University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Research and creative collaboratives represent some of the most innovative work at the University. These self-initiated groups come together with the idea of working on a project of common interest—be it the development of a performance piece, the exploration of a concept or research area through different disciplines, or the creation of a supportive intellectual community. With the research and creative collaboratives, the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) promotes synergistic interdisciplinary activity transcending departmental structures.

Current — Past Collaboratives — Application ProceduresInformation for Conveners


A collaborative may include faculty, students, staff, and community members, and each defines its own agenda, plan of work, and outcomes. Collaboratives organize roundtables, public discussions, workshops, presentations, and conferences, and engage as a group in research, curricular planning, grant writing, and intellectual exploration.

The IAS offers modest funding and administrative support to the collaboratives, allowing participants to focus on their intellectual and creative work without having to worry about myriad details of scheduling, ordering books, or making travel arrangements for visiting scholars.


The funds and the space are designed to facilitate conversations within collaboratives, across collaboratives, and to the larger public that might not otherwise occur. Each collaborative also has a public dimension—a presentation of research in progress, a performance, or a conversation.

Past Collaboratives

2013-2016 — Agrifood
We are a group of faculty, students, and others interested in food and agriculture — we began as a reading group across departments of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota, and grew to include a number of members from across the university and many neighbors. We meet regularly to discuss each others’ work and to read relevant work by outside authors related to food, agriculture, and other related topics. To subscribe to our email list, please email us at
Conveners: Valentine Cadieux, Sociology and Geography, Environment & Society (CLA); Tracey Deutsch, History (CLA); Rachel Schurman, Sociology (CLA)
Posts tagged Agri-food
2006-2007 — Art, Design, and Social Engagement

Art, Design, and Social Engagement 
The Art, Design, and Social Engagement Collaborative seeks to identify, generate, and promote research, scholarly work, creative work, and teaching that explores the potential for art and design as tools for social change; to promote collaborative interdisciplinary approaches to university-based social engagement; to further the research of participants and the interdisciplinary conversations to which their work contributes; and to identify, generate, and promote university/community partnerships for teaching, internships, creative work, and research.
Conveners: Christine Baeumler (Department of Art, CLA), and Kristine Miller (Department of Landscape Architecture, CALA).

2005-2007 — Art as Knowing

Art as Knowing
The Art as Knowing Collaborative comprises a working group of artists and scholars from across the arts, sciences, humanities and social sciences engaged in conversation about artistic practice and ways of knowing. Questions engaging the group include: How does art work as a way of producing, negotiating, and communicating knowledge? And how is that way of knowing of value across the disciplines as well as beyond the University? How do art theory and practice help us think about the forms of creativity, improvisation, visceral pleasure, and non-deliberative thought that inspire and occur in scholarship in every discipline? How can the arts stimulate new insights into recurrent problematics in the humanities, sciences and social sciences? And how can such a discussion be sensitive to cultural difference when the very category of “art” is itself an artifact of Western history?
Conveners: Lynn Lukkas (Department of Art, CLA) and Margaret Werry (Department of Theatre Arts, CLA).

2005-2006 — Asian/Asian American Bodies in Performance
Asian/Asian American Bodies in Performance
Convener: Josephine Lee, Department of English

05-10-18-DreamgirlsThe Asian/Asian American Bodies in Performance Research Collaborative focuses on the uses and representations of the Asian/Asian American body in both historical and contemporary settings. The group’s questions include the following: How do particular stagings of Asian/Asian American bodies intervene into the mainstream representations of Asian/Asian Americans? What are the shifts from “Asian” into “Asian American” bodies, and how do they complicate national and racial boundaries? How do these performances get produced, how do they circulate, who consumes them, and why? How does scholarly work on Asian and Asian American performance intersect with theories of nationalism, transnationality, and globalization?

2005-2007 — Asian Film Collaborative
Asian Film Collaborative
The Asian Film Collaborative considers the historically produced concept of Asian film with an eye toward the ways in which it has both guided and limited the production and reception of film from Asia through bi-weekly screenings, workshops, an Asian Film Collaborative website, and panel discussions. The collaborative has organized DocuLens Asia, a forum and film series of Asian documentary films.
Convener: Christine Marran (Department of Asian Languages and Literatures, CLA).
2007-2008 — Atlantic Worlds: Art and Globalization
Atlantic Worlds: Art and Globalization from Columbus to NAFTA
The Atlantic Worlds collaborative addresses the topic of globalization and visual culture in the Atlantic world. From slavery and the slave trade to race politics and free trade, from first contact and exchange with indigenous cultures to the current role of the indigenous within the global art market, from the formation of empire to the emergence of the modern nation state, the Atlantic has served as a space for globalization. The collaborative organized a conference on visual culture and globalization within the Atlantic world, held in conjunction with a spring 2008 interdisciplinary graduate seminar on the same topic.
Conveners: Michael Gaudio and Jane Blocker (Department of Art History, CLA).
2015-2016 — Bee Arts
aganetha dyck bee arts cropConveners:
Rebecca Masterman, Entomology, CFANS
Marla Spivak, Entomology, CFANS
Diana Eicher, Printshop & Paper Studio, MCAD
Irve Dell, Robert Rosen, Kira Obolensky, & Shawn McConneloug, The Gymnasium at Studio 206

