Center for Ray Bradbury Studies Receives NEH Grant

Photo by Liz Kaye, IU Communications

The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at IUPUI, one of the most extensive single-author archives housed at a university, has received a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Read the original article from News at IUPUI.

On April 9, the NEH announced $18.6 million in grants for 199 humanities projects across the country, including a number of humanities collections and reference resources grants.

The grant will allow the center to prepare a preservation plan and operational procedures that will help it to eventually expand into a museum and archive with gallery space, all open to the public.

“Ray Bradbury’s archives are a treasure not only for this campus but for all scholars and fans of Mr. Bradbury and his work everywhere,” said Thomas J. Davis, dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, which hosts the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies. “This generous grant will eventually allow more people to study and enjoy his life’s work and personal items.”

The center was founded in 2007, and the collection, housed in Room 121 of Cavanaugh Hall in the heart of the IUPUI campus, spans the lifetime of the science fiction master (1920-2012). His literary works, art, correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, audiovisual materials, and more are all preserved — nearly 15 tons of materials in all. His home office has also been meticulously recreated with its original contents.

“He kept everything — everything was a memento to life for him,” said Jonathan R. Eller, director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and Chancellor’s Professor of English. “All his life, he was learning and observing. When he was beginning to dream about human beings going to outer space, the moon, and Mars, that was his dream before it was popular. His dreams became our dreams through books like ‘The Martian Chronicles.'”

Bradbury’s work continues to inspire millions today, from astronauts to statesmen to children. Literary and Hollywood legends such as Herman Wouk, Steven Spielberg, Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck, and Walt Disney, among many others, wrote letters to Bradbury during his lifetime — those are also housed in the collection.

The NEH grant will allow for the hiring of two graduate interns — at least one from the School of Liberal Arts’ Museum Studies program — devoted to coordinating all the work required to expand into a museum and gallery.

“We will be learning best practices for preservation and for inventory and accessioning, as well as the kind of activities that a gallery or archive or museum does to make sure the public has access to these items,” Eller said. “Once we’ve benefited from this grant, a lot of doors will open.”

Making the City | The Ethics, Values, and Practices of Public Art in Urban Contexts

This semester’s third installment of The Ethics, values, and Practices of Public Art in Urban Contexts Seminar Series, “Making the City,” will be held on Monday, April 16, from 4-6pm at the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute, University Library 4115P.

Cities across the US are grappling with major transformations that expose the many tensions inherent to historical disparities in economics, education, safety, and political access brought on by inequalities based in race and class. Midwest cities have responded to these challenges with a variety of approaches. This seminar series is concerned with addressing one of them: the role of culture in reshaping cities – specifically through public art.

In the discourse and practice of urban design, public art has increasingly been seen as a key tool in redeveloping our cities – from making cities more livable and safe to encouraging economic development and educational achievement.

Using art as a tool to address urban design challenges goes by a variety of different names: creative placemaking, civic art, and tactical urbanism, to name a few. These approaches are fundamentally tied to ethical frameworks and notions of value. Seminar meetings will discuss the intersections of ethics, public art, and urban design through shared readings, guest speakers, and conversation.

Click here to reserve your ticket on Eventbrite.

The Ethics, Values, and Practices of Public Art in Urban Contexts Seminar Series is supported by The Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Society at Indiana University, the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, and the Herron School of Art and Design.

How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Du Bois, Black Moralism, and Secular Struggle for Change

On Thursday, March 29 from 6-8pm in the ICTC Auditorium (IT/ICTC 152), Dr. Anthony B. Pinn will present his talk, “How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?”

Dr. Anthony B. Pinn is the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religion at Rice University. Dr. Pinn is the founding director of Rice’s Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning (CERCL). In addition, he is Director of Research for the Institute for Humanist Studies (Washington, DC). His research interests include religion and culture; humanism; African American religious thought, religion and embodiment, and hip hop culture. He is the author/editor of over 35 books.

