Previous Award Recipients Home

The Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Iowa is proud to present the recipients of the Arts & Humanities Initiative (AHI) grant program for 2013-2014.  The awards are designed to provide support for faculty who are preparing a publication or other scholarly work likely to make a significant impact on scholarship in the proposed field.   

Examples of previous successful AHI proposals are now available for downloading.  Sign in here with your Hawk ID and password to access.

Robert Bork
Robert Bork, Professor, Art & Art History
The Untold Story of Gothic Architecture's Demise
I propose to pursue research, scholarly travel, and architectural photography necessary for the completion of my latest book project, which concerns the demise of Gothic architectural culture in decades after 1500.  More specifically, I seek AHI monies for two purposes: to cover the purchase of a digital SLR camera for use in my travels; and to support a graduate assistant who can help me not only with scholarly research related to the book project, but also with associated administrative tasks such as image acquisition and editing.  AHI funding could thus contribute to my work as a graduate mentor, as well as to my scholarly development.  My current book project will make an important contribution to the study of art history, both by providing a new perspective on one of the most consequential but least understood transitions in the history of European art, and by revealing the ways in which Renaissance antipathy to late Gothic architecture introduced misleading narratives that shape the teaching and writing of art history even today.
William Davies
William Davies, Professor, Linguistics
Documenting the folk tales of the Baduy of Indonesia
The proposed project seeks funds for the video recording, transcription, and analysis of folk tales and historical narratives of the Baduy, a small indigenous group living in self-imposed seclusion in West Java, Indonesia. The project will be carried out in collaboration with faculty at Universitas Pendidikan in Indonesia. The folk tales will comprise a collection to be housed in the University of Iowa Digital Library and will consist of video performances of storytellers and accompanying transcripts of the narratives. I request funding in the amount of $7,500 for a travel, subsistence, and local assistance during a field trip to Indonesia to record and transcribe the narratives.
Armando Duarte
Armando Duarte, Professor, Dance
Dance, Samba and Carnival, the choreography of the Brazilian Schools of Samba Parades
Dance, Samba and Carnival is a book about the dance Samba and the Schools of Samba carnival parades in Brazil. The project is focused on a description of all choreographic aspects involved in these parades, from the early 20th century to the present. It began as an examination of the African-Brazilian Diaspora and the history of samba and carnival in Brazil. Further research led to an investigation of dance carnival elements, such as the Passistas, Mestres-Salas, and Porta-Bandeiras, among others. The central claim of this book focuses on presenting and describing these elements. In Brazil, I plan to access specific literature and video documentation, conduct interviews, and attend samba-related activities with visits to Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Salvador. The research and future publication will provide an original view of a world-wide, famous popular cultural expression. Moreover, it will secure further information to foster my current teaching and research at the University of Iowa.
Michael Eckert
Michael Eckert, Professor, Music
'Brazilian Dreams': a CD of compositions by Michael Eckert
The project is a compact disc recording of six compositions by Michael Eckert: four works for clarinet and piano to be recorded by Maurita Murphy Mead, clarinet, and Rafael Dos Santos, piano; a work for piano four-hands and a work for two pianos to be recorded by The Unison Duo (Du Huang and Xiao Hu, professors at Luther College). Most of the music is in the style of chôro, a genre of improvised ensemble music  cultivated in Brazil since the late 19th century.
Mary Lou Emery
Mary Lou Emery, Professor, English
Empire at Home:  Arts of the Interior and the Bungalow Modern
In this book project, I examine literary portrayals of a style of housing "the bungalow" that has circuited the globe over the course of more than four centuries, becoming an architectural emblem of modernity.  In 20th-century literature, the bungalow appears repeatedly as site of social tension and even violence; yet it calls forth nostalgic images of calm and settled, middle-class family life.  These contradictions speak to its deeper history as material support to imperial expansion, colonial settlement, and plantation economies.  The project contributes to a recent turn in literary criticism toward the study of material culture, an approach that has become increasingly important to understanding literary engagements with the material realities of everyday life.  Focusing on portrayals of the bungalow illuminates ongoing dilemmas of modernity:  the home and homelessness, freedom and dispossession, human culture and the natural environment.  I propose to complete two chapters, begin work on another, and prepare applications for external grants.
James Gibliln
James Giblin, Professor, History
Tracing the Roots of Democratic Culture in Africa: A Story of Dissidence from Tanzania
I seek AHI support for research in Tanzania during the summers of 2013 and 2014.  My research concerns a dissident politician who rose to prominence by leading resistance to colonial rule in the 1950s and was then banned from public life in 1968 because he opposed the creation of a one-party state.  I argue that his story raises fundamental questions about the nature of democracy in Africa.  I would use AHI support primarily for collecting oral histories.   The final product will be a book.

