IPRH: Latest News

  • 3/16/2018

    Deadline: Friday, March 30th

    The IPRH-Mellon Bio-Humanities Research Group is looking for undergraduate students to participate in the 2018 Undergraduate Bio-Humanities Symposium.

    This symposium will be will be part of the campus wide Undergraduate Research Week (URW) taking place the week of April 15-21, 2018. We invite you to adapt the research presentation you will already be making for the URW so that you can engage in a thoughtful interdisciplinary conversation with other undergraduate researchers. Our particular symposium is scheduled for the early afternoon of Friday, April 20th in the lecture hall on the 4th Floor of the Levis Faculty Center and will include a free catered lunch.

    We are IPRH-Mellon Undergraduate Interns working with Prof. Samantha Frost to explore how working with the life sciences and the humanities together can give us rich insights into questions about human experience. In our particular project, we examine the biological and cultural dimensions of time. We are particularly interested in what happens when the varied directions and paces of cultural and biological time come into conflict or are in tension with one another.  At the symposium to which we invite you, we will be presenting our research on what these tensions and conflicts might mean for the ways that humans experience social and cultural life.

    We would like you to participate in a panel discussion in which you consider how your current project relates to similar questions about time and temporality, whether in a cultural, psychological, biological, or other domain. Please note, we are not asking students to create a new project. Rather, we would like you to participate in our multi-disciplinary research using insights from your current research projects. We hope that by encountering researchers from different fields talking about a similar topic, everyone will gain a greater appreciation for the insights acquired through interdisciplinary research. 

    If you are interested in participating, we would like to receive your response by Friday, March 30th. Please send a 300-word abstract of your current research project, including a short description of how you envision connecting your research to the questions concerning of time and temporality that orient our own project. Please send this abstract, as well as any questions, to:

  • 3/15/2018

    IPRH is pleased to announce its first cohort of Training in Digital Methods for Humanists (TDMH) Fellows. This pilot program, funded by the Investment for Growth Initiative of the Offices of the Provost and the Vice Chancellor for Research, is designed to equip mid-career humanities scholars with the digital tools, computational methods and technological expertise they need to catch up with or keep abreast of changes in scholarly research, teaching, publication and communication. Each fellow will receive a two-course release to pursue courses and training in digital methods on campus and will have resources to attend summer workshops as well. There will be two more cohorts of fellows subsequent to this inaugural year, culminating in a summer 2021 conference that will showcase the fellows’ experiences and accomplishments.


    The inaugural 2018-19 IPRH TDMH Fellows are:

    Ruth Nicole Brown (Education Policy, Organization & Leadership / Gender and Women’s Studies)

    Anita Say Chan (Media and Cinema Studies)

    Faranak Miraftab (Urban and Regional Planning)

    Kathryn Oberdeck (History)


    The fellows will be guided by the TDMH Working Group, 2018-19, for whose expertise IPRH is most appreciative:

    Maria Bonn (iSchool)

    Kevin Hamilton (Art + Design)

    Bonnie Mak (iSchool)

    Christopher Prom (University Library)


    IPRH is also pleased to welcome Carolyn Randolph, who joins our staff as the Project Manager for the TDMH program. Dr. Randolph, who earned her PhD from Media and Cinema Studies in 2016 and has been working with the Champaign County Racial Justice Data Portal, will work with the Fellows and the Working Group to support the goals of the TDMH program. Please do greet her the next time you find yourself at IPRH.


  • 3/2/2018

    The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has awarded its annual Faculty and Graduate Student Fellowships to seven faculty members and seven graduate students from the campus for the 2018–19 academic year, which will center on the theme of “Race Work.” IPRH also announces 2018 Ragdale Residential Creative Fellowship. Ragdale Fellowships offer creative practitioners four weeks of residence at Ragdale’s non-profit, interdisciplinary artists’ community.



    IPRH Faculty Fellows, 2018–19

    Andrea Stevens, English: “Racial Masquerade and the Caroline Court, 1625–1649”

    Verena Höfig, Germanic Languages and Literatures: “Vikings, Vinland, and White Nationalism”

    Maryam Kashani, Gender and Women’s Studies / Asian American Studies: “Kinship by Faith: Race, Displacement, and Islam in the Bay Area”

    Natalie Lira, Latina/Latino Studies: “‘Low Grade Mexican Mentality’: Race, Disability, and Sterilization in California Institutions for the Feebleminded,1920s–1950s”

    Rini Bhattacharya Mehta, Comparative and World Literature / Religion: “Mens Hierarchicus: Race’s Intellectual Labor and the Global Right”

    Krystal Smalls, Anthropology / Linguistics: “The Pot and the Kettle: Young Liberians and the Semiotics of Anti/Blackness in the Making of Contemporary Black Diaspora”

    John Murphy, Communication: “Protean Texts of Civil Rights: Baldwin, Hamer, and King”


    IPRH Graduate Student Fellows, 2018–19

    Rea Zaimi, Geography and Geographic Information Science: “Afterlives of Disinvestment: Vacancy and the Devalued Labor of Revitalization in Chicago”

