IPRH Research Clusters, 2016–17

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.

The following are the Research Clusters that have received funding from IPRH for the 2016–17 academic year.

Hiding in Plain Site: Seeing and Feeling the Everyday

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

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

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

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 Public History@UIUC website.

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

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.