Category Archives: Arts & Culture

Jonathan Hollander, Thursday September 7, 2017

10686686_10153064077701410_5106998071599227401_n “Dance Diplomacy”

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Jonathan is one of the world’s outstanding choreographers, a man committed to international cultural exchange and social activism through dance. He is the Founder of Battery Dance and Dancing to Connect. Jonathan Hollander is the founder of Battery Dance, a group that teaches, performs, and advocates for the area of dance. Currently he serves as its President and Artistic Director.

In 1982, he created Downtown Dance Festival, New York City’s longest-running dance festival. Jonathan and his organization are very active in NYC’s public schools with the objective of reaching at risk youth and fostering a love of dance. His work has brought him to diverse locations such as Japan, France, Greece, India, Mongolia, Paraguay, Poland, Malaysia, Russia, and the Philippines. His work has been supported by the U.S. Department of State, the National endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Ford Foundation. Jonathan founded Battery Dance and Dancing to Connect to bridge divides, unite communities, empower youth, combat bullying and xenophobia. Jonathan will speak to how dance can ease conflict, breed trust and represent American values abroad.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Fall 2017, Past Events

Monica Correia, Wednesday May 3, 2017

Monica-Correia3“Exploring the World of 3D Design”

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Monica Correia will discuss the art of designing and detail the many sources of inspiration for her work. Themes will include the intersection of art, technology, and nature. Monica will demonstrate the power that organic forms have to evoke emotions and express the ephemeral qualities of movement seen in dance, music, and nature. She will detail her creative process and how she uses computer technologies to generate her design. The artistic freedom available through design will be demonstrated through Monica’s choice not to limit her work to preconceived forms, scales, or trends.

Monica Correia received Bachelors of Architecture degree from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Before Monica’s moving to the United States, she taught at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro School of Architecture. She also designed interiors for businesses in Brazil and Portugal. She received her MFA degree in 3D Design from the University of Iowa. She has had multiple exhibitions in London, Milan, New York City, and Ljubljana Slovenia. Her work has also been displayed at the “Salao Design Casa Brasil,” “Abiplast Design Award,” “Liceu de Design Award,” “The Skin of Corian,” the Krasl Art Center ArtLab, Chico Art Center, and the Moss-Thorns Gallery of Art, among others. Her work as Associate Professor and head of the 3D Design Program at the University of Iowa School of Art & Art History was awarded the “ICFF Editor’s Award for Best School” in New York City in 2015. With her students, she also received the “SOFA CNNECT” award for best design environment in Chicago for two consecutive years (2014/2015).

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Past Events, Spring 2017

James “Woody” Watson, Thursday April 20, 2017

“Culinary Nationalism: Fighting with Food”

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woody_headshotJames Watson was one of the first students to study Chinese at the University of Iowa, earning a B.A. in 1965, and received his Ph.D. in 1972 at UC Berkeley. He was, until his retirement in 2011, Fairbank Professor of Chinese Society and Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University. He also taught at the  University of London School of Oriental and African Studies and the Universities of Pittsburgh, Hawaii, and Houston. Together with Dr. Rubie Watson, he has conducted anthropological research in Hong Kong’s New Territories since the late 1960s. His publications include Emigration and the Chinese Lineage, Kinship Organization in China, Death Ritual in Chinese Society, The Cultural Economy of Food and Eating, and Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia. The Watsons’ current project is a jointly authored book entitled The Last Colony: Everyday Life in British Hong Kong, 1898-1997.

In an ever globalizing world, food still operates today as a way of expressing cultural distinction and nationalism. Through globalization, distinct culinary practices are being shared and exchanged in an international market, competing against one another.  James Watson will discuss the idea of Culinary Nationalism including the impact of rice, the global anti-GMO food movement, as well as “American” fast foods and food conglomerates. He will also share his insight into the effect food globalization will have on countries like China. Will China “eat our lunch in respect to food globalization?”

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Filed under Arts & Culture, China & East Asia, Past Events, Spring 2017

Masa Yamamoto, Thursday March 23, 2017

Masa Yamamoto 111_300“Bushido (Samurai Spirit) in Modern Japanese Culture, Sports, and Military”

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Masamichi “Masa” Yamamoto is a lawyer qualified in New York, an Adjunct Lecturer of Keio University Law School in Japan, and a former Deputy Director of the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission of Japan. He is currently enrolled in the S.J.D. program of the University of Iowa College of Law, focusing on his dissertation about international securities enforcement. He has an extensive background in both law and business, working for a Japanese company, U.S. law firms, a French company, and the Japanese government. He received his J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School and LL.B. and B.A. from Keio University.

