Working Groups

Obermann Center Working Groups provide space, structure, and discretionary funding for groups led by faculty that may include advanced graduate students, staff members, and community members 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 2018–19, the Obermann Center hosted the following Working Groups with directors listed:

  • Archives & Social Justice — Lindsay Kistler Mattock (School of Library & Information Science, Graduate College)
  • Circulating Cultures — Elke Heckner (German, CLAS) and Julie Hochstrasser (Art & Art History, CLAS)
  • Comparative Ethnic Studies — Deborah Whaley (African American Studies and American Studies, CLAS)
  • Contemporary Literary & Film Theory — Kathleen Newman (Cinematic Arts and Spanish & Portuguese, CLAS)
  • Imagination & Desire in a Bayou Landscape: The Story of Cabeza de Vaca — John Rapson (Music, CLAS) and Amber Brian (Spanish & Portuguese, CLAS)
  • Islamic Manuscripts — Paul Dilley (Religious Studies and Classics, CLAS) and India Johnson (Center for the Book, Graduate College)
  • Latina/o/x Studies — Darrel Wanzer-Serrano (Communication Studies and Latina/o Studies, CLAS), Rene Rocha (Political Science and Latina/o Studies, CLAS), and Ariana Ruiz (Spanish & Portuguese, CLAS)
  • Modes & Models of Facilitation — David Supp-Montgomerie (Communication Studies, CLAS) and Kristy Hartsgrove-Mooers (Theatre Arts, CLAS)
  • Performance Studies — Jennifer Buckley (English, CLAS) and Kim Marra (Theatre Arts, CLAS)
  • Personalization Algorithms & Bias in Social Media — Tim Havens (Communication Studies, CLAS) and M. Zubair Shafiq (Computer Science, CLAS)
  • Place-Based Inclusion — Megan Gilster (School of Social Work, CLAS)
  • Scholarship of Public Engagement — Carolyn Colvin (College of Education)
  • Systems of Writing & Notation — Sabine Gölz (German, CLAS)
  • Translation in the Humanities — Aron Aji (Division of World Languages, CLAS) and Morten Schlütter (Religious Studies, CLAS)
  • UI Liberal Arts Beyond Bars College in Prison Program — Heather Erwin (School of Library & Information Science, Graduate College) and Kathrina Litchfield (Center for Human Rights)


  • The Comparative Ethnic Studies group launched a new digital journal, Addressing the Crisis: The Stuart Hall Project.
  • The Latino Studies group prepared for the 2019–20 Sawyer Seminar, Imagining Latinidades, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
  • Members of the Modes & Models of Facilitation group attended learning retreats in rural Minnesota, hosted by the Center for Courage & Renewal, and Chicago, Illinois, hosted by Sojourn Theatre.
  • Peformance Studies hosted a lunchtime discussion at Hancher with Lisa Schlesinger and her collaborators on the multimedia theatre piece Iphigenia Point Blank: The Story of the First Refugee.
  • Members of Translation in the Humanities spent the spring semester dedicated to the topic of “retranslation,” reading essays from speakers of the March 2019 UI symposium of the same name.