Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities announces spring 2019 research, symposium grants

By Tina Rice and Paula Van Brocklin, Office of the Vice President for Research

The Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities (CEAH) recently announced that 10 Iowa State University arts and humanities scholars are the spring 2019 recipients of its research and symposium grants. Eight faculty received research grants, and two earned symposium grants.

“These grants are like seeds that help Iowa State’s arts and humanities scholars grow their diverse and outstanding research efforts,” said Carlton Basmajian, CEAH director. “CEAH is pleased to help fund their scholarly endeavors.”

Spring 2019 Research Grants recipients

Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco (Architecture), “A Case Study in Housing Rights in Mexico”
Santoyo-Orozco will continue her ongoing research into the architecture of housing rights in the Global South. She will examine how the social promise of housing as a constitutional right is fulfilled through state-administered credits and the impact this form of delivery has had in the production of urban space in several paradigmatic localities in Mexico.

Charissa Menefee (English), “Hertha’s Arc: An Electric Life”
Menefee will research and write a new stage play, “Hertha’s Arc: An Electric Life.” She will dramatize the life of inventor, mathematician, physicist and engineer, Hertha Marks Ayrton. Menefee’s play will present Ayrton’s contributions to science, her involvement in the British suffrage movement, her advocacy for women and her unwavering commitment to new research. This play is part of Menefee’s ongoing research and creative agenda that focuses on dramatizing the lives of historical and contemporary women.

Cason Murphy (Theatre), “Play On! Scholar-on-Site (Phase One)”
Murphy will serve as a “scholar-on-site” for “Play On!,” a project launched by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to translate the 39 plays attributed to Shakespeare. He will assist in the creation and generation of pre-festival materials for audience and playwrights, and he will research and develop an electronic platform that would allow audience members to provide real-time feedback and documentation of their attendance during the festival.

Andrew Somerville (World Languages and Cultures), “Reconstructing the Social Organization of the Pre-Hispanic Caxcan People of Northwest Mexico”
Somerville will investigate the social organization of the pre-Hispanic Caxcan people by studying excavated cemetery contexts from the archaeological site of Cerro del Teul in southern Zacatecas, Mexico. His project will focus on reconstructing aspects of Caxcan society by studying the 80 human burials that were recently excavated by an ongoing project led by Mexican archaeologists.

Jennifer Drinkwater (Art and Visual Culture), “The What’s Good Project: Finding Evidence for Hope”
Drinkwater will creatively archive community assets in 10 Mississippi Delta counties through a series of drawings and paintings. She will visit the counties and engage with local residents to understand and convey the positive aspects of where they live. After capturing these conversations and interviews on-site, Drinkwater will transform each of these stories into a series of visual artwork. The project will be exhibited within each county and nationally.

Julie Courtwright (History), “Windswept: A Great Plains History”
Courtwright will write a complete first draft of her book manuscript, Windswept: A Great Plains History. It will be a monograph, the second volume of her planned trilogy called “Beyond Earth” that examines the environmental history of the Great Plains. It will demonstrate that wind has always been of critical importance on the Great Plains, long before giant wind turbines made their appearance.

K.L. Cook (English), “The Sites of Trauma Tour: A Memoir-in-Essays”
Cook will write a memoir which probes the relationship between personal suffering and tragic literature. Exploring what Cook calls the aesthetics of suffering, “The Sites of Trauma Tour” is not only a memoir but serves as a manifesto for the value of tragic art, arguing that literary tragedy is a radical antidote that transforms suffering and trauma into the sublime, increases one’s resilience and capacity for empathy, and provides the deepest source of wisdom and solace, especially during periods of both personal and global threats to our existence.

Rachel Meyers (World Languages and Cultures), “Searching for Benefactors in Ancient Roman Tarraco”
Meyers will research the practice of benefaction in the ancient Roman city of Tarraco in northeast Spain. She will employ a methodology informed by the expression of local identity and question the traditional assumption that benefaction is found primarily in the most urbanized locations. Through a close examination of Latin inscriptions and archaeological remains, this study brings attention to Tarraco, which was an urbanized center yet provides little evidence for civic munificence.

Spring 2019 Symposium Grant recipients

Kimberly Zarecor (Architecture), “Learning from Socialism: Alternative Modernities in the Second World”
Zarecor will organize a conference to interrogate many assumptions about the successes and failures of state socialism that emerged in the post-Cold War era. The event will bring together a group of world-renowned experts on the history and preservation of the built environments of global socialism to explore how knowledge about the Second World can have relevancy to contemporary life. Through panels, roundtables, film screenings and an exhibition, participants will be challenged to think about alternative models of modernity that existed outside of western capitalism and how such societies addressed issues that remain urgent today, such as income inequality, homelessness and environmental degradation.

Brad Dell (Theatre), “HERoic: Gender Equity in the Arts”
Dell will organize a year-long symposium series in conjunction with the 2019-20 ISU Theatre season, which will celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage. The symposium series will bring to campus local, regional and national artists and scholars who will collaborate with faculty, staff and students on productions and engage the campus and local community on issues of gender parity and representation through a series of keynote lectures, panel discussions and master classes.

Call for fall 2020 proposals

CEAH will seek its next round of research and symposium grant proposals during fall semester 2019. Stay tuned for more details.

About CEAH

CEAH’s mission is to develop programs that strengthen the impact and visibility of Iowa State’s arts and humanities research and to provide internal grant support for arts and humanities faculty. CEAH also organizes events and seminars on arts and humanities topics.