“The problem of the Twentieth Century,” Du Bois writes in The Souls of Black Folks, “is the problem of the color-line.” While undeniably impactful, what the color-line pronouncement points to, however, is only one dimension of a dualism, what Du Bois references as the “Negro Problem.” Shortly after making this statement, he asks a question: How does it feel to be a problem? In this lecture, Dr. Pinn will explore the manner in which Du Bois’s response to this question suggests the outline of a mode of moralism sensitive to the dynamics of blackness in the US. This Black Moralism pushes against the tendency to think about justice work as framed by the certainty of outcomes, and instead prompts a sense of struggle as perpetual rebellion without assurances. In this way it says something to and about secular humanism in a context of racial disregard.

The talk is sponsored by Secular Humanism Studies; the Department of Philosophy; The Millennium Chair of Liberal Arts; and the Department of Religious Studies at IUPUI.

Reiberg Reading Series | James Still

The IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute and the IUPUI English Department are delighted to present the Rufus and Louise Reiberg Reading Series featuring playwright James Still, who will read from his collected works at the Lilly Auditorium on February 23, 2018, at 7:00pm.

Free tickets are available here.

James Still’s plays have been produced throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, South Africa, China, and Japan. This year he is celebrating his 20th season as Playwright-in-Residence at Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT), where audiences have seen 15 of his plays on all three of its stages. His recent work includes a trilogy of linked-plays: The House that Jack Built (IRT), Appoggiatura (Denver Center Theatre), and Miranda (Illusion Theater, Minneapolis). Other recent work includes April 4, 1968: Before We Forgot How to Dream (IRT); two plays about the Lincolns, The Window Lincoln and The Heavens are Hung in Black (both premiering at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.); a play for one actor about culinary icon James Beard called I Love to Eat (Portland Center Stage); a play for 57 actors called A Long Bridge over Deep Waters (Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles); Looking Over the President’s Shoulder about Indiana native Alonzo Fields (premiered at IRT, produced at theaters across the country); Amber Waves (The Kennedy Center and IRT); and And Then They Came for Me, which has been produced at theaters around the world.

Playwright James Still

Still’s short play When Miss Lydia Hinkley Gives a Bird the Bird was a winner of Red Bull Theater’s Short New Play Festival and performed at many festivals. His new plays include (A) New World and Black Beauty (Seattle Children’s Theatre). James is an elected member of both the Nation Theatre Conference in New York and the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center. He received the Otis Guernsey New Voices Award from the William Inge Festival and the Todd McNerney New Play Prize from Spoleto. He grew up in a tiny town in Kansas and is a longtime resident of Los Angeles.

Support for the Reiberg Reading Series is provided by the Reiberg family, the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, the IUPUI University Library, the IUPUI Office of Academic Affairs, and the IUPUI Division of Undergraduate Education.

IUPUI hosts sci-fi master Ray Bradbury artifacts, awards in Cavanaugh Hall

The original article can be found here.

Bradbury Center Director Jon Eller stands in recreation of Bradbury’s office

In a lower level of Cavanaugh Hall, one of the most prolific and renowned 20th-century American science fiction writers’ memory – and his many, many works – are preserved in impressive and sometimes spooky detail.

The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies is packed with the author’s publications, awards, personal artifacts and many Halloween-worthy souvenirs, like a grotesque and demonic mask that is displayed on one of the author’s many bookcases. The mask was used in conceptual work for the character Moundshroud for the 1993 Hanna-Barbera animated version of “The Halloween Tree.”

The mask is one of thousands of artifacts Professor Jonathan Eller, Director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and Chancellor’s Professor of English, and the School of Liberal Arts have stored and displayed in the center, which also curates a re-creation of Bradbury’s basement office that he maintained for decades in his Los Angeles home while creating masterworks like “Fahrenheit 451,” “Something Wicked This Way Comes” and “The Illustrated Man.”