Bushido is a code of moral principles that the knights (Samurai or Bushi) were required or instructed to observe. It is not a written code, but an organic growth of decades and centuries of military career. Although there are no more Samurai in Japan today, Bushido is deep-rooted in modern Japanese people in both positive and negative ways. Masa will describe how Bushido was born and developed and explain how Bushido has influenced modern Japan by illustrating recent issues in culture, sports, and military.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, China & East Asia, Past Events, Spring 2017

Tama Baldwin, Wednesday February 22, 2017

tama-baldwin-photo“Landscape in the Anthropocene: The High Arctic in the Time of Climate Change” 

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Tama will speak about the landscapes experienced though her work, which includes a book about wilderness civilizations, a collection of photographs of the far northern biome, as well as bodies of work on the absence of natural darkness and landscape as experienced at a high rate of speed. These photographed stories are derived from her experiences in the high arctic and the recent #NoDAPL movement. Her works have been exhibited in the Royal Photographic Society, the Los Angeles Center of Photography, and the Minneapolis Photo Center.  In the fall of 2015 she was an artist-in-residence at the Carpenter Ranch on the Yampa River as part of a collaboration between the Nature Conservancy and the Colorado Arts Ranch. Last December she documented the Standing Rock protests.

Tama Baldwin is a photographer and writer with degrees from Johns Hopkins University, Salisbury State University, The State University of New York and Ohio University.  She has received an Illinois Arts Council Individual Artists Fellowship, a Fulbright, as well as residencies at Yaddo, McDowell, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Environmental Issues, Past Events, Spring 2017

Corey Creekmur, Wednesday February 15, 2017

coreycreekmur“The Invisibility of Popular Indian Cinema in America”

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Why is what is often identified as the “world’s largest cinema” virtually unknown in the United States?  This presentation will consider some of the circumstances that have allowed popular Indian cinema (somewhat controversially labeled as “Bollywood”) to be neglected or invisible in America, despite its worldwide popularity.  The presentation will raise questions about the forms that globalization may take and not take in the international circulation of popular cinema.

Corey Creekmur is an Associate Professor of Film Studies (with appointments in English and Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies) at the University of Iowa.  His research and teaching interests include American and Indian cinema, American popular culture (including crime fiction and comics), and representations of gender and sexuality in popular media.  He serves on a number of local boards including Filmscene and he edits a book series on comics for Rutgers University Press.

More information on the films discussed in Corey’s presentation can be found here!

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Past Events, South Asia, Spring 2017

zp dala, Thursday October 20, 2016

picture1“Sister Wives: Female Comrades in South Africa’s Anti-Apartheid Struggles”

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South Africa’s long struggle to transcend Apartheid has been widely documented, both pre- and post-democracy (1994), with an enduring focus on figures such as the late Dr. Nelson Mandela and the late Dr. Walter Sisulu. Less well-known are the stories of the women comrades of the African National Congress, activists or loyal wives, or both, whose lives and losses have drawn too little notice. Such is the case with the personal story of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, “Mother of the Nation,” whose multiple arrests, extended time in solitary confinement, and torture at the hands of the governing National Party took an enormous toll. And there are many Winnies who built the history of modern South Africa. Author zp dala will explore their stories.

zp dala is a physical therapist, a psychologist, and a writer. Her first nove, What About Meera, won the 2015 South African Minara Debut Prize, was shortlisted for the Etisalat Literary Prize, and made the top 15 African Novels of 2015 list. A second novel, The Architecture of Love, is forthcoming in 2017. Her op-ed pieces have appeared in The Guardian and The New York Times.

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Filed under Africa, Arts & Culture, Fall 2016, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Women's Issues

Anna Barker & John Kenyon, Wednesday September 21, 2016

“Celebrating the City of Literature”

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Iowa City is the only “City of Literature” in the United States, and the Iowa City Book Festival will celebrate books and writing by leveraging the unique mix of local resources that helped earn that designation. The oldest creative writing program in the country, and is regarded as the best. With more than forty Pulitzer Prize winners from Iowa City, and featured program partners like the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop and International Writing Program, this years’ book festival celebrates the enigmatic academic culture found in Iowa City.

anna-barker-photoAnna Barker is an Assistant Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature. In addition to being involved with the book festival each year, Anna has taught courses in the English Department, in Cinema and Comparative Literature, in Asian and Slavic Languages, and in the Honors Program. This fall’s book festival public reading will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Crime and Punishment.

john-kenyon-photoJohn Kenyon is the Executive director of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization. John spent 20 years in journalism in the Corridor, most recently as editor of the Corridor Business Journal. He is a Des Moines native, graduate of the University of Iowa and currently lives in Iowa City.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Fall 2016, Past Events

Christopher D. Roy, Thursday September 1, 2016

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“Continuity and Change in the Political and Cultural Life of a Small West African Country”

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The Iowa City Foreign Relations Council presents an expert in the field of African art, Professor Christopher Roy. In his myriad of adventures throughout the past 45 years in Burkina Faso, he has observed a multitude of changes in the cultural life of the Burkina. Professor Roy will lead a discussion on how the Burkina culture reacted to bloodshed, change of governance and development.

