Obermann Center 45th Anniversary Celebration, Featuring Keynotes by Joy Connolly & Antoinette Burton

May 6, 2024

05:00 PM

Hancher Auditorium, Cafe

141 Park Road, Iowa City, IA 52242

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Obermann Center house with "45 years" as caption

Please join the Vice President for Research at the Hancher Auditorium's Stanley Café at 5 p.m. on Monday, May 6 to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies. The event will feature guests Joy Connolly and Antoinette Burton, prestigious national leaders in the humanities and social sciences. All are invited to the reception afterward to celebrate this important anniversary and the Center’s outgoing director, Professor Teresa Mangum. 

Please RSVP to let us know you plan to attend.

The evening opens with two guests who have led the way in creating vision and infrastructure for experimental and multi-disciplinary research in the humanities. Joy Connolly, President of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and Distinguished Professor of Classics at the CUNY Graduate Center, will offer powerful strategies for “Future Proofing the Humanities.” Swanlund Endowed Chair of History Antoinette Burton directs the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she leads the Mellon-funded Humanities Without Walls initiative. The Obermann Center is one of 17 members in this consortium of humanities centers. Together, these leaders have had a transformative impact on humanities scholarship in the Midwest and nationally.

Kristy Nabhan-Warren, UI Associate Vice President for Research in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, and Teresa Mangum, Professor of Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies and English—and director of the Obermann Center since 2010—will then join Connolly and Burton for a lively roundtable conversation about their shared passions for the profound questions, sustaining value, lifelong discoveries, and rich communities at the heart of humanities scholarship, teaching, and learning.

The festivities will continue at a reception where we’ll toast the Obermann Center, the wonderful staff members at the Center, the many supporters and participants, and the outgoing director. 

The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies is an interdisciplinary research unit that supports the creative and scholarly work of faculty and graduate students from the University of Iowa and around the world. Actively serving 250­–300 scholars per year, the Center has a long tradition of supporting artists, scholars, social scientists, and scientists through programs that fund and facilitate seminars, symposia, working groups, and summer research teams. Nationally, the Center is regarded as a leader in animating interdisciplinary research, and both recent directors, Jay Semel and Teresa Mangum, have been regularly sought out as members of national advisory boards, as consultants, and as mentors for new center directors. On campus, the Center has been a champion not only of cross-disciplinary research, but also of publicly engaged arts and scholarship and other experimental practices and forms. The Center also prepares faculty members to share their creations and discoveries with audiences both inside and outside higher education. Under Professor Mangum’s leadership, the Obermann Center has attracted significant investment from the Mellon Foundation—receiving or hosting six Mellon grants since 2015, totaling over $3 million. As Director Mangum often observes with delight when artists, humanities scholars, social scientists, and scientists gather in the Obermann library to discuss an emerging wicked problem that demands cross-disciplinary collaboration, “The Obermann Center is the intellectual Switzerland of the University of Iowa.”

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact in advance at