Naomi Greyser
Naomi Greyser, Assistant Professor, Rhetoric
Affect & Inquiry
As the organizing committee for the 2014 Obermann Humanities Symposium, we are applying for an AHI Conference Grant to request support for *Affect & Inquiry*, an exciting symposium that will take place March 27-29, 2014 at the University of Iowa.   Our objective is to examine how affect shapes knowledge production - from research to art and pedagogy, from public engagement and service to activism and collegiality - so that we can strategically enhance the creative potential of faculty, students, and artists.  Each of us inhabits and becomes personally invested in professions, disciplines, departments, and campuses.  Yet we often allude to the impact of these aspects of our working lives in informal discussions, rather than formally examining their causes and consequences.  Our conference engages participants in considering the lived experience of creating knowledge.  We ask, simply: what do people need to do their best work?
Lisa Heineman
Lisa Heineman, Associate Professor, History
Kindertransport: A Family History
Between December 1938 and August 1939, some ten thousand Jewish children from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia boarded ships for the British Isles as part of "Kindertransport," or Children's Transport. Most of the children never saw their parents again. Two of those who did were my father and his brother. Kindertransport: A Family History explores the interrelationship between intimate family relations and world-historical events along two tracks: a scholarly micro-history of emotion, and a work of historical fiction based on the PI's family history. The work combines oral history, archival research in at least five countries, and both scholarly and creative writing practices.
Sue Hettmansperger
Sue Hettmansperger, Professor, Art & Art History
Entanglement Series
Painting is a continually renewable fictive arena, seeking to extend and experiment with what is pictorially possible.  In recent years many painters have embraced the use of digital manipulation to open up a topologically complicated space that mirrors a hybrid twenty-first century world.  As an artist-painter I combine imagery from the internal human body with botanical form, manufactured objects, and digital distortion in order to invent new juxtapositions and arresting forms.  I consider this research a visual language, a reflection on and of the current cultural moment, as a hybrid entanglement of nature and culture. This project seeks to further explore the analog and the digital, collaging imagery in surprising ways, and creating a collision of unlike elements on the picture plane.  These emblematic visual configurations present the disjunctive ethos of our time, where boundaries between organisms are increasingly blurred and new visual territory is formed.  The series of seven paintings I propose will embody themes of digital and cultural production, and our problematic relationship to the natural world.  My work muses on environmental issues as some of the most vexing problems we face in an uncertain future.
Jennifer Iverson
Jennifer Iverson, Assistant Professor, Music
Contested Discourse: The Making of the Darmstadt Avant-Garde
My book investigates the discourses of the "Darmstadt School," a group of loosely affiliated composers who gathered for summer music courses in the 1950s and 1960s. Though their discourses are marked by disagreement and debate, I use archival research and analysis to show that the composers developed their conceptual and technical tools collectively. This book shows how the post-war European musical avant-garde depended on historical models and especially upon institutional support from radio stations and concert series. This grant will support travel and lodging for archival research at the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel, Switzerland.
Stephanie Jones-Rogers
Stephanie Jones-Rogers, Assistant Professor, History
She Thought She Could Find A Better Market: White Women, Enslaved African Americans and the Domestic Slave Trade
I am applying for the Arts and Humanities Initiative Standard Grant in order to complete archival research needed to finish a new chapter of my book manuscript. The book, which is based on my revised dissertation, is a regional study that dramatically reshapes our understanding of white women's economic relationships to slavery, how their investments in the institution shaped their gender identities and how these women impacted the lives of enslaved people throughout the nineteenth-century. My new chapter shows how some non-slave-owning women used their access to hired slave labor and their business relationships with slave traders to profit from, support and sustain slavery and the domestic slave trade. I will use the fellowship to revisit an archive in New Orleans, Louisiana, in order to gather data that will allow me to finish this chapter. The grant will thereby facilitate the timely completion of my manuscript and my progress towards meeting criteria for tenure.
Paul Kalina
Paul Kalina, Assistant Professor, Theatre Arts
Mask and Jazz Cultural Performance Project

