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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 14, 2005

UPDATE: The April 3 discussion has been rescheduled for Sunday, May 8 at the Iowa City Public Library

YAH Discussion Series Connects Arts, Humanities With Politics, Science, Economy

The arts and humanities have a profound influence on all aspects of our daily lives, sometimes in the least obvious places -- laboratories, Wall Street and even within the walls of Congress. "Intersections," a discussion series sponsored by the Year of the Arts and Humanities (YAH), will explore the interplay between the arts and humanities and politics, science, and the economy. All three discussions are free and open to the public.

The first discussion in the series, "The Arts and Humanities & Politics," will be held Friday, Feb. 18 at 3:30 p.m. in Meeting Room A, Iowa City Public Library. Participants include Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa), Joel Barkan, UI professor of political science and Harry Stecopoulos, UI assistant professor of English. Joan Kjaer, interim director of broadcasting services with WSUI/KSUI public radio, will moderate the discussion.

Organizers said the series would shed light on the broader implications of a "Life of Discovery," which has been a theme of the YAH.

"We want to take advantage of some of the most talented thinkers on campus and in the community, giving them a forum to engage in a high level conversation," said Christopher Merrill, YAH co-chair and director of the International Writing Program. "The connections they forge will give us a deeper understanding of how arts and humanities shape political life and how political life is in turn shaped by the arts and humanities."

The same will be true of the second and third discussions, focusing on science and the economy, respectively, Merrill said.

"It is sometimes thought that the arts and humanities are not central to life, that they take place on the margins," he said. "We need to understand their centrality to what we take to be most important--politics, science and the economy. Indeed the arts and humanities shape our understanding of the world in conversation with these other disciplines."

Following this week's discussion of "The Arts and Humanities & Politics," the series will continue in April with the following discussions scheduled:

Sunday, April 3, 4 p.m., "The Arts and Humanities & Science"
Shambaugh House (430 N. Clinton St.)

  • Robin Davisson, associate professor of anatomy and cell biology
  • Debra Pughe, adjunct instructor, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies
  • Susan White, assistant professor of art and art history

Sunday, April 17, 3:30 p.m., "The Arts and Humanities & the Economy"
Meeting Room A, Iowa City Public Library

  • Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld, associate professor of anthropology
  • Judy Hurtig, artistic director, Hancher Auditorium
  • Chuck Swanson, executive director, Hancher Auditorium
  • Jesse Elliott, a UI graduate and founding member of The James Gang, a non-profit organization focusing on projects that link creativity and service

UI President David Skorton's determination to increase public awareness and support of the rich tradition of arts and humanities on campus and throughout Iowa led him to declare academic year 2004-2005 the Year of Arts and Humanities, a time to celebrate that rich tradition and forge cultural linkages between the academic community and communities around the state. The YAH is supported by the  Office of the President, the Office of the Vice-president for Research and the Graduate College.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,