IU consortium awards faculty grants for work on ‘Wonder and the Natural World’

The Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Society has awarded $51,248 to 11 faculty members from three IU campuses to further their research on the topic of “Wonder and the Natural World.”

This grant funding is the first phase of a two-year thematic initiative sponsored by the consortium on the theme of “Wonder and the Natural World.” The first phase will culminate in a daylong public symposium in May, at which funding recipients, along with invited guests, will present their works in progress.

“We received a truly impressive array of proposals, linking wonder to many facets of human and nonhuman life,” said IU Bloomington religious studies professor and consortium director Lisa Sideris. “The successful proposals reflect on the light and dark dimensions of wonder, as well as wonder’s ethical, emotional, cognitive, pedagogical, aesthetic and religious forms. It will be exciting to see the conversations that emerge from these diverse studies of wonder.”

The goal of the funding is to encourage faculty to engage with the idea of “wonder” in all its forms and in a variety of disciplines. The awardees cut across academic fields, including faculty in religious studies, English, bioethics and anthropology.

Heather Blair, assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at IU Bloomington, was awarded funding for her project “Super-Natural: Configuring Childhood Virtue in Contemporary Japanese Picture Books.”

“This project examines representations of the natural world in post-war Japanese children’s literature,” she said, “with a particular emphasis on contemporary picture books designed for children ages 3 to 6. Broadly speaking, it aims to introduce the study of Japanese children’s literature into ongoing conversations about childhood, character education, religion and ethics.”

Richard Gunderman, professor and vice chairman of radiology at the IU School of Medicine, will conduct research titled “Medicine: Wonder-less or Wonderful?” He seeks to explore the disconnect between what is taught at medical school, the dispassionate science of treating injury and disease, and the power of wonder for both the patient and the physician.

“Every time a physician sees a patient,” he said, “there is something awesome in bringing hidden things to light and assisting natural healing processes. Birth, death, illness, regeneration — these are the physician’s daily stock and trade, and they are pregnant with mystery.”

Other awardees and their projects include:

  • James Capshew, IU Bloomington Department of History and Philosophy of Science, “Bristlecone Pine: The Construction and Fate of a Scientific Wonder “
  • Edward E. Curtis IV, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Department of Religious Studies, “Elijah Muhammad’s World of Wonders: Astrophysical Disaster, Genetic Engineering, UFOs, White Apocalypse and Black Resurrection in the Nation of Islam”
  • David Haberman, IU Bloomington Department of Religious Studies, “Anthropomorphism without Anthropocentrism: Ritualized Ways of Enhancing the Experience of Wonder With Natural Phenomena in Devotional Hinduism”
  • Kelly E. Hayes, IUPUI Department of Religious Studies, “Intergalactic Space-Time Travelers: The Enchanted World of Brazil’s Valley of the Dawn”
  • Kelcey Parker, IU South Bend Department of English, “Living Nature: Surrealist Landscapes and Dreamscapes”
  • Phaedra C. Pezzullo, IU Bloomington Department of Communication and Culture, “‘Unprecedented, Unthinkable and Horrific’: Filipino Climate Justice Advocacy and The Sea Around Us”
  • Peter Thuesen, IUPUI Department of Religious Studies, “Wonder in the Whirlwind: Tornadoes as an American Sublime”
  • Michael Muehlenbein, IU Bloomington Department of Anthropology, and Vicky Meretsky, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, “Conservation Values, Personality and Motivations for Conserving Primate Populations”

The symposium, May 22, 2015, will provide a space for grantees to present their in-progress work to colleagues and the public. It will be followed in 2016 by an international conference to explore more deeply discussions of wonder and nature begun at the symposium.

About the Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Society

The Indiana University Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Society is an interdisciplinary association of scholars, academic programs and research centers from the eight campuses of Indiana University. The consortium’s mandate is to aid in the development of research to better understand religion, ethics, values and spirituality in society. The consortium receives support from the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at IU Bloomington, which is dedicated to supporting ongoing faculty research and creative activity, developing new multidisciplinary initiatives and maximizing the potential of faculty to accomplish path-breaking work.

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E.O. Wilson and Katherine Hayles “What Makes us Human?”

Entanglements Lecture Series
E.O. Wilson and Katherine Hayles, “What Makes us Human?”
October 8, 2014 | 7:00-8:45
Indianapolis Central Library, Clowes Auditorium
Click here for free tickets

When did we become human? Are human and animal societies that much different? Do we already live in an age of cyborgs?

E.O. Wilson and Katherine Hayles visit Indianapolis as part of the new IAHI Entanglements Lecture Series.  Entanglements brings together scientists, humanists, and artists to discuss “big questions” that affect all of us.

At our inaugural event, E.O. Wilson, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning biologist, will join Katherine Hayles, specialist in the culture of cyborgs and virtual bodies, in a conversation that will take us on a journey to answer one of humanity’s most fundamental questions: “What makes us human?”

Over the course of this evening, Wilson and Hayles will discuss the evolution of human consciousness, the relationship between biology, society, culture, and technology, and the future of humanity.  This will be an event that changes the way you think about yourself and your world.

