Humanities Symposium

Opportunity to Explore an Important Topic in the Humanities

The Obermann Humanities Symposium is an opportunity for UI scholars to explore an important topic using the lens of the humanities. Co-directors invite national and international speakers who provide an interdisciplinary response to the theme, and also highlight the work of UI and local experts. The symposium often includes an arts component, as well as opportunities to share pedagogical approaches.

Recent symposia have explored the role of the humanities in understanding and communicating the new age known as the Anthropocene, celebrating and forming a cohesive vision for the study of Latinos in the Midwest, and an examination of Don Quixote as one of literature's most famous exemplars of parody and plagiarism.

This is a $20,000 award (pending budget); many recipients have applied for and received additional funding from other UI offices. The Director(s) also receive significant staff support.


Applications are due the second Tuesday in October each year.

Application deadline for 2023–24 Humanities Symposium Directorship: October 12, 2021 (5:00 p.m.)


Applications are welcome from any faculty member whose appointment requires significant research, including scholarship and work in the arts. Directors must also have a record of scholarship in the proposed area of the humanities. Faculty who have received this award in the last 4 years are ineligible. 

Required Items

  • PDF iconCover sheet. Please download and complete this cover sheet (a fillable PDF). E-mail us at if you have trouble downloading the cover sheet.
  • Letter of introduction regarding your symposium topic, including its relevance to a particular field or fields; potential for sustained impact through publication or other means of sharing knowledge beyond the immediate event; and ideas for engaging with the community.
  • CV for each applying director. We encourage but do not require that one director is a senior faculty member.