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Nancy Webber
Office of the Provost

Cyndi Connelley-Eskine
Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs

Last modified: Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Funding for new multidisciplinary projects announced

June 15, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Two major multidisciplinary projects -- "The In/Visibility of America's 21st Century Wars" seminar and lecture series, and "New Latin@ Film Festival and Conference" -- have been funded with seed money from the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs' Multidisciplinary Ventures and Seminars Fund.

"The collaborative, interdisciplinary nature of both of these activities draws IU faculty and students together across disciplinary and school boundaries into a shared exchange of ideas," said Michael Wade, associate vice provost for faculty and academic affairs. "Their value to the research and creative activity of the campus as a whole is reflected by the contributions of departments, centers and schools, as well as the vice provost's office to the funding of each project. I encourage all faculty and students to participate in these activities and join the conversation."

'In/Visibility of America's 21st Century Wars'

Seminars and public lectures will investigate the "In/Visibility of America's 21st Century Wars" drawing on a wide range of multidisciplinary perspectives and methods, ranging from geographic analysis to cultural criticism, exploring conceptually the ways in which America's wars are paradoxically both present and absent, accrual and virtual, visible and invisible.

They will study different visual media and popular culture genres through which America's publics experience war, such as film, video games and photography. Finally, they will engage with critical practices of the visual arts that also function as public art, in particular photography that renders visible some of the experiences of war that the processes and structures that we have studied under our understanding of in/visible. They hope to not only gain a new, critical understanding of in/visible wars but also to resist and challenge in/visibility by developing critical practices of public engagement.

Project co-coordinators are Jon Simons, associate professor, Department of Communications and Culture; John Lucaites, professor, Department of Communications and Culture and the American Studies Program; Lessie Jo Frazier, associate professor, Gender Studies Program, and adjunct assistant professor, Department of Anthropology, Department of History and the Culture Studies Program; and De Witt Kilgore, associate professor, Department of English and the American Studies Program.

All coordinating faculty programs and departments are from the College of Arts and Sciences, however, they represent the larger interdisciplinary research forum "Images and Public Culture."

All lectures are open to faculty and students from schools and departments across campus and through the College of Arts and Sciences Fall 2011Themester "Making War, Making Peace."

Visiting scholars for the lecture series may include Diane Rubenstein from Cornell University, Michael Shapiro from University of Hawaii, Wendy Kozol from Oberlin College, and award-winning photographers Suzanne Opton from the International Center for Photography and Nina Berman.

Additional funding and support comes from the IU Department of Political Science, Department of Communication and Culture, the Gender Studies Program, the American Studies Program, the Center for Integrated Photographic Studies, College of Arts and Sciences Themester funds, and pending from the Institute of Advanced Studies, College of Arts and Humanities Institute Workshop, Center for Theoretical Inquiry in the Humanities, a Branigin lectureship (Northwestern University) and the Remak New Knowledge Seminar.

For more information on the seminars and lectures, contact Jon Simons at

'New Latin@ Film Festival and Conference'

Latest U.S. Census figures show that the nation's largest minority population continues to grow at a remarkable rate. Numbering more than 50 million, the Latino population grew by 43 percent from 2000 to 2010. Latinos now comprise 16 percent of the nation's total population, and nearly one-in-four children. But their numbers are just part of the story. In the last two decades, Latinos' demographic rise has accompanied a growth in films depicting their lives and cultures.

The Latino Studies Program and IU Cinema will showcase a selection of those films during a "New Latin@ Film Festival and Conference" to be held April 5-7, 2012. The three-day event will feature film shorts, documentaries and feature films, as well as roundtables and lectures by scholars and filmmakers. All screenings and proceedings will be open to the public.

"The purpose of the event," says John Nieto-Phillips, director of the Latino Studies Program, "is to showcase films which depict the richness and complexity of Latinos' lived experiences and social conditions."

Historically, popular media outlets have tended to reduce Latinos to two-dimensional stereotypes and bit-actors. "But Latinos' lives," Nieto-Phillips adds, "are far more complex, far more interconnected and global, far more integral to the making of America than stereotypes would suggest."

Curated by Geneva Gano, visiting assistant professor, Latino Studies Program and the American Studies Program, the festival and conference will bring multiple disciplinary perspectives to bear on cinematic trends. According to Gano, the event also aims to engage scholars and the public in a dialogue about media representations of race, class and gender.

The gender-inclusive "@" symbol in the title -- in Spanish, called the "arroba" -- signals that these films are gender-inclusive representations of the 21st century experience, particularly as it has been changed by the advent of new media, technologies and globalization.

The event will draw on the collaboration of individuals throughout the campus, including Jon Vickers, director, IU Cinema, and Bradley Levinson, professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, School of Education, and director, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Nieto-Phillips, Gano and Deborah Cohn, associate professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and director, American Studies Program are part of the College of Arts and Sciences faculty.

The event has also received funding from the College of Arts and Humanities Institute.

For more information on the festival and conference, contact John Nieto-Phillips at

Multidisciplinary Ventures and Seminars Fund

The Multidisciplinary Ventures and Seminars Fund, administered by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs, is designed to provide partial support for collaborative projects to encourage interdisciplinary exchange and intellectual growth into new and multidisciplinary areas of inquiry. Proposals are encouraged that draw together two or more disciplines in an innovative way, including those fostering the university goals of globalization and internationalization of research and creative activities.

For information and contacts on the two projects, e-mail or call 812-855-9973. For information on fund eligibility and the application process, visit