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University of Iowa News Release


April 17, 2007

UI American Studies Professor Receives Getty Foundation Fellowship

Nick Yablon, an assistant professor of American Studies in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has received a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship of $40,000 from the Getty Foundation, the philanthropic division of the J. Paul Getty Trust.

The Getty Fellowship is highly competitive. Only 15 such fellowships were awarded this year. Among the awardees were international recipients from France, Australia, Taiwan and England. Yablon will use the fellowship to complete his book "American Ruins: An Archaeology of Urban Modernity, 1820-1920," which is to be published by the University of Chicago Press in 2008-09.

Yablon studies the new kinds of spatial, temporal and sensory experiences that emerged with the rise of modern American cities in the 19th century. His current book project examines how those changing experiences found expression in the way people looked at ruins. With sources ranging from political cartoons and amateur photography to early science fiction, he shows how the steel and glass ruins of American cities were depicted and imagined as "modern ruins," distinct in appearance and meaning from ancient ruins of the "Old World."

"I am delighted that my project, which examines visual images as well as written texts, has received recognition from one of the world's leading research institutes in the visual arts," Yablon said. "This fellowship gives me precious time and funding to make further revisions to my book manuscript, and to carry out further research on topics covered in certain sections."

A UI faculty member since 2003, Yablon has taught a general education survey, "Understanding American Cultures," as well as undergraduate courses on the representation of cities, the literature and culture of the white-collar workplace and the experience of disasters in American history. He also teaches graduate seminars on American architecture and theories and fictions of money. Yablon will be on leave from teaching for the duration of the fellowship.

His published work includes "The Metropolitan Life in Ruins: Architectural and Fictional Speculations in New York, 1909-1919," (American Quarterly, June 2004), and "Echoes of the City: Spacing Sound, Sounding Space, 1888-1908" (American Literary History, forthcoming, 2007).

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu. Additional information is available on the Getty Web site at

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

CONTACTS: Program: Nick Yablon, 319-335-0320,; Media: Nicole Riehl, 319-384-0070,