The Center opened in Cavanaugh a decade ago and has since become an October hub for annual Bradbury commemorations. IUPUI pays tribute to Bradbury every October with exhibits on campus. Last month, many of the center’s space-related artifacts were on display in the new “Infinite Voyages: Ray Bradbury and the Space Age” exhibit in the Campus Center’s Cultural Arts Gallery.

From the moon to Mars, Bradbury was enthusiastic for space exploration, according to Eller. The Bradbury expert said 1930s sci-fi pulp magazines like Amazing Stories, Wonder Stories, and Astounding had the future author often looking to the skies in wonderment. By the 1940s, his stories began to appear in the same magazines, and in many others as well. Many of Bradbury’s personal copies of these magazines are on display in the center.

In the 1960s, Bradbury helped keep his fans interested in NASA’s developments. “Ray Bradbury loved the Apollo missions and all of the manned space missions that followed,” said Eller, noting Bradbury’s collection of awards and mementos given to him by NASA. “He also got behind the space shuttle program; he worked to promote the program and knew a number of the key players and crews.”

NASA paid tribute to Bradbury shortly after the Curiosity rover landed on Mars in August 2012. The rover, which is still collecting data from the Martian surface, touched down at Gale Crater, just south of Mars’ equator. The site was renamed Bradbury Landing on Aug. 22 to coincide with what would have been the author’s 92nd birthday. Bradbury had died just months before, on June 5, but had lived long enough to see the launch of this landmark achievement in Martian exploration.

Bradbury’s classic 1950 novelized collection of short stories, “The Martian Chronicles,” will forever link the author to the Red Planet, and now the planet is linked to the legendary writer. Some of the “Martian” tales are eerily prophetic and carry much impact, according to Eller. “Curiosity has told us that Mars is a little bit like what Ray Bradbury always thought it would be,” he explained. “We have planetary dynamics in evidence. We have evidence of earlier times of water. All of these things that Ray Bradbury hoped for and dreamed of might have been there at one time.”

In 2016, Eller represented the Bradbury family at the Hugo Awards ceremony. It was a momentous occasion for Eller, as Bradbury was given posthumous awards for his work that predated the Hugos, which honor the top works in science fiction and fantasy.

Eller earned the distinction to accept the award as he and Bradbury struck up a decades-spanning friendship after meeting when Eller was an English professor at his alma mater, the United States Air Force Academy, in the late 1980s. Bradbury was a guest speaker at a weeklong science fiction convention, and then-Major Eller was his host. Over time, Eller learned Bradbury’s “stories behind the stories,” eventually publishing three books on the author.

“Pretty much for the last 15 years of his life, I interviewed Bradbury in depth,” Eller said. “He was a great inspiration for people who loved to write, loved to read and loved to put their finger on the pulse of the human heart.”

While the Martian stories ring with some prescience, “Fahrenheit 451” continues to inspire on Earth’s soil. Proponents for freedom of speech and anti-censorship still look to the classic dystopian tome. Through science fiction and terror tales, Bradbury’s words helped teach millions of eyes to read and millions of brains to think.

“He was a great defender of the freedom of imagination,” Eller said. “He was always a protector of libraries and the precious gift of literacy.”

Poet, essayist, and critic Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib will speak at IUPUI

The IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute and the IUPUI English Department are pleased to present the Rufus and Louise Reiberg Reading Series featuring poet and essayist Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib. Willis-Abdurraqib will read from his collected works at the Basile Auditorium on November 16th at 7:30pm. Free tickets are available at willis-abdurraqib.eventbrite.com.

Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. His first full length collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, released in June 2016 from Button Poetry, was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book prize. His limited edition chapbook, Vintage Sadness, was released in summer 2017. His first collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, will be released this winter. He is a Callaloo Creative Writing Fellow, an interviewer at Union Station Magazine, and a poetry editor at Muzzle Magazine. He is also a member of the poetry collective Echo Hotel with poet/essayist Eve Ewing.

