on U.S. Political Discourse

Monday, August 7, 2023
A green car with the words “climate change” emblazoned on its doors slams into the back of a red car with the word “healthcare” on it, crumpling the bumper. Other cars with the terms “gun control,” “free speech,” and “abortion” repeatedly crash into each other in the muddy arena at the county fair, until one car emerges victorious. Just Crushing is an artwork taking the form of a demolition derby to embody American political discourse as a spectacle of competitive wreckage. The Interdisciplinary Research Group (IDRG) consists of Allison Rowe (Teaching & Learning), Maia Sheppard (Teaching & Learning), and Nancy Nowacek (Stevens Institute of Technology). Drawing upon the theatrics of Carnivale, the hometown grandiosity of state fairs, and the rich history of destructive art, vehicles representing critical issues in American politics will brutalize one another as the crowd cheers and jeers them on. Through its live, winner-takes-all battle, this project stands in opposition to the polarizing debates of stylized dialogue across partisan media. In this way, Just Crushing literalizes us-versus-them culture and reveals the absurd extremes to which political discourse has arrived: where every issue must fight for a public and a platform. 

Exploring Healthy Aging across the Life Course

Wednesday, July 5, 2023
Health happens in families and yet many health promotion interventions are not tailored for the family as a unit. Multigenerational households (i.e., families that consist of three or more generations) have become a more prevalent family structure in the U.S. and provide essential caregiving functions. This summer, as part of their Obermann Interdisciplinary Research Grant, "Healthy Aging across the Life Course: Engaging Multigenerational Families Living with Chronic Conditions," Ebonee Johnson (College of Public Health), Duhita Mahatmya (College of Education), and Kimberly Dukes (Internal Medicine) utilized the principles and practices of community engagement to better understand health and healthy aging in multigenerational families experiencing chronic illness and disability. 

Data Justice for Flint: Seamster Leads Effort to Build Accessible Archive with Humanities Without Walls Grand Research Challenge Project

Thursday, May 4, 2023
For seven years, the Obermann Center has been a partner in the Mellon-funded Humanities Without Walls consortium led by Professor Antoinette Burton at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Our graduate students have attended HWW’s Career Diversity Summer Workshops, and several faculty members have worked with cross-institutional Grand Research Challenge teams. This year, we are delighted that Assistant Professor Louise Seamster (Departments of Sociology & Criminology and African American Studies) was selected as the P.I. of a team focused on "The Flint Water Disaster Public Archive." The ”Flint Water Disaster Public Archive” will re-home public data that has been largely inaccessible to Flint communities—a form of data justice that is of urgent relevance to the history, present, and future of those communities. The project is a collaboration among the University of Iowa, University of Michigan–Flint, and the Flint Democracy Defense League. Below is Obermann Assistant Director Lauren Burrell Cox’s interview with Louise Seamster about the project.