Book Ends—Obermann/OVPR Book Completion Workshop

Co-sponsored by the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and the Office of the Vice President for Research, Books Ends—Obermann/OVPR Book Completion Workshop supports University of Iowa faculty from disciplines in which publishing a monograph is required for tenure and promotion. The award is designed to assist faculty members turn promising manuscripts into important, field-changing, published books.


Book Ends brings two senior scholars to campus for a candid, constructive three-hour workshop on the faculty member’s book manuscript. The award will cover travel, accommodations, and a $500 honorarium for each visiting scholar. We will also ask two University of Iowa senior faculty members to participate, an opportunity to learn about and support the work of a colleague. The Director of the Obermann Center or a representative for the Center will work with successful applicants to select the outside reviewers and organize their visits. Usually, one of the University of Iowa colleagues will act a facilitator, using the guide we have developed for authors and readers. Reviewers will be asked to provide substantive written comments, and the workshop will be recorded for the author’s use during the revision process. Our goal is for each author to leave the workshop with concrete suggestions for revision, advice about appropriate presses, and a timeline that will lead to a revised manuscript ready for presses to review within six months.


We will host workshops for up to four UI faculty members in 2021–22. This project supports both faculty members completing first books within a timeframe that aligns with deadlines for tenure review and associate professors on the verge of seeking promotion to full professor.



University of Iowa tenure-track assistant professors with mature drafts of monographs on track for publication in advance of the applicant’s tenure and promotion deadlines are eligible. Associate professors with mature drafts of monographs leading to promotion to full professor are eligible.


Application deadlines: September 16, 2021 and February 15, 2022 (5:00 p.m.)


For application details, please visit the Apply tab above.


We thank the Vice President for Research for co-sponsoring this initiative, and we look forward to this exciting opportunity to create new intellectual connections, to enrich scholarly research, and to assist faculty members advance in their careers.


Upcoming & Past Awardees


Anabel Maler (School of Music, CLAS)
Book project: Seeing Voices: Analyzing Sign Language Music
Seeing Voices will be "the first monograph-length analytical methodology for engaging with one of the central musical outputs of Deaf culture: signed music." Organized in two parts, the book provides the historical and cultural context of signed music, and then uses melody, rhythm, and timbre to analyze signed music. Essentially, Maler argues that music is a visual-kinesthetic phenomenon in addition to a sonic one.

Elizabeth Rodriguez Fielder (English, CLAS)
Book project: The Revolution Will Be Improvised: Civil-Rights Era Performance and Politics
This monograph centers people of color in the history of American avant-gardism and its relationship to social movement politics. Analyzing the cultural activism of the civil rights movement as a "collective body," Rodriguez Fielder argues that these practitioners revolutionized a new relationship between art and politics. Using newly available archival material, she seeks to show how activists "adopted methods of flexibility and participatory democracy while responding to a complex set of issues beyond voter registration and integration." 

Celsiana Warwick (Classics, CLAS)
Book project: Gendered Voices in The Iliad: Lament and Heroic Glory
In Gendered Voices, Warwick argues that Homer uses feminine voices and perspectives, particularly the female-coded discourse of lament, to critique the ways in which rigid adherence to the hegemonic warrior masculinity of the society depicted in The Iliad is detrimental to the well-being of the community. Applying Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of dialogism to The Iliad, Warwick says she seeks "to reevaluate assumptions of The Iliad’s monologic masculinity. ... [F]emininity is not excluded from the poem but is instead fundamental in The Iliad’s evaluation of heroic society." 

Summer 2021

Christopher Goetz (Cinematic Arts, CLAS)
Book project: The Counterfeit Coin: Videogames and Fantasies of Empowerment
The Counterfeit Coin maps three key empowerment fantasies across distinct entertainment media over the past 30 years, arguing that these fantasies offer new avenues for thinking about identity in relation to entertainment formats in the age of media convergence.

Meena Khandelwal (Anthropology and Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies, CLAS)
Book project: Demons of the Hearth: Feminist Fieldnotes on India’s Cookstove Campaigns
Demons of the Hearth begins with the simple problem of rural women in India having to collect fuelwood for cooking to suggest ways to break the stalemate between STEM on the one hand and feminist and decolonial theory on the other, with four goals: to better understand why improved stoves are often rejected by cooks, to push past reductive analyses that arise from disciplinary silos, to demonstrate the necessity of combining transnational analysis with area studies, and to demystify the interdisciplinary research process.