Additionally, he is a columnist at MTV News, where he writes about music and fights to get Room Raiders back on the air. He thinks poems can change the world, but really wants to talk to you about music, sports, and sneakers.

Support for the Reiberg Reading Series is provided by the Reiberg family, the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, the IUPUI University Library, the IUPUI Office of Academic Affairs, and the IUPUI Division of Undergraduate Education.

Professor Barbara Mills will speak at the IAHI next month

As part of the 2017 Midwest Archaeological Conference, Barbara Mills invites you to her lecture, “Current Debates in the Archaeology of the Chaco World.” The talk will be held at the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute on October 19th at 7pm. Mills is the Professor of Anthropology and American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona and Curator of Archaeology at the Arizona State Museum.

Chaco Canyon’s dense concentration of monumental architecture, along with the millions of objects that have been excavated, pose challenges to traditional models of Southwestern societies. The ways in which archaeologists interpret regional systems of interaction like Chaco’s has led to a number of debates. Some of these are about Chaco’s origins, while others focus on its most extensive “Classic” period, and still others consider Chaco’s reorganization and fragmentation. The questions asked are as hotly debated as their answers. This presentation will outline several important debates about inequality, historical memory, economy, migration, and religious ritual that are guiding exciting new research on Chaco.

This event is sponsored by the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute and The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in collaboration with the 2017 Midwest Archaeological Conference.

Free tickets are available at barbara-mills.eventbrite.com.

About the Speaker
Professor Mills is an anthropological archaeologist with broad interests in archaeological method and theory, especially (but not exclusively) as applied to the North American Southwest. Her work has focused on ceramic analysis and, more broadly, material culture as a tool to understand social relations in the past. She is interested in the way depositional practice can be used to understand memory, materiality, and relational logics. Her research on ceramic technology, craft specialization, and accumulations research has led to a series of papers and edited volumes on social inequality, identity, feasting, and migration.

Mills’s interests were fostered by more than a decade of work in the Silver Creek area of east-central Arizona, including a multi-year collaborative project with the White Mountain Apache Tribe. She also has field and research experience in a number of other areas of the Southwest, including Zuni, Chaco, Mimbres, Grasshopper, and most recently the Greater Hohokam area. Outside the U.S. she has research experience in Guatemala (Postclassic Maya), Kazakhstan (Bronze Age), and Turkey (Neolithic). She is currently a lead researcher on the Southwest Social Networks Project, which brings together data and a talented group of scholars to apply social network analysis (SNA) to archaeological data from the Southwest.

The Reiberg Reading Series will feature poet Maggie Smith this October

The IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute and the IUPUI English Department are pleased to present the Rufus & Louise Reiberg Reading Series featuring poet Maggie Smith. Smith will read from her selected works in the IUPUI Lilly Auditorium on October 11th at 7:30pm, with a Q&A session and book signing to follow.

Smith is the author of three books of poetry: Good Bones, which is making its debut on shelves on October first; The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, winner of the Dorset Prize and the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards Gold Medal in Poetry; and Lamp of the Body, winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award. The poem “Good Bones,” after which her new book is titled, went viral internationally. It was called the “Official Poem of 2016” by the BBC/Public Radio International and has been translated into nearly a dozen languages. Advance praise for Good Bones (the book) says it is written “with such a clean, aching clarity of lyricism that I discover now frequently exhausted human touchstones freshly, with real surprise.”

Support for the Reiberg Reading Series is provided by the Reiberg family, the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute, the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, the IUPUI University Library, the IUPUI Office of Academic Affairs, and the IUPUI Division of Undergraduate Education.

Tickets are available through Eventbrite.

IUPUI Professor Andrea Jain named editor of Journal of the American Academy of Religion

The original press release is available here.