Professor Paul Kalina requests funds to conduct a one-week creative intensive as part of an initiative to explore approaches to mask performance utilizing a new style of performance mask created by Italian artist Matteo Destro. Destro's work challenges the iconography of classical mask design, and embraces a new set of social stereotypes that engage rather than alienate modern audiences. The workshop will provide a laboratory to explore the unique power of Destro's new Primary Masks with the goal to reinvigorate the discipline.  The intensive will include Destro, Italian theatre director Paola Coletto, musician John Rapson (UI Jazz), as well as faculty and students from the Theatre and Dance Departments, and the School of Music.  The results of the intensive will be the basis for creating an original mask and jazz production to be debuted in the Department of Theatre Arts' 2014-15 season.

Sarah Kanouse
Sarah Kanouse, Assistant Professor, Art & Art History
National Cold War Monuments and Environmental Heritage Trail
The National Toxic Land/Labor Conservation Service (National TLC Service) is an interdisciplinary art/scholarly collaboration taking the form of a 'wishful' federal agency dedicated to the vigilant detection and continual exposition of the domestic effects of the American nuclear state and its military environments. Directed by Sarah Kanouse (School of Art and Art History, University of Iowa) and Shiloh Krupar (Program in Politics and Culture, Georgetown University), the National TLC Service satirically employs the rhetoric and aesthetics of government bureaucracy to perform a serious and deeply felt critique of U.S. militarism and the American nuclear state. Bringing together strategies of participatory art and public humanities, the Service seeks to foster discovery, dialogue, and debate about the ongoing consequences of atomic militarism, with particular attention to perspectives marginalized in dominant Cold War narratives.
Beginning in 2013, the National TLC Service will conduct a series of design charrettes to establish the speculative National Cold War Monuments and Environmental Heritage Trail. The charrette is a method used in design and planning professions that brings together stakeholders to collectively gather information, identify needs, and brainstorm solutions, in this case, to the question of how the Cold War might be memorialized in ways that neither present it as a closed chapter of US history nor overlook its ongoing environmental and human costs. These events are part of a larger project drawing on both interpretive/humanities methods and social practice/participatory art that will result in a book. The book will analyze the rhetorical, visual, and spatial strategies of existing Cold War commemorative efforts while exploring the experimental modes of memorialization generated though the design charrettes.
Ellen Lewin
Ellen Lewin, Professor, Gender, Women's & Sexualtiy Studies
Filled with the Spirit:  Reconciling Transgressive Sexualities and Traditional Spiritual Practices
This proposal requests funding to support my efforts to complete a book manuscript on the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, a US-based coalition of Pentecostal churches with a membership that is predominantly gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and African American.  I have been conducting ethnographic research at various Fellowship locations -- churches in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York, and national and regional conferences -- for the past four years.  I now have a contract with University of Chicago Press to complete a book, of which I have completed two chapter drafts and have two other chapters under way.  This summer I need to attend the Fellowship's National Convocation in Las Vegas both to gather more data and to report on the progress I have made.  I will spend the rest of the summer analyzing data and writing.
Robin Lillie
Robin Lillie, Skeletal Biologist, Office of the State Archaeologist
UI Press Book Submission
Multi-year archaeological excavation of over 900 nineteenth century burials from the abandoned Third Street Cemetery in Dubuque, Iowa, will result in a data-rich but technical report with limited distribution. The University of Iowa Press has expressed interest in publishing and widely marketing a  book-length narrative of the archaeology, skeletal analysis, and historic research that tells the life-story of the cemetery, its residents, and how the project impacted a community. Funding to support completion of the publication is requested.
Volkan Orhon
Volkan Orhon, Associate Professor, Music
Sonata transcriptions for double bass CD II
To fund the production of a double bass sonata transcriptions compact disc for commercial release. I have recorded Cesar Franck's Sonata for Violin and Edvard Grieg's Sonata for Cello with pianist Rose Chancler Feinbloom, a chamber musician and former faculty member at The University of Iowa School of Music. The recording will be published on the Centaur label.
Jeff Porter
Jeff Porter, Associate Professor, English
The Anatomy of Digression

