Publications & Major Works

The following publications and other major works completed with assistance from Obermann programming were reported in the last year:


Cover of book: drawing of black woman at kitchen stove

Black Women in Sequence: Re-inking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime (University of Washington Press, 2015)
Deborah Elizabeth Whaley
Co-director, Obermann Humanities Symposium, “Affect & Inquiry,” 2014; Director, Comparative Ethnic Studies Working Group

Black Women in Sequence takes readers on a search for women of African descent in comics subculture. From the 1971 appearance of the Skywald Publications character ‘the Butterfly’—the first Black female superheroine in a comic book—to contemporary comic books, graphic novels, film, manga, and video gaming, a growing number of Black women are becoming producers, viewers, and subjects of sequential art.” (from the publisher’s website)

Cover of book showing child's toy

Child-Computer Interaction (CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2015)
Juan Pablo Hourcade
Obermann Fellow-in-Residence, Spring 2014

“This is the first comprehensive book on child-computer interaction, covering basic concepts as well as the latest research. The book is ideal for graduate students entering the field, as well as for practitioners and researchers coming from other fields who want to quickly catch up with child-computer interaction research. It can also be a useful book for teaching courses on child-computer interaction.” (from

Book cover showing Middle Eastern cityscapes

The Cities That Built the Bible (HarperCollins, 2016)
Robert Cargill
Obermann Fellow-in-Residence, Spring 2015

The Cities That Built the Bible is a magnificent tour through fourteen cities: the Phoenicia cities of Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos, Ugarit, Nineveh, Babylon, Megiddo, Athens, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Qumran, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Rome. Along the way, Cargill includes photos of artifacts, dig sites, ruins, and relics, taking readers on a far-reaching journey from the Grotto of the Nativity to the battlegrounds of Megiddo, from the towering Acropolis of Athens to the caves in Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.” (from the publisher’s website)

Cover of book, depicting multicolored squares

Engines of Anxiety: Academic Rankings, Reputation, and Accountability (Russell Sage Foundation, 2016)
Michael Sauder (with Wendy Nelson Espeland)
Obermann Fellow-in-Residence, 2013

“In Engines of Anxiety, sociologists Wendy Espeland and Michael Sauder delve deep into the mechanisms of law school rankings, which have become a top priority within legal education. Based on a wealth of observational data and over 200 in-depth interviews with law students, university deans, and other administrators, they show how the scramble for high rankings has affected the missions and practices of many law schools.” (from the publisher’s website)

Book cover showing ancient manuscript

The Native Conquistador: Alva Ixtlilxochitl’s Account of the Conquest of New Spain (Penn State University Press, 2015)
Edited and translated by Amber Brian, Bradley Benton, and Pablo Garcia Loaeza
Co-directors, Obermann Interdisciplinary Research Grant, “Native Perspective on the Conquest of Mexico: Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl’s ‘Thirteenth Relation,'” 2013

The Native Conquistadora translation of the ‘Thirteenth Relation,’ written by don Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl in the early seventeenth century—narrates the conquest of Mexico from Hernando Cortés’s arrival in 1519 through his expedition into Central America in 1524. The protagonist of the story, however, is not the Spanish conquistador but Alva Ixtlilxochitl’s great-great-grandfather, the native prince Ixtlilxochitl of Tetzcoco. This account reveals the complex political dynamics that motivated Ixtlilxochitl’s decisive alliance with Cortés.” (from the publisher’s website)

Book cover showing multi-ethnic liberation group holding Puerto Rican flagThe New York Young Lords and the Struggle for Liberation (Temple University Press, 2015)
Darrel Wanzer-Serrano
Participant in Op Ed Project, 2015

“In The New York Young Lords and the Struggle for Liberation, Darrel Wanzer-Serrano details the numerous community initiatives that advanced decolonial sensibilities in El Barrio and beyond. Using archival research and interviews, he crafts an engaging account of the Young Lords’ discourse and activism. He rescues the organization from historical obscurity and makes an argument for its continued relevance, enriching and informing contemporary discussions about Latino/a politics.” (from the publisher’s website)

Old book illustration of man riding horse in field

Ossianic Unconformities: Bardic Poetry in the Industrial Age (The University of Virginia Press, 2015)
Eric Gidal
Obermann Fellow-in-Residence, Fall 2012

“In a sequence of publications in the 1760s, James Macpherson, a Scottish schoolteacher in the central Highlands, created fantastic epics of ancient heroes and presented them as genuine translations of the poetry of Ossian, a fictionalized Caledonian bard of the third century. In Ossianic Unconformities Eric Gidal introduces the idiosyncratic publications of a group of nineteenth-century Scottish eccentrics who used statistics, cartography, and geomorphology to map and thereby vindicate Macpherson’s controversial eighteenth-century renderings of Gaelic oral traditions.” (from the publisher’s website)


Technosex: Precarious Corporealities, Mediated Sexualities, and the Ethics of Embodied Technics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)
Meenakshi Gigi Durham
Obermann Fellow-in-Residence, Fall 2011

“In this book, Meenakshi Gigi Durham outlines and advances a progressive feminist framework for digital ethics in the technosexual landscape, exploring the complex and evolving interrelationships between sex and tech.” (from the publisher’s website)

Music & Performance

CD cover showing darkened building and jazz orchestraCrescendo: Johnson County Landmark plays the music of John Rapson, with guest artists David Hagedorn, Fabio dos Santos, Ryan Smith, Robert Monroe, and Blake Shaw (2014)

John Rapson
Co-director with Paul Kalina, Obermann Interdisciplinary Research Grant, “Mask and Jazz Cultural Performance,” 2013

The Crescendo album features the original music of John Rapson and was released alongside a dramatic performance by the UI Theatre Arts Department, directed by Paola Coletto and Matteo Destro. The performance featured physical theater, dance, mask, and jazz and was 2014’s Iowa Partnerships in the Arts project. Read more

Johnson County Landmark is a jazz orchestra under the direction of UI School of Music faculty member John Rapson and devoted to the performance of original compositions by jazz masters past and present.


Image depicting network analysis from Big Data Histories website

Linked Reading: Big Data Histories
Blaine Greteman and James Lee
Iowa Digital Bridges Collaborative Grant recipients, 2015

While in residence at Obermann, Greteman and Lee worked to link two separate database websites. One—Shakeosphere—captures the full texts of 25,000 early modern books; the other—Global Renaissance—includes metadata about the makers and sellers of nearly 500,000 books from a 300-year period. On their new Linked Reading site, users can move back and forth between the data in the two sites and use analytical tools developed at both Grinnell and Iowa.