Summer 2022 Humanities Labs

Engaged Scholarship in the Humanities, Department of History, CLAS
Steve Warren, professor, History and American Studies

Steve Warren plans to transform a course he has taught in the past, “Engaged Scholarship in the Humanities, into a humanities lab. On campus, the lab will collaborate with both the Digital Publishing Studio in the University of Iowa Main Library and colleagues in Native American and Indigenous Studies and Museum Studies to support a series of projects that will be defined by Native nations. Off campus, he is in discussion with possible tribal partners for this lab, including the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and the Shawnee Tribe. These nations already offer innovative programming to their citizens, and they understand what they need in terms of historical research, storytelling, and data visualization. After beginning the lab with readings to ground students’ work in the practices of community-based scholarship, the class will meet virtually (and perhaps in person) with tribal governments to learn about their research and storytelling needs. Students will then work with partners on campus to develop projects that advance their understanding of public humanities methodologies as well as tribal histories and contemporary concerns. This preparation will prepare them to develop materials that their tribal partners have requested. Members of the tribe will offer feedback on drafts of the project and the class will offer a public presentation of their final projects.

Invisible Iowans: Linguistic Diversity, Cultural Identity and Social Justice in a Historically White, English-speaking Space
Aron Aji, Associate Professor of Instruction and Director of MFA in Literary Translation; Claire Frances, Director of the Center for Language and Culture Learning; and Christine Shea, Associate Professor in the departments of Spanish and Portuguese and Linguistics. All three collaborators are in the Division of World Languages and Literatures, CLAS.

The humanities lab Invisible Iowans, inspired by the diverse language communities in Iowa formed by recent immigrants, will ask how language and social justice interact on different scales—from individual and local to national and international. Students will consider the ways that “linguistic repertoire”—individual vocabulary, grammar, idioms, etc., that each individual has available—determines who can “see” individuals and communities and how fully as they can “show” themselves or how fully others can or choose to “see” their neighbors. While discrimination based on race, ethnicity or gender is criticized resoundingly, “language” often seems less important to those who never felt the necessity to learn another language to get an education, find a job, or participate in the life of their communities, or be listened to when they call emergency services. The lab will partner with leaders of several language communities in the area to develop projects that enhance students’ understanding of the many issues of equity, inclusion, and social justice tied to assumptions about linguistic difference at the same time that students collaborate with and respondnto needs defined by their community partners.

Creating With Archives, Departments of Cinematic Arts and English
Hayley O’Malley, assistant professor in Cinematic Arts and English, and Elizabeth Rodriguez Fielder, assistant professor of English and Latina/x/o Studies.

Hayley O’Malley and Elizabeth Rodriguez Fielder will work together to design two separate but related labs which will be offered in different semesters. Both labs will ask how cultural archives, especially those focused on women of color and LGBTQ+ artists and activists, can shape public memory, inspire innovative research, and galvanize social change. The two labs will feature two interdisciplinary graduate courses: “Methods in Feminist Media History,” Hayley O’Malley (Spring 2023), and “Queer Performances” (Fall 2023). Each course will be designed in collaboration with community partners in Iowa City and the greater Midwest, providing students with the experiential training and mentorship necessary to create public-facing humanities projects that find new ways to respond to, share, and gain inspiration from the historical past in order to imagine a more inclusive future. Projects may include public- facing writing about archival materials and cultural history; art inspired by archival materials or by the gaps and silences in the archive; curations of rarely seen films; and oral history interviews and the creation of new archival materials. Lab collaborators may include Special Collections and The Stanley Museum of Art, LGBTQ Iowa Archives and Library, the non-profit Sisters in Cinema, Public Space One, The Ana Mendieta Estate, FilmScene, the Des Moines Art Center, and Hancher.