EO WilsonDr. E.O. Wilson is Professor Emeritus and Honorary Curator in Entomology at Harvard University.  He is a two time Pulitzer Prize winner, a National Medal of Science awardee, a Crafoord Prize recipient (given by the Academy in fields of science it does not cover by the Nobel Prize), and a TED Prize Winner.  In fact, he has received over 100 awards throughout his career. He is the author of numerous books, including Sociobiology, The Ants, The Diversity of Life, Consilience, The Social Conquest of Earth, and Letters to a Young Scientist.  During his career he has explored the biggest questions through the littlest creatures — ants. He is a prominent environmental advocate, and in March 2014, the government of Mozambique opened the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory in Gorongosa National Park — a tribute to Wilson’s worldwide impact.

Katherine HaylesDr. Katherine Hayles is Professor of Literature at Duke University.  Her book, How We Became Posthuman, published in 1999, was named one of the best 25 books of 1999 by The Village Voice and received the Rene Wellek Prize for Best Book in Literary Theory.  She is the author of multiple books, including The Cosmic Web, Chaos Bound, Writing Machines, How We Think, and My Mother Was a Computer.  A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEH Fellowships, a Rockefeller Residential Fellowship, and a National Humanities Center Fellowship, Dr. Hayles  is a leading social and literary critic with interests in cyborg anthropology, digital humanities, electronic literature, science and technology, science fiction, and critical theory.

The Entanglements Lecture Series is made possible through the generous support of the Efroymson Family Fund, the IU School of Dentistry, and the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.

This event is a collaboration between the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, Indiana Humanities, and the Spirit and Place Festival.

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Museums, Libraries, and Cultural Organizations: Planning Grants

neh_at_logoNEH’s Division of Public Programs supports activities that engage millions of Americans in understanding significant humanities works and ideas. At the center of every NEH-funded public humanities project is a core set of humanities ideas developed by scholars, matched to imaginative formats that bring those ideas to life for people of all ages and all walks of life. Projects must be analytical and deeply grounded in humanities scholarship in a discipline such as history, religion, anthropology, jurisprudence, or art history. NEH is a national funding agency, so the projects we support must demonstrate the potential to attract a broad, general audience. We welcome humanities projects tailored to particular groups, such as families, youth (including K-12 students), teachers, seniors, at-risk communities, and veterans, but they should also strive to cultivate a more inclusive audience.

Museums, Libraries, and Cultural Organizations grants provide support for museums, libraries, historic places, and other organizations that produce public programs in the humanities.

Grants support the following formats:

  • exhibitions at museums, libraries, and other venues;
  • interpretations of historic places, sites, or regions; and
  • book/film discussion programs; living history presentations; and other face-to-face programs at libraries, community centers, and other public venues.

NEH encourages projects that explore humanities ideas through multiple formats. Proposed projects might include complementary components that deepen an audience’s understanding of a subject: for example, a museum exhibition might be accompanied by a website, mobile app, or discussion programs.

Planning grants support the early stages of project development, including consultation with scholars, refinement of humanities themes, preliminary design, testing, and audience evaluation.

Program Statistics

In the last five competitions the Museums, Libraries, and Cultural Organizations: Planning Grants program received an average of 64 applications. The program made an average of six awards per competition, for a funding ratio of 9 percent.

The number of applications to an NEH grant program can vary widely from competition to competition, as can the funding ratio. Information about the average number of applications and awards in recent competitions is meant only to provide historical context for the current competition. Information on the number of applications and awards in individual competitions is available from publicpgms@neh.gov.

 

Division of Public Programs

Receipt Deadline August 13, 2014 for Projects Beginning April 2015

Questions?

Contact the staff of NEH’s Division of Public Programs at 202-606-8269 or publicpgms@neh.gov. Hearing-impaired applicants can contact NEH via TDD at 1-866-372-2930.

IUPUI researcher to host international conference exploring China’s ancient links to Africa

Ian McIntoshINDIANAPOLIS — Ian McIntosh, associate director of the Confucius Institute in Indianapolis and director of international partnerships at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, has been awarded a $17,800 grant from the Confucius Institute Headquarters Division of Sinology and China Studies to host a conference, “Exploring China’s Ancient Links to Africa.”

The conference will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in October.

It will be attended by some of the world’s leading archaeologists in this field, including Sada Mire, director of antiquities in Somaliland, Felix Chami of Dar es Salaam University, Tanzania, and Qin Dashu of Peking University, China. IUPUI’s strategic partner in China, Sun Yat-sen University, will be represented by two leading archaeologists, professors Zhu Tiequan and Wensuo Liu.

“This conference will help to shed light on this early movement of peoples, especially Chinese navigators and traders, and their relationship with African merchants, especially from the Axumite Empire,” McIntosh said.

An Australian anthropologist, McIntosh is a co-founder of the Past Masters, an international team of heritage specialists, historians, anthropologists and archaeologists. The Past Masters received widespread media attention with their expedition to uncover the significance of medieval African coins from the long-abandoned Swahili settlement of Kilwa discovered in Tanzania on a remote island in northern Australia.

