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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 26, 2004

Iowa Project On Place Studies To Hold Symposium On Place March 5

As we move through life, we are always trying to find our "place," whether it is within a group of friends, as a member of a family or a resident in a community. We don't often think of our place in relation to the rest of the world, but truly finding our place involves understanding global ecosystems and economics just as much as the local landscape and community history.

In its second annual Symposium on Place, the Iowa Project on Place Studies will coordinate an afternoon of discussion on issues related to place and how important it is to consider place in the context of global understanding. The symposium runs from 12:30 to 5 p.m. on Friday, March 5 in the South Room of the Iowa Memorial Union. It is free and open to the public with no registration required, and refreshments will be served.

Now in it's second year, the Iowa Project on Place Studies (IPOPS) is an interdisciplinary group of University of Iowa faculty and staff who study the concept of place and its manifestations worldwide and who foster collaborative projects with local, state, and regional communities.

Thomas Dean, one of the IPOPS coordinators and an adjunct assistant professor of literature, science and the arts, said that in its first year, the group has visited Charles City, to learn about historical preservation activities, and Grinnell, to visit the "Roots of Renewal" art exhibit. The group also was a co-organizer of the 2003 International Writing Program Festival: "Literature and Landscape."

Dean said the goal for the symposium is to begin to define the parameters of place studies and brainstorm ideas for further study and activities.

"An integrated understanding of our environments plays an important role in many areas of study today-environmental studies, geography, literary studies, history, social sciences-in fact, almost all disciplines," he said.

Faculty from a number of disciplines -- including urban and regional planning, English, and art -- will participate in the symposium. Plenty of discussion time is built into the schedule, and interested participants may attend all or part of the program. Dean suggests that taking in the whole program will provide an excellent sense of the spectrum of what place and place studies are all about.

The Iowa Project on Place Studies is planning a number of future activities. The group's primary goals are to encourage and support collaborations among faculty, staff, and students in place studies; to provide programming for the campus and general public; and to provide service and outreach that help develop a sense of place and strong communities.

The symposium is sponsored by the UI Office of Corporate Partnerships. Anyone interested in learning more about the March 5 symposium or about IPOPS itself should contact Dean at,, 319-335-1995.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Thomas Dean at 319-335-1995.

Iowa Project on Place Studies "Symposium on Place" Schedule:

12:30-1:15 p.m.
Theorizing "Place"
-- Thomas K. Dean, special assistant to the President, adjunct assistant professor of literature, science, and the arts

1:25-2:25 p.m.
This Place: Local and Regional Studies
-- "Concepts of the Land: Johnson County, 1850": Cornelia Mutel, historian and archivist, IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering
-- "Utopian Visions for a Small World": Jim Throgmorton, associate professor of urban and regional planning

2:35-3:35 p.m.
Other Places
-- "Urban Folkways, City Survival: Sustaining New Orleans": Barbara Eckstein, associate professor of English
-- "Where the Great Gatsby Earned His Bars and Muhammad Ali Learned to Fight: Planning for a Place Called Louisville": Jim Throgmorton, associate professor of urban and regional planning

Stretching the Boundaries of Place: The Road as Place
-- "A Place on the Highway": Lyell Henry, emeritus professor of political science, Mount Mercy College
-- "Human Power Utility Vehicle: Composing Place By Cycling": Steve Thunder-McGuire, associate professor of art and art history

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, Program: Thomas Dean, 319-335-1995,