Professor Andrea Jain

Andrea Jain, an associate professor of religious studies in the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, has been appointed editor of the prestigious Journal of the American Academy of Religion. With around 9,000 members, the American Academy of Religion is the largest organization of religious studies scholars in the world, and its quarterly journal is the most prestigious in the field.

Jain is a leading scholar of South Asian religions and yoga studies. Her 2014 book, “Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture,” was published by Oxford University Press and is a top seller in the field of comparative religions. She has co-chaired the Yoga in Theory and Practice unit of the American Academy of Religion, and her work is featured regularly in newspapers, magazines, and the scholarly blog Religion Dispatches. Her areas of interest include contemporary spirituality and the history of modern yoga; the yoga industry’s relationship to capitalism and consumer culture; the intersections of gender, sexuality, and yoga; religion and politics in contemporary society; and methods and theories in the study of religion.

“I am honored to serve as editor of such an important journal and look forward to helping share the work of colleagues around the world while fostering important conversations,” Jain said. “I am also grateful to work with so many talented scholars at IUPUI, all of whom have made our department a valuable asset to the campus and to the field of religious studies.”

The IUPUI religious studies department will serve as the journal’s editorial office, which is also noteworthy for IUPUI, the School of Liberal Arts, and the department. The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research at IUPUI has allowed release time for Jain’s work as editor, while the Office of the Vice President for Research at Indiana University is contributing funding for two IU Bloomington graduate students to serve as editorial assistants.

“These collaborative investments are foundational to the first-rate humanities scholarship recognized by professor Jain’s selection as editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion,” said Thomas J. Davis, dean of the School of Liberal Arts. “The journal will continue to be a key publication in religious studies, and we’re delighted that IUPUI will have such a significant role.”

A celebration of Jain’s appointment, in conjunction with Indiana Humanities, will take place from 4 to 5pm on October 10th in Room 409 of the IUPUI Campus Center. IUPUI Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Kathy Johnson will speak along with Davis, while Jain will speak about her vision for the journal and for humanities research at IUPUI.

IUPUI Center for Digital Scholarship goes 3D

View the original press release by reporter Vanessa Richards at the IUPUI newsroom.

Jenny Johnson demonstrates 3D scanner

The handheld Creaform 3D scanner looks like an old-school video game controller, a clunky throwback to the early days of Atari. But these mobile 3D scanners used by the staff in the IUPUI University Library Center for Digital Scholarship are very advanced, and they are changing the way we record recent history, ancient history, and even the future.

“About two years ago, we decided to explore 3D technology and what scanning could look like,” said Jenny Johnson, head of digitization services for the Center for Digital Scholarship. “Every community and cultural heritage institution that we work with has 3D objects. As the technology has gotten better, computer processing has gotten better, and because costs have been reduced a little bit with the technology, we decided to dive into the specifics and see what we could do. The Benjamin Harrison team was really interested in this, and they’ve got an eCollection initiative to document more of their items.”

This statue of Harrison has been 3D printed using the 3D scan file

The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site houses a large collection of former U.S. President Benjamin Harrison’s belongings in his former home, including furniture, pottery, silver, plates, and dresses. In collaboration with the Center for Digital Scholarship, these items will soon be scanned, and the digital files will be available online to view and to download. This means that anyone with access to a 3D printer will be able to create copies of the collection items. The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site eCollection initiative is planned to go online around November.

Archaeologists are using the technology, as well. The Lawrenz Gun Club is a Mississippian Period fortified Native American village and mound complex in the central Illinois River Valley, active between the years 1150 and 1425. Jeremy Wilson, associate professor of anthropology at IUPUI, studies it; he and his team have been working on the site since 2010. He works with the IUPUI 3D digital archivists to record what they have found. Wilson’s ultimate goal, in partnership with associate professor Dan Johnson from the geography department, is to build a virtual representation of the site and how the village changed over time.

 

The digital renderings of these items are available in the IUPUI University Library Center for Digital Scholarship’s online collection.