Lina-Maria Murillo (Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies, CLAS)
Book project: Fighting for Control: Race and Reproductive Health Activism in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands 
At the historical intersections of reproduction, activism, immigration, population control, and race, Fighting for Control examines the lives of working class, Mexican-origin women as they navigated a racialist family planning movement while striving to obtain bodily autonomy and dignity in the twentieth century U.S.-Mexico borderlands. 

Spring 2021

Tara Bynum (English and African American Studies, CLAS)
Book project: Reading Pleasures
Reading Pleasures
examines those instances when black personhood—in eighteenth-century American colonies and newly-founded U.S.—delights in individual and shared pleasures.

Brady G'Sell (Anthropology and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies, CLAS)
Book project: Producing Citizens: Motherhood, Race, and Political Belonging in South Africa
Producing Citizens analyzes the livelihood strategies of South African mothers living in poverty across five decades of political economic shifts. G'Sell demonstrates how the content of citizenship is created and negotiated at the micro-political scale of interpersonal relationships.

Summer 2019

E Cram (Communication Studies, CLAS)
Book project: Violent Inheritance and the Legacy of Sexuality Modernity in the Rocky Mountain West
Cram's manuscript examines spaces and performances of memory in/of western lands to interpret the ongoing legacy of sexual modernity in shaping cultures of violence in the Rocky Mountain region.

Björn Anderson (School of Art and Art History, CLAS) 
Book project: Negotiating Identity in Nabataean Arabia 
Anderson's manuscript examines the intersections of cultural identity in the kingdom of Nabataea, centered at Petra in southern Jordan. The Nabataean kingdom was active from ca. 300 B.C.E. to 106 C.E.; it saw the rise and fall of neighboring Hellenistic kingdoms and the inexorable expansion of Rome, and it witnessed the arrival of new religions, new forms of art, new languages, and new cultures. The book centers on observable dialogues, particular episodes or choices that reflect currents and priorities active within the broad confines of the Nabataean kingdom. These dialogues reveal much about how the population resolved social, cultural, and political changes, especially as they balanced "indigenous" traditions with an influx of new influences. 


Applications for upcoming Book Ends workshops are due September 16, 2021 (5:00 p.m.), and February 15, 2022 (5:00 p.m.).


If you are interested in applying, we encourage you to attend an info session on Wednesday, September 1, 2021, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. We are tentatively planning to meet in person, in the Obermann Center library (111 Church St.). No registration required.


Please contact Teresa Mangum, Director of the Obermann Center, if you have questions regarding this program.


Required Items

Please submit the following as a single PDF file to The complete submission (not including the cover sheet) should be no more than five single-spaced pages. (Please use a 12-point font size.)


From the applicant

  • PDF iconComplete this cover sheet, providing your name, department, contact information, title of the book project, and a one-sentence description of your thesis. Please email us at if you have trouble downloading the fillable PDF cover sheet.
  • Clarify how much of the manuscript is written and what remains to be done.
  • Provide a timeline for completion of a full draft of the manuscript.
  • Identify 4-6 senior scholars who would be excellent readers and mentors for this project, briefly noting what each would contribute to your project. Please include a link to each scholar’s homepage. The scholars should not have served on the applicant’s dissertation committee and should not have a close relationship with the UI scholar.
  • Identify 2-4 University of Iowa faculty members who would be excellent readers and mentors for this project, briefly noting what each could contribute.
  • Include drafts of two completed chapters of the monograph.


From the applicant’s department chair

On the cover sheet (linked above), the chair must indicate his/her/their

  • support for the application;
  • confirmation that he/she/they has personally seen the complete or nearly complete manuscript;
  • affirmation that the faculty member is meeting professional expectations, as indicated by successful annual reviews, etc., in the department;
  • own suggestions for possible internal senior faculty members to participate in book workshop; and 
  • signature and date.


Successful applicants will meet with the Director of the Obermann Center to plan invitations to external readers and determine possible dates for the workshop. Please note: applicants should be prepared to share their manuscripts with internal and external readers by early October.