2013 Interdisciplinary Research Grants

National Cold War Monuments and Environmental Heritage Trail: A Pilot Design Charrette


The National Toxic Land/Labor Conservation Service (National TLC Service) is an interdisciplinary art/scholarly collaboration taking the form of a ‘wishful’ federal agency dedicated to the vigilant detection and continual exposition of the domestic effects of the American nuclear state and its military environments. Directed by Kanouse and Krupar, the National TLC Service satirically employs the rhetoric and aesthetics of government bureaucracy to perform a serious and deeply felt critique of U.S. militarism and the American nuclear state. Bringing together strategies of participatory art and public humanities, the Service seeks to foster discovery, dialogue, and debate about the ongoing consequences of atomic militarism, with particular attention to perspectives marginalized in dominant Cold War narratives. During their month at Obermann, Kanouse and Krupar are developing participatory methods to engage stakeholders in designing people's monuments and speculative heritage trails reflecting the continued presence of nuclear weapons and wastes. These include a workbook and day-long workshop involving collaborative mapping and design that will be integrated into a pilot public program at the University of Illinois in October, 2013.

Mask and Jazz Cultural Performance Project


Kalina and Rapson are working on a production of musical works for an original theatre work that will employ physical theatre, dance, mask, and jazz for a performance to be presented as part of Hancher's 2014-15 season. Building on the foundation of Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo, this project will combine the ancient tradition of mask making with contemporary jazz to challenge current policies and norms in education. It will be collaboratively conceived and produced by the two UI faculty in consort with professional artists from Italy and Brazil. During the month-long residency at Obermann, Rapson and Kalina will:  a) perform background research, b) jointly view and listen to analogous work, c) engage in improvisational interaction, and d) create and produce lead sheets for a sound score that blends written composition with improvisation. The intended goal by the end of the residency is have all of the raw musical material completed and ready for choreography and orchestration. 

Native Perspective on the Conquest of Mexico: Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl's "Thirteenth Relation"


This collaborative project will result in a scholarly English translation of the "Thirteenth Relation" ["Décimatercia relación"] of don Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl's Historical Compendium of the Kingdom of Tetzcoco [Compendio histórico del reino de Texcoco] (c. 1608). The "Thirteenth Relation" is a seventy-five-page text that narrates the conquest of Mexico from Hernando Cortés's arrival in Yucatan in 1519 through the conquest of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) to his subsequent expedition to Central America in 1524. A descendant of the native elite and Spanish conquistadors, Alva Ixtlilxochitl was a mestizo intellectual whose professional activities, writings, and lived experience bridged European and indigenous traditions in colonial Mexico. His version of the conquest privileged the perspective of Tetzcoco, a city-state in central Mexico that was the homeland of his indigenous ancestors. With the quincentenary of the conquest of Mexico approaching, there is renewed interest in narratives of these historical events, especially from the native perspective.