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Release: Jan. 14, 2000

UI names American studies professor 2000 Global Scholar

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa has named Jane Desmond, an associate professor of American studies, the 2000 UI Global Scholar. Recipients of the Global Scholar award are released from half their usual teaching, advising, administrative and service obligations for two consecutive years. The award takes the form of a developmental assignment for one semester each year, part of which will be spent in one or more foreign countries.

Desmond is the sixth UI scholar to receive the award. The Global Scholars Program, which was initiated in 1995, is a faculty development program that grew out of the university’s strategic planning process. The strategic plan, Achieving Distinction 2000, recognizes that as a state university with national and international obligations, it is committed to understanding and contributing to global issues and trends. Up to two Global Scholar awards may be made annually for a total of four scholars in any given year.

As a Global Scholar, Desmond will analyze the intellectual practices of "American Studies" in a number of foreign countries including Germany, Poland, Japan and Vietnam, to develop a model of comparative American Studies.

"This research project grows directly out of my administrative experience as co-founder and co-director, with Virginia Dominguez of the International Forum for U.S. Studies. Working with foreign colleagues from around the world, I've become aware of the tremendous variety of scholarly work being done on the U.S. abroad, and of the need for U.S. scholars to understand that work and incorporate it into our own research for a richer, more global view of the United States," Desmond said. "I'm thrilled that the award will allow me time to pursue this research in a concentrated way and then to expand the teaching I currently do on comparative American studies."

Desmond's scholarly interests focus on issues of bodily display and social categorization, particularly in the areas of performance studies, feminist theory and cultural studies. She publishes on tourism, popular culture, the arts, and visual display.

Desmond has recently completed a book on tourism and live performance, "Staging Tourism: Bodies on Display from Waikiki to Sea World" (Chicago: 1999). Her focus is on the centrality of bodily display to the ideological structures of these industries. Drawing on past professional work in dance and film, she writes about related issues of performativity, embodiment, and visual representation across a wide range of venues, including theatrical dance, television, film, popular culture, and museums. She also serves as co-director of the International Forum for U.S. Studies and is active nationally and internationally in developing increased scholarly contact among American Studies scholars around the world.

She publishes in a wide range of fields across the humanities, including articles in journals such as "Signs," "Women and Performance," "American Quarterly," "Cultural Critique," "TDR: A Journal of Performance Studies," and many others. She is the editor of "Meaning in Motion: New Cultural Studies of Dance" (Duke University Press, 1997), and is currently editing a second book on dance called "Dancing Desires." She is also developing a new book project related to an international faculty seminar at the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, which she co-directed with Virginia Dominguez, called "1898: Sovereignty and Colonialism in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hawai'i, Guam and the Philippines, and their Impact on the U.S."