National Partnerships

The Obermann Center works closely with a number of national organizations to support research on campus while also advocating for the importance of research out in the world.

National Humanities Alliance

This year, we worked especially closely with the National Humanities Alliance (NHA). In March, Teresa Mangum attended the annual Humanities Advocacy Day, along with English Department graduate student Michelle Taylor and Obermann Graduate Institute for Engagement and the Academy alumni Noaquia Callahan Hollis and Sylvea Hollis (pictured above), who are both PhD candidates in History. After meeting with National Endowment Chairman William “Bro” Adams and other leaders in the humanities, the group visited the offices of Iowa senators and congressmen to share their work in the humanities.  

In April, the Obermann Center was invited by the National Humanities Alliance to join representatives from the University of Iowa, local colleges, area cultural organizations, and Iowa Humanities in an exciting new cultural mapping project. We’ll share the results soon!

Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life

Back: Dave Gould (Obermann), Rachel Williams (Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies and Art & Art History), Dora Malech (Writers’ Workshop graduate), Pat Dolan (Rhetoric), Heather Draxl (Language, Literacy, & Culture), Kira Pasquesi (Higher Education & Student Affairs), Jen Shook (English), Walid Afifi (Communication Studies)   Front: Kat Litchfield (Language, Literacy, & Culture), Carolyn Colvin (Language, Literacy, & Culture), Teresa Mangum (Obermann)

Through the Obermann Center, the University of Iowa is a member of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life. This national consortium of colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations supports publicly engaged arts, design, and scholarship. Many University of Iowa graduate students and faculty members have shared their work at Imagining America conferences in the last decade. In the fall of 2015, a group of faculty, graduate students, and recent UI PhD students attended the Baltimore conference, visiting the sites of campus–community partnerships across the city and sharing their own projects.

We’re especially proud that a number of our graduate students — Heather Draxl (Language, Literacy, & Culture), Kira Pasquesi (Higher Education & Student Affairs), and Kat Litchfield (Language, Literacy, & Culture) — were selected to attend the conference after being named Publicly Active Graduate Education (or PAGE) Fellows, a program that is co-directed by Jen Shook (English). Our Director, Teresa Mangum, serves on Imagining America’s National Advisory Board and Executive Committee.

Read Dora Malech’s Kenyon Review blog post about the 2015 conference.

The Dickens Project

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Read Jill Lepore’s New Yorker essay.

The Dickens Project is an international research consortium of over 40 international universities. In collaboration with the UI English Department, the Obermann Center helps to send a faculty member and two graduate students to The Dickens Universe conference each year. The Iowa contingent joins 50 international faculty, 100 graduate students, and 150–200 readers who simply love the work of Charles Dickens for a week under the redwoods of the University of California at Santa Cruz to discuss a novel by Dickens in all its literary and cultural complexity. Combining keynote lectures, graduate seminars, professionalization sessions, teaching opportunities, and social events, the week is an astounding opportunity for intellectual community-building and international networking. We sent UI English graduate students Katie Wetzel and Marija Reiff to the summer 2015 conference.

Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes

The Obermann Center joins hundreds of other centers from the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Africa in sharing resources and developing collaborative projects that connect scholars around the world through membership in the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI), directed by Sara Guyer at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.