Research Clusters

Research Clusters are groups of faculty and graduate students from the University of Illinois campus who work together to explore particular questions or subjects in the humanities and arts.

Learn more about Research Clusters.

2016–2017 Research Clusters

  • Hiding in Plain Site: Seeing and Feeling the Everyday

    Director
    Prita Meier, Assistant Professor, Art History, School of Art + Design

    In the digital age, we are constantly bombarded with images, text, and sound. How do these everyday encounters construct and/or disrupt our fields of vision? Hiding in Plain Site: Seeing and Feeling the Everyday hopes to facilitate new modes of thinking and ways of seeing in which we engage not only with banal imagery or representations as our subjects of study, but also question the ways in which our everyday activities are implicated within our scholarship. Organized by graduate students from the Art History department, we hope to facilitate a research cluster that attracts students from many of the visual disciplines and the humanities to participate in monthly reading and discussion groups, and a corresponding blog that will culminate in a graduate student-run symposium and art exhibition.

  • Interdisciplinary Cuban Studies Workshop

    Co-Directors:
    Ellen Moodie, Associate Professor, Anthropology
    Helaine Silverman, Professor, Anthropology

    The recent engagement between the US and Cuba coincides with an independent convergence of interests in Cuba among a diverse group of UIUC scholars. We propose an IPRH Research Cluster to facilitate an interdisciplinary taller or workshop focused on historical, literary, and cultural sources that will help us understand this moment of transition in Cuba. This yearlong forum will further our academic knowledge and encourage the development of our individual research goals in a potentially collaborative form.

  • New Directions in Queer Studies

    Co-Directors:
    Martin Manalansan (Associate Professor, Anthropology and Asian American Studies) 
    Chantal Nadeau (Professor, Gender and Women's Studies ) 
    Siobhan Somerville, Associate Professor, English and Gender and Women's Studies 

    The interdisciplinary research group on “New Directions in Queer Studies” will meet regularly to explore and discuss emerging scholarship in the field, to organize public events by prominent visiting scholars, and to present work in progress by the participants. Led by graduate students and faculty who are pursuing interdisciplinary research in queer studies focused on race, ethnicity, diaspora, citizenship, and migration, the group’s events will be open to all faculty and graduate students with an interest in the field.

  • Public History and Student Research

    Co-Directors:
    Daniel Gilbert, Assistant Professor, School of Labor and Employment Relations 
    Kathryn Oberdeck, Associate Professor, History

    Building on our accomplishments from the 2015-16 academic year, we will work to further nurture and institutionalize the practice of public history (and related student research) in our community. Our work will center on four projects: 1) serving as a meeting place and clearing house for local public history projects; 2) co-hosting a professional development workshop for K-12 teachers with the Illinois Labor History Society; 3) hosting Champaign County’s first “History Harvest” event; and 4) hosting a two-day symposium with guest speakers from other campuses’ public history centers.

    View Publich History@UIUC website.

  • Recovering Prairie Futures: Midwestern Innovation and Inter-disciplinary Digital Developments

    Co-Directors:
    Anita Say Chan, Assistant Professor, Media & Cinema Studies Department and Institute of Communications Research 
    Michael Twidale, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Library & Information Science

    For as varied and diverse as innovation developments have been in the Midwest — with the region hosting the first computing-centered industrial district prior to the rise of Silicon Valley — existing literature in the social and historical studies of technology has placed little emphasis on the region. This proposal requests a continuation of the Prairie Futures IRPH’s cross-disciplinary exploration into Midwestern innovation histories that are often overshadowed by those focused on dominant “centers” of computing (whether academic sites like MIT or Stanford, or regions like Silicon Valley). Our cluster has looked elsewhere other than dominant engineering centers, to shed light on inter-disciplinary digital developments in the Midwest — from educational and public computing to electro-acoustic and accessibility design –that bridged expertise from across social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, and humanities; and that can be overlooked, even when playing key roles in reshaping disciplinary imaginaries, global markets, and user practices.