Bee Arts will enact a series of events and opportunities for artists and scientists interested in “cross-pollinating” knowledge and ideas about bees. The current decline of bee populations poses a significant threat to our nation’s food system, but it also represents a larger decline in our planet’s health. Bee Arts activities and events will inspire cross-disciplinary artistic projects that ponder the role of bees beyond their economic necessity: how do bee matter in our creative lives, our community and environment, and our human history? Our collaborative aims to foster new relationships between artists and scientists through workshops, talks with invited speakers, development of collaborative projects, and a public exhibition. Core collaborators and facilitators of Bee Arts include University of Minnesota faculty from the Entomology Department, beekeepers from the UMN Extension program, and local and international artists.

2013-2014 — Beyond Science and Technology Studies (STS): A Critical Science Studies Collective
Beyond Science and Technology Studies (STS): A Critical Science Studies Collective
The CSSC is a group of U of M faculty from departments as diverse as sociology, history of science, technology, and medicine, anthropology, global studies, gender studies, and geography devoted to studying the production of science and technology and their powerful effects as they circulate through diverse cultures and societies, and how they are applied in a variety of contexts, concerning health, the environment, social organization, and productive processes. CSSC seeks to articulate a new way of understanding “science” by examining the relationships between knowledge and practice; and the applications of material knowledge to sociocultural concerns. Influenced by recent developments in critical theory, cultural studies and post-colonial studies, CSSC goes beyond the old Science and Technology Studies (STS) framework, with its focus on formalized Western “science” and “technology” instead of knowledge production, practice, and their application. CSSC members work in a variety of different time periods (early modern to the present) and places (Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas), thus lending analytical power to our collective work. Work plan includes: monthly meetings of works-in-progress and discussions of foundational readings; invited speakers giving a public presentation; a website; a year-end regional workshop; and planning for funding proposals.
Conveners: Jennifer Alexander, History of Science & Technology and Mechanical Engineering (CSE); Susan Craddock, Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies and Institute for Global Studies (CLA); Jennifer Gunn, History of Medicine (Medical School); Susan Jones, History of Science & Technology and Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior (CSE/CBS); Abigail Neely, Geography, Environment & Society (CLA); Dominique Tobbell, History of Medicine (Medical School)
2011-2013 — Black Environmental Thought
Black Environmental Thought II: Translocal and Transnational Dialogues and Collaborations
Environmental and agricultural philosophy and ethics deeply inform the practice of Black environmental thought, sustainable agriculture, and Black relationship to the land. Yet, the literature base and primary figures are predominantly European American. For African American environmentalists, farmers and those who have forged a relationship with the outdoors, there is little research or social learning opportunities available to gather together, learn more about how Black environmental thought can and does influence sustainable agriculture both as practice and social movement.
Conveners: Rose Brewer (African American & African Studies), Seitu Jones (City of Minneapolis, Department of Community Planning & Economic Development )
2014-2016 — Brecht’s America: Rehearsing Failure

brecht rehearsing failure 15-16 cropBrecht’s America — Rehearsing Failure

America became a driving force in Brecht’s artistic production in at least two ways: as an imaginary place and as a real and material site. The “Three Penny Opera”, “Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny” or “Saint Joan of the Stockyards”, on the one hand, are explorations of an imagined America, “Life of Galileo” (second version) or his film scripts from the 40s, on the other—written during Brecht’s American exile—are marked by Brecht’s experience of the “real place”.

This research collaborative departs from the assumption that “America”, in these two forms—real and imaginary—fundamentally determined what is nowadays understood as “Brechtian”. We will bring together faculty and students from German Studies, Theater Arts, professional actors and scholars from across the university to render visible what could be understood as the “ghostly presence” of America. “Ghostly” because we do not look for American themes, real events or persons, but for “America” as a site whose imagined and real presence is only traceable through its effects: it “induced” artistic failures, namely a failure of narration and a failure of authorship.

Our research collaborative is situated at the intersection of academic research and embodied artistic forms of exploration. We will make a forgotten Brecht fragment: “Joe Fleischhacker from Chicago” (1924-1929) accessible to a scholarly audience and the public at large. It had its world premier only in 1998 and has never been translated. We revisit or rather, take a new look at Brecht’s workshop, it’s logic, driving forces and accomplishments, that is, we detach it tentatively from the common perspectives of copyright or moral deceit. We do so by exploring and putting to a test the very models of collectivity and interdisciplinary that we claim to be Brecht’s secret legacy. Finally, with our focus on failure of narration and authorship we are able to address a much broader and—in view of contemporary economic crises—very timely question, namely that of “representation”. Put differently, we indulge into a quest for models, forms of description and analysis that do justice to the complexities of the world and can render them comprehensible.