    Marcelo Boccato Kuyumjian, Music: “Performing Samba: Aesthetics, Transnational Modernisms, and Race”

    Heather Freund, History: “Loyal Subjects or Internal Enemies?: Reconsidering ‘newly adopted subjects’ in the British Caribbean, 1763–1797”

    John Marquez, History: “Freedom’s Edge: Slavery, Manumission, and Empire in Rio de Janeiro, 1761–1808”

    Juan Suarez Ontaneda, Spanish and Portuguese: “Mobilizing the Stage(s): Race, Gender, and Performance in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru (1940–2000)”

    Erica Melko, English: “Literatures of Decolonial Love: Intimacy and the Colonial Entanglements of Race and Indigeneity”

    Megan White, History: “Rice Empires: Japanese rice, the USDA and the Inter-Imperial Development of the Gulf Coast Rice Industry, 1880–1924”



    Carlos R. Carrillo (Music) will spend his Ragdale residency working on a music composition titled Baquine. The piece will be a cantata for voices, two saxophones obbligato and orchestra. The vocal parts will include a solo female voice and a children’s choir and will have an approximate duration of 30-35 minutes. The baquine is an ancient tradition practiced in Puerto Rico and other parts of the Americas in which the death of a child is not received with a mournful ceremony but rather with a celebration, as the child, according to their belief, has now become an angel. The tradition fell into disuse due to medical advances which lowered the child mortality rate.


    Please join IPRH in congratulating this newest cohort of fellows!

  • 2/13/2018

    Illinois has selected 17 proposed projects to receive a total of more than $11 million with an aim to generate new sources of revenue. The new initiative, Investment for Growth, is an effort to develop sustainable budget models that create alternative and additional sources of revenue and allow the university to deliver on its academic missions.  Read more about the Investment for Growth initiative.

    One of the funded projects was IPRH's Training in Digital Methods for Humanists. This program is a mid-career faculty development initiative akin to “study in a second discipline.” It is designed to confront the challenge of equipping humanities scholars with the digital tools, computational methods, and technological expertise they need to keep abreast of changes in scholarly research, teaching, publication, and communication. Through a competitive application process, three cohorts of four tenured faculty each will audit two undergraduate or graduate courses offered on campus that will allow them to develop competencies in “digital humanities,” broadly conceived.

  • 1/10/2018

    The Humanities Without Walls Consortium, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, fosters interdisciplinary, collaborative research, teaching, and scholarship in the humanities, sponsoring new areas of inquiry that cannot be created or maintained without cross-institutional cooperation.   On Thursday, December 14, the Consortium announced the results of its latest research challenge initiative, “The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate.”  It awarded one of these grants—a multi-year investment of $138,360—to a team of humanists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Michigan State University, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  The award will support their multi-year research project, titled “The Classroom and the Future of the Historical Record.” 

    This project will investigate recent, profound shifts in how the sources of our knowledge about the past are made.  Mobile digital technologies have allowed documentation to become an ubiquitous practice that extends far beyond traditional memory institutions such as libraries and scholarly presses.  The Internet is not an archive in a professional sense, but it is filled with a vast panoply of artifacts—images, sounds, films, texts, and data—digitized by people around the world, from originals of their own choosing.  Many of these sources can be difficult to interpret or cite, however.  Digitization often results in radical de-contextualization, with provenance and proof of authenticity being lost along the way.  Much of this new historical record is being built on proprietary platforms provided by IT corporations (Facebook, Twitter).  Their primary aim is to commercialize private data, rather than to preserve and sustain knowledge of the past as a common good.

    Over the course of the three years of the study, students, faculty, and staff from the three participating universities will explore how higher education should respond to this shifting environment for the production of history.  They will develop education-based practices for documentary and data literacy work in the 21st century, and partner with students to create better models for producing, preserving, and publishing the past. 

    At Michigan State University, Sharon Leon and Brandon Locke from the Lab for the Education and Advancement in Digital Research (LEADR) will develop a curriculum to teach students how to produce and analyze historical data.  At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Patrick Jones, William G. Thomas, and Aaron Johnson will work with K-12 teachers to bring their innovative digitization project “History Harvest” to Nebraska public schools.  Scholars at the University of Illinois, meanwhile, will build a curriculum that works across the entire life cycle of sources, from their initial identification, to their preservation and publication, to their use within education, research, and public history.  (Kathryn J. Oberdeck, Daniel Gilbert, Bonnie Mak, and John Randolph (Primary Investigator) will lead the group in Urbana-Champaign.)

    Humanities Without Walls funds will be used to support the work of graduate and undergraduate students on the project.  In particular, graduate students will be made lead researchers on the project, as part of a special Graduate Laboratory Practicum.   Working as a cohort, they will collaborate across institutions to develop documentary applications, skills, and practices that they can carry over into their post-graduate careers, in a range of fields.   Over the course of the project, HWW funds will also allow the team to convene for workshops where they can discuss the results of their local experiments and prepare for joint presentations of their ideas.  The group intends, as well, to share its applications and model curricula through journal publications and open educational resources.