2015–2016 Research Clusters

  • Borders and Migration in the Americasy

    Co-Directors:
    Gilberto Rosas, Associate Professor, Anthropology and Latino/a Studies 
    Mireya Loza, Assistant Professor, History and Latina/Latino Studies

    In collectively reading and analyzing a broad range of scholarship, the group seeks to move away from a conceptualization of borders as analytical margins of nation-states. Instead, we seek to re-imagine them as sites for cutting edge analyses of nation-states, governmentalities, migration, violence, gender, sexuality, and race, while developing a new vernacular for certain exhausted analytics.

  • Indigenous Languages in Diaspora

    Co-Directors:
    Jenny Davis, Assistant Professor, American Indian Studies 
    Ryan Shosted, Associate Professor, Linguistics

    Our research cluster explores the state-of-the-art in the scholarship associated with indigenous languages and their documentation. We explore how members of indigenous communities (the Chicago Indian community and the Urbana-Champaign Q’anjob’al community) negotiate their identity and establish status in urban and diasporic settings through the use of language. This entails a better understanding of the semiotics of indigenous language use and revitalization and includes issues of linguistic usage that can be documented using methods associated with descriptive linguistics and collaborative ethnography. Towards this collaborative goal, we hope to provide tangible benefits to the communities mentioned through production of / consultation in language revitalization materials.

  • New Directions in Queer Studies

    Co-Directors:  
    Martin Manalansan, Associate Professor, Anthropology and Asian American Studies 
    Chantal Nadeau, Professor, Gender and Women's Studies 
    Siobhan Somerville, Associate Professor, English and Gender and Women's Studies 
    Richard Rodríguez, Associate Professor, English and Latina/Latino Studies

    A year-long interdisciplinary research group on “New Directions in Queer Studies,” which will meet regularly to explore and discuss emerging scholarship in the field and to organize public events by prominent visiting scholars. Led by graduate students and faculty who are pursuing interdisciplinary research in queer studies focused on race, ethnicity, diaspora, citizenship, and migration, the group’s events will be open to all faculty and graduate students with an interest in the field.

  • Public History and Student Research

    Co-Directors:
    Daniel Gilbert, Assistant Professor, School of Labor and Employment Relations 
    Kathryn Oberdeck, Associate Professor, History

    This research cluster examines new directions in the field of public history. Our work begins in the fall 2015 with shared readings and explorations of local case studies, and culminate in three ways: 1) a public campus event featuring a lecture/ workshop by a leading practitioner of public history; 2) completion of draft guidelines for the practice of UIUC-sponsored public history projects; and 3) drafting grant applications, syllabi and other materials for cluster participants’ own public history research plans.

    View Publich History@UIUC website.

  • Recovering Prairie Futures: Midwestern Innovation and Inter-disciplinary Digital Developments

    Co-Directors:
    Anita Say Chan, Assistant Professor, Media & Cinema Studies Department and Institute of Communications Research 
    Michael Twidale, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Library & Information Science

    For as varied and diverse as innovation developments have been in the Midwest – with the region hosting the first computing-centered industrial district prior to the rise of Silicon Valley -- existing literature in the social and historical studies of technology has placed relatively little emphasis on the region. This IPRH Research Cluster grant proposal offers a cross-disciplinary exploration into the Midwest's layered innovation histories that have often been overshadowed by innovation narratives focused on dominant regions and centers of computing (whether academic sites like MIT or Stanford, or regions like Silicon Valley and Massachusetts' Route 128). This research collaboration adopts a distinct approach to innovation studies by looking elsewhere other than dominant engineering centers, to shed light on inter-disciplinary digital developments in the Midwest – from precision agriculture and rural big data processing, to educational and public computing, and electro-acoustic design – that necessarily bridged expertise from social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, and humanities; and that have frequently been overlooked, even as they have played roles in reshaping disciplinary imaginaries, global markets, and ecologies. We propose a strategy to develop a means to extend the research and pedagogical resources – both emerging and already existing – that can help support the greater visibility of such local, multidisciplinary histories around collaborative innovation.