Christopher Roy has been teaching about art and life in Africa at the University of Iowa for 38 years. He also teaches about the art of ancient Mexico, Native American art and the art of the Pacific Islands. For many years he served as Curator of the African collection at the University of Iowa Museum of Art, and was deeply involved with Maxwell Stanley and Elizabeth M. Stanley in the creation of the Stanley collection. He is currently teaching an online course on African Art that has an enrollment of 300 undergraduates.

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Filed under Africa, Arts & Culture, Fall 2016, Past Events, War & Conflict

Joan Kjaer, Tuesday April 26, 2016

Joan Kjaer“Preserving the Magic and Poetry of Havana: A Delicate Dance”

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Joan Kjaer directs the Communications and Relations unit of the International Programs at the University of Iowa.  She exercises strategic oversight and daily management of all facets of internal and external communications for the International Programs, international alumni relations, event management, and media engagement. Kjaer is the creator and host of the monthly television/ radio / internet program World Canvas, which features interdisciplinary discussions of international topics.  Before joining International Programs, Joan spent more than thirty years working in public radio as a classical music host, producer, program director and general manager of WSUI and KSUI, and was director of communications for the state network Iowa Public Radio.

Havana’s 500-year history lives in its mix of ancient and modern architecture: in the colonial fortress protruding into the bay, in the elegant urban design and architecture of El Prado, in the streets of El Vedado, a tree-lined district developed in the early 20th century to suit the tastes of Cuba’s economic elite.

Times are changing in Cuba, partly because of a new generation of Cubans pushing for greater engagement with the outside world and partly because of Obama administration’s historic re-calibration of the U.S. / Cuba relationship.  Although Cubans have been allowed to open small businesses, guest housing, and paladars (private restaurants), the economic and social changes that are likely to come are both anticipated and feared.  Uncertainty is the word of the day.

Havana is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the desire to revitalize the city has been on the minds and hearts of Cuban architects and urban planners for decades.  Kjaer’s recent experiences in Havana attending two international workshops based in the Master Plan for 21st Century Havana will be the focus of this talk.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016

Rachel Rose, Wednesday October 14, 2015

Picture1“Creating and Nourishing Community Through Poetry & Food”

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Food literacy is a growing concern for industrialized nations such as Canada and the U.S.  Today’s children are the first generation whose life expectancy is less than that of their parents.  According to the Harvard School of Public Health, sugary drinks such as soda “are the top calorie source in teens’ diets,” followed by pizza.  In Vancouver, a new citywide project is inviting writers of all stripes–new immigrants, students, and seniors—to focus their artistic attentions on their favorite local chefs, urban farmers, food bank workers, beer makers, bakers, café owners and beekeepers, by interviewing them, photographing them at work, and then writing poems about the experience, as well as poems about their own food legacies.  Rachel Rose will discuss how what we write and teach about food has broader implications for social well-being, and how these lessons might be transported to Iowa

Canadian poet and nonfiction writer Rachel Rose is a recipient of the 2013 and 2016 Pushcart Prize, and of the Pat Lowther Poetry Award and the Andre Lorde Poetry Award for 2013.  Her poetry books include Notes on Arrival and Departure and Song and Spectacle.  Her creative nonfiction essays have appeared in a number of anthologies, including Double Lives: Writing and Motherhood.  She regularly contributes to Malahat Review and Prism International.  She is participating in the International Writing Program’s Fall Residency Program courtesy of the British Colombia Arts Council and Canada Council.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Fall 2015, Past Events

Rochelle Potkar, Tuesday September 22, 2015

 9-22-2015 Rochelle Potkar photo“Putting Childhood Back into the Child: Rights and Realities of Children In India”

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Rochelle Potkar is the author of The Arithmetic of Breasts and Other Stories, and has three works in progress—a novel, a book of prose, and a book of poetry. Widely published online and in print, Rochelle is the co-editor of Neesah magazine, and an active member of Poetry Couture, which hosts poetry readings at cafes across India.

