IPRH Research Clusters, 2015–16

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 recieved funding from IPRH for the 2015–16 academic year.

Borders and Migration in the Americas

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.