  • Youth in Creative Cities (“Imagining America” Cluster)

    Co-Directors:
    Tyler Denmead, Assistant Professor, Art Education, School of Art & Design 
    Jennifer O’Connor, Coordinator, Art Education and Clinical Experience, School of Art & Design

    The purpose of this research cluster is to consider youth inequality in creative cities and microurban communities, and how the University of Illinois might expand publicly engaged scholarship in the arts and humanities in Urbana-Champaign to draw attention to, and address, this social problem. This group of faculty and graduate students will host regular meetings every three weeks, as well as one visit to the University of Chicago’s Arts+Public Life initiative and an invited talk from Professor Kim Yasuda. This proposed research cluster intersects with the public arts and humanities mission of Imagining America, and its co-directors will attend its annual conference. Learn more about this research cluster.

2014–2015 Research Clusters

  • Clutural Creativity

    Director:
    William Kinderman, Professor, Music and Germanic Languages and Literatures

    Not only the final outcome but also the process of creative endeavor has long attracted attention in various disciplines, but only recently has the potential of such research been seriously explored. This research initiative targets the topic of cultural creativity through an interdisciplinary approach, building on existing strengths of our faculty, especially in FAA and LAS, and will explore collaboratively this promising area of inquiry through seminars and lectures during the coming academic year.

  • Integrating Sports: Critical Approaches to Sport, Culture, and Performance

    Co-Directors:
    Adrian Burgos, Professor, History
    Scott Tainsky, Assistant Professor, Sport, Recreation, and Tourism

    The Integrating Sports research cluster aims to cultivate and support an interdisciplinary group of University faculty and graduate students whose work engages in the critical study of sports-related phenomena and, more specifically, in examining athletic performance on the field of competition as well as popular (cultural) understanding of those performances. This group will host regular meetings as well as organize two invited talks by critical sports studies scholars.

  • Leisurely Pursuits: Examining Kenyan Settler Cultures Through Play

    Director:
    Teresa Barnes, Assoc. Professor, History, GWS, African Studies

    In this project we will rely upon C.L.R. James’ analysis of sports in the Caribbean as a lens to consider the legacies of British settler colonialism in Kenya. In theorizing “play”, we will consider leisure as a social marker for larger cultural histories in Kenya. Broadly, we are interested in understanding how historical and contemporary ideas of race, class, gender, ethnicity, and religion operate within the history of leisure in East Africa and how these insights are a fecund site for new and on-going scholarship.

  • New Terrains: The Landscape Reviewed

    Director:
    Terri Weissman, Assistant Professor, Art History
    Graduate Coordinator:
    Laura Shea, PhD Candidate, Art History

    “New Terrains: The Landscape Reviewed” hopes to push reversionary concepts of re-claiming or re-constructing the landscape in visual practices and see how such theories actually work in re-forming our conceptions of what landscape is as materiality and does as an ever-expanding genre. Organized by the graduate students of the Art History Department, we hope to facilitate a research cluster that attracts students in many of the visual disciplines and the humanities through monthly reading and discussion groups and a corresponding blog that will culminate in a graduate student-run symposium and art exhibition. Through these activities, we aim to investigate processes of de-naturalizing and expanding the concept of landscape into bodily, virtual, and other terrains, but also welcome ideas that critique such popular artistic and social practices. Learn more at http://newterrains.wordpress.com/.

  • Queer Ecologies

    Co-Directors: Jennifer Monson, Professor, Dance; Samantha Frost, Associate Professor, Political Science and Gender & Women’s Studies

    This research cluster seeks to provide the occasion for faculty and graduate students to reconsider different accounts of ecology in conjunction with queer theory. More particularly, we will think about how insights and analytics in both queer theory and ecological theory might generate new approaches to ecological thought that move beyond its often heteronormative assumptions about reproduction and that destabilize its presumption of an effectively intentional subject.

view all (remove accordion)