Participants at the conference will speak to connections between China and Africa, as far back as the Han Dynasty in the first century of the Common Era. Chinese coin and pottery finds from along the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa and also in East Africa, dating to the Tang, Song and Yuan Dynasties, will also be discussed.

For more information, contact McIntosh at imcintos@iupui.edu.

IUPUI faculty and students help FBI identify cultural artifacts

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis anthropology and museum studies faculty and students are assisting the FBI in identifying and preserving cultural artifacts found in the home of a Rush County, Ind., man.

The FBI and its multidisciplinary team are working on repatriating items of cultural patrimony.

Larry J. Zimmerman, professor of anthropology and museum studies; Holly Cusack-McVeigh, assistant professor of anthropology and museum studies; and Charmayne “Charli” Champion-Shaw, director of the Office of America Indian Programs at IUPUI, are among the art, cultural and museum experts working as consultants at the site about 35 miles southeast of Indianapolis.

“Our job is to assist the FBI in the identification of artifacts, help as liaisons with Native Americans and take care of the artifacts in keeping with best museum practices and FBI evidential procedures,” Zimmerman said. Zimmerman also holds the title of Public Scholar of Native American Representation, a shared position with the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.

Students and alumni of museum studies classes taught by Cusack-McVeigh, also Public Scholar of Collections and Community Curation, are helping to handle the artifacts as they are registered, photographed and packaged.

The IUPUI faculty and students participated in an FBI briefing April 1 and a press conference April 2 about the matter. At this time, the IUPUI professors and students are not available for additional media interviews.

“Solving the Mystery of Australia’s African coins”: a conversation with members of the Past Masters team

Monday April 7, 2014
12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
IUPUI ES2132 Global Crossroads
902 W. New York Street, Indianapolis

In 1944, five coins from the medieval Sultanate of Kilwa in present day Tanzania were found on the north Australian coast. These rare coins have only been found outside of East Africa on two occasions (one in the ruins of Great Zimbabwe and another in Oman). How they travelled 8,000km to a remote island in north-east Arnhem Land was the subject of a multidisciplinary expedition in July 2013. Come and learn what was discovered by the Past Masters and also the next steps in unravelling the mystery.

Dr. Ian McIntosh is an adjunct professor of anthropology in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and author of many publications on the Yolngu of north-east Arnhem Land.

Michael Hermes, an expert in Indigenous cultural resource management, specializes in training Aboriginal cultural heritage officers.

Dr. Tim Stone is a specialist on the geomorphology of the northern Australian coastline with 30 years of experience with Aboriginal Australians and is best known for his work on what constitutes an archaeological site.

For more information, contact Ian McIntosh at imcintos@iupui.edu or 317 2743776

Historic Deerfield, Inc. 2014 Undergraduate Fellowship Program in Early American History and Material Culture

Historic Deerfield, Inc. invites applications for an intensive Summer Fellowship Program in History and Material Culture in Deerfield, MA. Undergraduates enrolled as either juniors or seniors as of January 1, 2014 are eligible for 7 openings in the program, which is designed for students in American Studies, Architecture, Archeology, Art and Art History, Design, History, Material Culture, Preservation and Museum Studies. Each participant receives a full fellowship that covers all expenses associated with the program, including tuition, room and board, and field trips. Limited stipends are available for students with demonstrated need to help cover lost summer income.

Summer Fellows:

  • Live in the historic village
  • Explore history and material culture studies in hands-on classroom seminars, walking tours and room studies with Historic Deerfield staff and visiting lecturers
  • Learn to guide and interpret in Historic Deerfield’s furnished museum houses
  • Conduct original research on New England history and material culture
  • using museum and library collections
  • Go on behind-the-scenes visits to historic sites in New England and take a week-long road trip to museums in the mid-Atlantic and Virginia

Program dates: June 9-August 10, 2014.

Application deadline: February 7, 2014.

Applications are accepted online 

Contact: Barbara A. Mathews Phone: (413) 775-7207; email: bmathews@historic-deerfield.org

Lecture: James F. Brooks, “Women, Men, and Evangelism in the American Southwest”

Dr. James F. Brooks, Research Fellow, School for Advanced Research
“Women, Men, and Evangelism in the American Southwest” 

October 17
IUPUI Campus Center Room 409
7-8pm
Support provided by the IUPUI Department of History

Tickets available for free here: https://jamesbrooks.eventbrite.com

James F. Brooks is an American historian whose work on slavery, captivity and kinship in the Southwest Borderlands has been honored with several major national awards, including he Bancroft Prize, the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize and the Frederick Douglass Prize.  He is former President of the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

An interdisciplinary scholar of the indigenous and colonial past, he has held professorial appointments at the University of Maryland, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Berkeley, as well as fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and in 2000–2001, at the SAR itself. The recipient of more than a dozen national awards for scholarly excellence, his 2002 book Captives & Cousins: Slavery, Kinship and Community in the Southwest Borderlands focused on the traffic in women and children across the region as expressions of intercultural violence and accommodation. He extends these questions most recently through an essay on the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Pampas borderlands of Argentina in his co-edited advanced seminar volume Small Worlds: Method, Meaning, and Narrative in Microhistory from SAR Press.