Working Groups

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The Scholarship of Public Engagement Working Group

Obermann Center Working Groups provide space, structure, and discretionary funding for groups of faculty and advanced graduate students with a shared intellectual interest. Groups have used this opportunity to explore new work, to share their own research, to organize a symposium, and to develop grant proposals. In 2015–16, the Obermann Center hosted 18 Working Groups.

Select Working Group Highlights

Place-Based Inclusion Working Group

  • Hosted a one-day seminar, “Are U a Good Neighbor?”, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the University of Iowa Office of Outreach and Engagement. Three invited speakers addressed the role of universities in furthering fair and affordable housing in their communities.

Social Justice Education Working Group

  • Discussed Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire and Sentipensante (Sensing/Thinking) Pedagogy: Educating for Wholeness, Social Justice and Liberation by Laura I. Rendón
  • Studied diverse perspectives on and approaches to social justice education research through exchanges about members’ scholarship, teaching, and service
  • Hosted guest speaker Héctor Efrén Flores, a social justice activist and poet from Honduras, who discussed social justice education in his country

In addition to integrating our readings into our courses, members unanimously concur that the intellectual energy of the group has powered them to be productive: publications of articles, advancement on books in progress, submission of book proposals and articles, invited lectures and keynote talks, field works in national and international sites and research centers. ~Circulating Cultures’ final report

Circulating Cultures Working Group

  • Collaborated with the Contemporary Literary and Film Theory Working Group for a combined session with cultural theorist Mary Louise Pratt
  • Read and discussed three books: Writing History in the Global Era by Lynn Hunt; The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud; and In An Antique Land by Amitav Ghosh 

Scholarship of Public Engagement Working Group

  • Worked on their ICARE grant project, prepared an IRB application for community engagement, and created a heat map for use by researchers interested in health-related topics in Iowa
  • Participated in the tenth anniversary of the Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy by leading a fishbowl activity with public partners
  • Created pathways for a presentation at the Upper Midwest Civic Engagement Summit in May 2016

Opera Studies Forum

  • Offered Met Live lectures by Katherine Eberle Fink (Music, CLAS) on Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles; Miriam Gilbert (emeritus, English, CLAS) on Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux; and Nathan Platte (Music, CLAS) on Strauss’s Elektra

History Corps

  • History Corps graduate students and advisor Jacki Rand (who appear in the topmost photo) prepared to perform fieldwork at Meskwaki Settlement and Iowa Reservation in support of the project “Iowa Native Spaces: A Collaborative Digital Mapping Project.”