"The Anatomy of Digression" examines the so-called wandering-mind syndrome that researchers claim results from our obsession with digital media. The aim of this book is to provide a context for current debates over the problem of attention deficit by exploring the literary history of digression. Rather than viewing the distractedness of digital culture as a unique and troubling development of information technology, this book shows that it is connected with the past and that, historically, distractedness has often been beneficial.


Leslie Schwalm
Leslie Schwalm, Professor, History
Critical Mass: Social Documentary in France
This book project offers a new perspective on the American Civil War as a transitional moment in American ideas about race.  Two converging developments created this moment: the modernization of American military and civilian medicine, and a new elaboration of what we might call racial knowledge--an evolving medical and scientific belief in racial categories of difference.  Post-emancipation medicine was recruited in service of firmer, more irrefutable racial categories even as emancipation ended the association of African descent with slave status.
Frederick Smith
Frederick Smith, Professor, Asian and Slavic Languages and Literature
Translation of Books 14-18 of the  Mahabharata from Sanskrit into English
Translation from Sanskrit to English of the last four "books" of the great Indian epic, the Mahabharata. This is the final section of the translation of the unabridged Indian epic commenced in the early 1970s by the late Professor J. A. B. van Buitenen of the University of Chicago. This will actually constitute the final half volume of a very large volume to be published by the University of Chicago Press in 2014 or 2015. The first half will be another long section that I have previously translated. This section will contain a long introduction, the translated text, annotations and notes to the Sanskrit text and the translation, and several appendixes, besides a bibliography and index.
Margaret Stratton
Margaret Stratton, Professor, Art & Art History
Cuba: Paradox in Paradise
Cuba: Paradox in Paradise, is a project that will result in an exhibition of narrative photographic panoramas that describe the economic and cultural paradigm shifts taking place in contemporary Cuba.  Because of Cubas longtime, controversial position in world politics, and photographys proclivity to abbreviate meaning, photographs of the country continue to facilitate radically different ideas about its people and culture. My large-scale, comprehensive photographic murals and accompanying website will both complement, and serve as counterpoint to, the myriad snapshots, vacation pictures, AP news photos, and fine art photographs that mold public understanding of Cubas post-Fidel society.  See work samples at (Vietnam).
H. Shelton Stromquist
Howard Shelton Stromquist, Professor, History
Social Democracy and the City: Class Politics and Municipal Reform in Comparative Perspective
Funding is requested to complete research for a book project, the writing of which is in its final stages.  The book is a comparative study of the municipal and local roots of the development of labor politics in the period 1890-1920 and challenges the existing historiography that focuses almost exclusively on the national political arena.  The book is based on extensive archival research in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, Austria, the UK and the US.  AHI funding will permit essential return visits to archives in The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and the UK to fill gaps that have become obvious during the writing of last chapters.

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