CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY KENYON
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Nov. 20, 2002
UI professors participate in first Obermann Center Research Semester
Six professors from the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
are participating in the inaugural Obermann Center Interdisciplinary Research
Semester this fall. The competitively-selected participants are pursuing their
own research and meeting with each other to exchange ideas on the research
semester theme, "Sex, Economics, Politics: Sexuality as a Social Phenomenon."
Elizabeth Heineman, associate professor of history, submitted the winning
proposal for the topic and is serving as the convener. Other participants
are Florence Babb, professor of anthropology and women's studies; Maria Jose
Somerlate Barbosa, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese; Amy Butler,
associate professor of social work; Jane Desmond, associate professor of American
studies; and Gary Segura, associate professor of political science.
Heineman said the topic is of considerable contemporary importance. "At
a time when AIDS is a global health crisis, and when rape is employed as a
weapon in war and genocide, it is crucial that we understand the links between
sexuality, politics, and economics," she said. "This seminar gives
us an opportunity to study those links -- and to bring our new insights to
Jay Semel, director of the UI's Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, said,
"Bringing together this group of people who have similar interests, but
might not otherwise have known about each other's work is at the very heart
of what the Obermann Center is all about. The success of this new program
ultimately will be measured by the number of publications that have been strengthened
as a result of the interdisciplinary group interaction."
The program is funded through the C. Esco and Avalon L. Obermann Endowment
and the Office of the Vice President for Research and External Relations and
the Office of the Provost.
The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies is a place and a program dedicated
to scholarship. Accommodating up to 30 scholars each semester, the Obermann
Center provides an environment where scholars working individually or in collaboration
can reflect, write, and meet in easy interchange. The Obermann Center encourages
scholarly interaction to explore broad frontiers of knowledge and investigate
complex ideas and problems.