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Release: April 3, 2000

UI Obermann Center awards $50,000 in research grants

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Obermann Center for Advanced Studies has awarded a total of $50,000 in Interdisciplinary Research Grants to 10 researchers who will collaborate on four projects this summer.

The program provides summer stipends for interdisciplinary scholarship undertaken at the Obermann Center by UI faculty and staff members working in collaboration with one another or with researchers from other institutions. Each collaborator must demonstrate a particular disciplinary contribution to the project. The program is supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research and by the Graduate College.

"Interdisciplinary scholarship is an area of strategic importance at the UI, and the Obermann Center is a critical focus and facilitator of such scholarship," said David Skorton, UI vice president for research.

This year's projects and researchers include:

"Building a Virtual Theatre," by Alison Ford, a UI associate professor of theatre arts, Barbara Zilles, a computer consultant at the UI Advanced Research Computing Resources, and Steve Beck, a project manager at the UI Image Analysis Facility. The team will build a computer model of the David Thayer Theatre, one of the most frequently used theatres on the UI campus.

"History Telling at the Kitchen Table: Private Joseph Shields, WWII and Mother-Centered Memory," by Robert Jefferson, a UI assistant professor of history and African-American World Studies and Angelita Reyes, an associate professor of Afro-American and African Studies at the University of Minnesota. The pair will study the links between gender, race, class, generation, and history in a family's recollection of a homicide of a young African-American soldier during World War II.

"Revealing the Unseen Economy: Articulating and Valuing Unpaid Contributions to Care," by Claire Pavlik, a UI assistant professor of geography, Rose Marie Friedrich, a UI associate professor of nursing, and Sheila McGinnis, a visiting assistant professor of health policy and management. The team seeks to articulate, inventory, and assign value to the tasks associated with unpaid caregiving by families of persons with severe and chronic mental illness.

"Transactional Cognition in Music: Common Dimensions of Aural and Tactile Experience," by Carlos Xavier Rodriguez, a UI assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, and Gunter Kreutz, a professor at the University of Frankfurt in Germany. The pair will analyze and compare the American and German results of a study of the capacity to understand or communicate artistic ideas in both aural and tactile domains.

Jay Semel, director of the Obermann Center, said that earlier projects funded by the center have resulted in numerous jointly-written articles and books, as well as grants totaling more than $2 million from federal and foundation sources including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education. Recent publications have focused on health care reform in Russia, on gravity and string symmetries, on preserving confidentiality of health data, and on sports and the moral order.