Her participation in the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program is made possible by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. The International Writing Program is the oldest and largest multinational writing residency in the world. In 2015, the IWP has brought together 34 of the world’s emerging and established writers to participate in the Fall Residency’s unique intercultural experience. Over the course of 10 weeks, aside from working on their own projects, writers will give readings and lectures that share their work and cultures, collaborate with artists from other genres, and travel and interact with literary communities across the United States.

The talk will be an overview of child rights in India, through the prisms of child education, nutrition, health, development, and protection.  What is it to be an underprivileged child in India?  Readings of real-life stories will explore how the world of grownups shapes the children of India and what can be done before these children grow up, bereft of a childhood, into equally fissured adolescents.

 

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Fall 2015, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events

Colleen Theisen, Thursday July 16, 2015

UI Main Library - Staff Photos, September 2012

“The International Magic of Chef Szathmary”

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When describing his life in 1985, famed chef, entrepreneur, writer, entertainer, and bibliophile Louis Szathmary began by saying, “I can’t recall a time I did not have books around me. My family in Hungary was rich in books, not money.” Arriving in the U.S. in 1951 with less than two dollars in his pocket he spent the next 45 years developing frozen foods for the Armour company, running the prestigious Chicago restaurant “The Bakery”, appearing on radio and television programs, and advocating for the culinary professions, all the while compulsively amassing a book collection spanning 37 rooms above the restaurant. “The collection never rests,” the chef stated. Collen Theisen will join us to discuss the famed chef’s life spanning the intersection of cuisine and collecting and the restless life of the collection here at the University of Iowa as it grows and lives on inspiring culinary life on campus, informing research pursuits, activating community participation, and delighting book lovers across the Internet today.

Colleen Theisen is the Outreach and Instruction Librarian for the University of Iowa  Special Collections. She coordinates the social media team including the UI Special Collections Tumblr, named “New & Notable” by Tumblr in 2013, and she directs and hosts the YouTube channel “Staxpeditions.” A 2015 Library Journal “Mover & Shaker,” Theisen holds an MS in Information from the University of Michigan, where she specialized in Archives and Records Management.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Europe, Past Events, Summer 2015

Leo Eko, Wednesday, April 29, 2015

bfb71e60-279c-4258-92f0-8edfeaf9bbe4“Publish or Perish: The Charlie Hebdo Terrorist Attack & Freedom of Expression”

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The January 2015 terrorist attacks  against French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, exposed the the acute tension between freedom of expression and respect for religious sentiments.  Newspapers around the world wrestled with the problem of whether to publish or not to publish the cartoons that ostensibly provoked the attacks.  After Charlie Hebdo published its now famous cover with Mohammed holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign, newspapers  in all continents were divided on whether to republish the newsworthy cover or not to republish it. Research shows that the decision to republish or not to republish the Charlie Hebdo cover depended on specific journalist cultures and contexts.

Before joining The University of Iowa, Leo Eko was an Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Media Law at the University of Maine. He has served as a journalist and producer at the African Broadcasting Union (URTNA) in Nairobi, Kenya, and at Cameroon Radio and Television Corporation. Professor Eko has produced several video documentaries on African topics. Three of them won honorable mention at festivals in Germany and Canada and are part of the holdings of several American and Canadian university libraries.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015

Ari Ariel, Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ariel Picture“Illustrating Impacts of Foods on Identities & Migration: The Hummus Wars”

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Some Middle Eastern nations are bringing the classic concept of ‘food fights’ to a new level—the Guinness World Records have inspired intense competition to craft the world’s largest dish of hummus, attempts have been made to trademark this Levantine delicacy which has captured hearts and stomachs around the world, and calls for boycotts of nationalized food-producing enterprises have politicized the consumption of this modest yet peerless dish. Dr. Ariel will join us for a meal of hummus, falafel, and other Middle Eastern favorites from Iowa City’s very own Oasis while he discusses these “hummus wars” and legacies of food as an arena for both international conflict and coexistence.

Ari Ariel, a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Iowa, received a Ph.D. degree from Columbia University, an MA from Tel Aviv University, a BA from the City College of New York, and a Diploma in Classical Culinary Arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York. He studies ethnic, national, and religious identities, migration, and ‘foodways’—the intersection of food in culture, tradition, and history—particularly in Middle Eastern Jewish communities.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Past Events, Spring 2015, The Middle East

Kelsey Frisk, Thursday, February 12, 2015


Frisk pic 1“Indigenous Struggles: 
A Sámi Perspective”

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The Finno-Ugric Sámi people of northern Norway, Sweden, and Finland are the only indigenous population to be recognized and protected in Scandinavia. Sámi people have inhabited Fenno-Scandinavia for over ten thousand years. But the combined forces of climate change, technology, increased industrial activity, and land-loss have led to a large shift in the traditional Sámi diet, lifestyle, and mental health status. Kelsey will discuss the impacts of these changes on the somatic and psychosocial health of reindeer-herding Sámi and ways in which these changes may shape their future.

