It’s a new chapter in the College, and on Campus, for Arts and Humanities. As of July 1, Rick Van Kooten took over as Executive Dean of the College of Arts + Sciences. As you can see in his own letter, Rick knows CAHI well and understands its vital role, having been a strong advocate for research in Arts and Humanities in his time at OVPR. Provost Lauren Robel continues her robust support for Arts and Humanities research and creative practice, and her office endorses and underwrites a central role for Arts and Humanities in improving student experience at IUB, and in outreach to the State. Ed Comentale, Director of the Arts and Humanities Council and Associate Vice Provost for Research in Arts and Humanities, has led the charge on these initiatives. The upshot of all this activity and support is that CAHI finds itself in a terrific position. We now occupy a central place in a vibrant ecosystem of artistic undertaking, humanistic inquiry, and public-facing programming. Things are good!
I want to express heartfelt thanks to Larry Singell, who over eight years as Executive Dean was unwavering in his support for CAHI, and for the importance of advanced research in arts and humanities for the College’s mission. We wish him well in his new job at University of Texas.
CAHI's programming this coming year is as exciting as ever. Héctor Tobar—novelist and Pulitzer-winning journalist—is coming in September. Tóbar’s Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle That Set Them Free was made into the film, “The 33,” in 2015. Terrance Hayes, MacArthur Fellow and one of the great poetic voices in America today, arrives in time to contribute to the October First Thursdays Festival. Hayes’s astonishing book of poems, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin (2018), grabs you from the first and never lets go. In Spring, renowned Cuban-American artist and activist Coco Fusco visits campus to talk about her new work, give a public address, and meet with the multiple groups of students to whom her varied and extensive career speaks so powerfully. IU Ph.D. Laura Dassow Walls, now at Notre Dame, revives our series of Distinguished Scholars. Recipient of the James Russell Lowell Prize from the MLA and numerous prestigious fellowships, Walls is a leading figure for the ever-growing number of scholars working on science and the environment from a humanistic vantage.
Every year, CAHI includes one or more events dedicated to professional matters. This year, two forward-thinking colleagues from Michigan State University—Bill Hart-Davidson and Kathleen Fitzpatrick—come to IUB to deliver a joint presentation, “Toward a More Humane University.” Hart-Davidson and Fitzpatrick (who has recently published Generous Thinking: A Radical Approach to Saving the University) have thought long and hard about institutional problems, such as inadequate measures of accomplishment. Each will also conduct a workshop—on grant-writing and on digital projects.
Our Meet the Author series is set for the school year. We will open the year with Stephen Vinson (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures), who has produced the first new edition since 1900 of the Demotic Egyptian First Tale of Setne Khaemwa, a text dating from the third century BCE. Steven’s book, The Craft of a Good Scribe: History, Narrative and Meaning in the First Tale of Setne Khaemwas, interprets what is by all accounts a wild narrative, and also demonstrates its influence on writers as varied as H. Rider Haggard and Thomas Mann. In November, Jonathan Risner (Spanish and Portuguese) talks about his new monograph, Blood Circuits: Contemporary Argentine Horror Cinema, which focuses on contemporary Argentine horror cinema and the “cinematic pleasures” it offers national and transnational audiences. In the Spring, Diane Reilly (Art History) comes to CAHI to show and tell about her new book, The Cistercian Reform and the Art of the Book in Twelfth-Century France, a study attempting to bring to life the sensory complexity—text, image, song—that animated monastic life and its rituals of belief. Our final event of the year is Meet the Artist: Rowland Ricketts (Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design), whose textile artworks using indigo dyeing techniques grace the cover and inside pages of this year’s CAHI booklet, will come and share his new work and talk about how indigo—as plant and as artistic material—informs his poetics.
Platform, the research laboratory in arts and humanities supported by the Mellon Foundation, OVPR, and the Office of the Provost, moves into Year Two at speed. Keep your eye on events connected with these research projects, especially their symposia: “Secret/Lost Histories of Indiana” (in November), and “Mediating Music” (next April). Platform is administered jointly by CAHI and the Arts and Humanities Council.
CAHI's core mission is to support research in the arts and humanities in the College, and with our many grant and fellowship opportunities, we do just that. You can read in this booklet about our new CAHI Fellows and their projects. In addition to CAHI Research Fellowships, we award the CAHI/Kinsey Fellowship, many research travel awards (for both faculty and graduate students), some conference travel support (for graduate students only), CAHI Global awards for travel to IU’s Global Gateway locations, and of course we provide extensive support for workshops, symposia, and lectures in support of faculty research. Please check out our calendar for details. CAHI also continues to be an active member of the Humanities Without Walls Consortium (HWW), linking fifteen universities in the Midwest, so please look out for opportunities coming from that source.
As you hopefully have noticed, CAHI publishes a bi-weekly e-newsletter, in which we try to give timely and convenient reminders about many arts and humanities events on campus—many sponsored or supported by CAHI, but many not. We’re proud of this new feature—and we ask that you send us word of events, so that it can be as comprehensive as possible.
CAHI is an enormous gift to the scholarly and artistic community here at IUB, and a testimony to the College’s support of research in the arts and humanities. CAHI has given more than $6 million through more than 1,100 awards and fellowships over the course of its 18 years in existence. This Institute is ours to care for, to develop, and most of all to share with everyone we can—our students, our town, and the friends of the College and University.
Director, College Arts + Humanities Institute