Kelsey Frisk is a fourth-year undergraduate Honors student with the Interdepartmental Studies major.  She studies global health with a strong interest in the health and human rights of indigenous populations. She recently received a Stanley Award for International Research to study perceptions of health among the Sámi people in northern Sweden from January—July 2014.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Europe, Past Events, Spring 2015

Alan Riach, Thursday, October 2, 2014

pciture“Reflections on Scottish Literature, Nationalism, Referendum, & Recent Elections”

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The distinction of Scotland in literary identity was claimed in the 1920s by Hugh MacDiarmid as the rebuilding of political sovereignty in the country. Now, almost a hundred years later, the independence referendum focuses our attention on the relations of artistic exploration and political unrest. The relation between artistic exploration and political unrest has been apparent throughout the history of a democratic United Kingdom, in which the voting citizens of Scotland have been regularly disenfranchised.  Professor Riach will discuss the relations between cultural production civic government and social discourse, and their ramifications in a dialogue of Scottish national identity

Alan Riach is Professor of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, working in the fields of 20th century Scottish, Irish, American and post-colonial literatures, modern poetry, and creative writing. His critical writings have appeared in numerous books and journals internationally. Alan was Associate Professor of English and Pro-Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. He studied English at the University of Cambridge as an undergraduate, and then received his Ph.D. in Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Europe, Fall 2014, Past Events

Ana Merino, September 2, 2014

Photo Credit: Daniel Mordzinski

“Graphic Novels and Comics in Spain & Latin America”

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A nation’s culture is often characterized by the history, politics and literature it creates.  Within literature, many overlook comic books and graphic novels as a key ingredient to cultural development.  When their presence is noted, comics are still often seen as a uniquely American phenomenon.  However, comics are have become an integral part of cultures around the globe.  In this presentation, Ana Merino reflects on the importance of comics in the Hispanic World and the ways comics represent culture and ideology.

Ana Merino is an Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at the University of Iowa, specializing in Creative Writing. She also works on Comics and Graphic Novels Criticism, Testimonial Representations and theories of Childhood Poverty and Marginality. She has published seven books of poetry, a youth novel, a scholarly book on comics and numerous articles and essays. Her poetry has been translated to several languages and it’s included in more than twenty collections.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Fall 2014, Past Events

Robin Hemley, July 22, 2014

Hemely pic 2“Exporting American Universities, MOOC’s and Yale in Singapore”

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Exporting American universities—including the University of Iowa and others through MOOC’s—holds considerable fascination today. Robin Hemley will talk about his newest employer, Yale—NUS, Singapore’s first liberal arts college. He will share his thoughts and experiences with this new and exciting venture.

Robin Hemley holds a Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature from Indiana University in 1980, and subsequently earned a MFA in fiction in 1982.   Hemley is the recipient of Guggenheim Fellowship and others from the North Carolina Arts Council, the Ohioana Library Association, and the Washington State Arts Council. Beginning in 2004, Hemley served as the director of the Non-fiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Many of Hemley’s works have been published domestically and overseas, and has been included in publications including The New York Times, Orion, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, and New York Magazine. Most recently, Hemley lives in Singapore and serves as the Director of the Writer’s Centre at Yale University Singapore.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, China & East Asia, Education, Past Events, Summer 2014

Christopher Merrill, May 7, 2014

Merrill pic

“Reading Walt Whitman in Tehran”

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Christopher Merrill will discuss the University of Iowa’s first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), which he co-developed with Whitman scholar and Roy J. Carver Professor of English Ed Folsom. The course covered Walt Whitman’s famous poem, Song of Myself, and ran for six weeks. In addition, Christopher is an ambitious world traveler, and has conducted cultural diplomacy missions in over 40 countries. He enjoys spreading and sharing the wisdom of Walt Whitman. Christopher Merrill is the Director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He is the author of multiple works of nonfiction, several edited volumes, and six collections of poetry. He led the initiative which resulted in Iowa City becoming a UNESCO City of Literature. He serves on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO. In 2012, President Barack Obama appointed Merrill to the National Council on the Humanities.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Past Events, Spring 2014, The Middle East