Conveners: Lisa Channer, Theatre Arts and Dance, CLA; Matthias Rothe, German Scandinavian and Dutch, CLA

2012-2014 — Childhood and Youth Studies

Childhood and Youth Studies across the Disciplines
The emergent field of Childhood Studies (encompassing pre-adult phases of the life cycle more generally) is developing as an interdisciplinary conversation among a wide range of scholars. The field augments traditional disciplinary scholarship in sociology, history, anthropology, education, psychology, and other fields. Beginning with an understanding of “growing up” as a set of historically-bound practices neither naturally given nor entirely constructed, Childhood Studies traces various connections and processes through which childhood and youth come into being as categories and experiences. Some of the questions that Childhood Studies asks include: How do our conceptions of children govern what we do to/with them? How do these conceptions vary across time and cultures? How do we conceptualize children’s agency at different ages?
Conveners: Kysa Hubbard (Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature), Mary Jo Maynes (History)

2009-2014 — Choreography of the Moving Cell
Choreography of the Moving Cell Phase III: Bodystorming and Creating a Soundscape
Over the past two years, the Moving Cell Collaborative developed and deepened a fruitful creative and scientific relationship between biomedical engineer David Odde, choreographer Carl Flink and his performance group Black Label Movement (BLM). The collaborative primarily focused on illuminating Odde’s scientific research into the cell’s microtubules and the catastrophic system in which they exist; using these theories as source material in the creation of a choreographic event; and exploring if this relationship can substantively inform Odde’s and other scientists’ research. Moving Cell: 1) worked with composer John Toejnes to develop a sound and sensory system for its “Cellular Catastrophe Arena,” 2) planed “Bodystorming” trips to 2 sites beyond Minnesota that sent Odde, Flink and the BLM movers to work with scientists interested in examining how highly facile and daring dancers can substantively impact their research.
Conveners: Carl Flink (Dance) and David Odde (Biomedical Engineering)
2014-2015 — Code Work: Exploring Digital Studies Through Code
In this collaborative, we examine the possibility of establishing a Digital Studies minor or certificate at the University of Minnesota through the specific discursive, material, and historical character of code. Looking at such a fundamental element of the world we live in today, an element that forms, in Jussi Parikka’s words, the “algorithmic unconscious” of so much daily life, it is necessary to adopt a variety of lenses drawn from across the spectrum of knowledge production. Instead of focusing on disciplines, however, we will focus on themes such as writing, language, law, history, labor, and identity as they relate to code and coding. We envision our collaborative as a space for interdisciplinary engagement and collaboration, and hope to attain this by modeling a different type of interaction and communication, away from reading groups and panel discussions and more towards a lab environment, one focused on exploration of ideas as well as putting those ideas into practice, through code. In doing so, we hope to explore both the content of a Digital Studies program, as well as a possible pedagogical model for that program.

Conveners: Jeff Kerzner, Computer Science & Engineering, CSE; Chris Lindgren, Writing Studies, CLA; Alison Link, Extension; Justin Schell, U Libraries

2013-2014 — Commercial Sex, Research and Action
Commercial Sex, Research and Action: Toward an Engaged-University Approach to Juvenile Sex Trading?
Juvenile sex trading, federally defined as trafficking, has emerged as a critical social issue in Minnesota and the United States. But, it is stuck in a deep conceptual tangle of systems of exploitation, societal representation, shame and stigma, the experiences of youth (often profoundly harmful), profit, and desire. If sex trading was straightforward, it would be easy to theorize, understand, prevent and “solve.” It is difficult and messy with few “easy” answers; invoking multiple perspectives, identities, ideologies, and disciplines. Understanding sex trading requires inquiry and action across disciplines and sectors. As a research collaborative we will first excavate some of the discursive containers of juvenile sex trading with attention to the real-world experiences of young people and how these conceptual containers shape, constrain and enable action, prevention of harm, and intervention to promote healing. How should we define sex trafficking, prostitution, sex trading, and commercial sex in relation to juveniles? How will greater conceptual clarity matter in the lives of young people anyway? What can and should an engaged university do? Our goal is to contribute to the larger debates by engaging in a multi and cross-disciplinary collaboration, while also forming a basis for action research on sex trading.

Conveners: Heidi Lasley Barajas, Urban Research Outreach-Engagement Center (CEHD); Lauren Martin, Urban Research Outreach-Engagement Center (CEHD)

2007-2009 — Creating Culturally Informed Trauma Research

Creating Culturally Informed Trauma Research: An Interdisciplinary Approach
How can practitioners better respond to and treat individuals suffering from the effects of trauma? What role does culture play in how trauma is understood and responded to? How do traumatic life events affect different cultural groups, particularly non-Western groups, and particularly for this study, immigrants to the Twin Cities from Somalia and Oromo? And how can we better respond to the needs of these groups with respect to trauma?
Convener: Patricia Frazier (Psychology, CLA)

2012-2014 — Crisis Economics

Crisis Economics: Inciting Economics and Economy as Sites of Change
Crisis Economics operates from the premise that we inhabit a moment of crisis that is, at once, a socioeconomic crisis that has exacted a steep human toll and an epistemic crisis, where the self-assigned guardian of the economy, the discipline of economics, has proven abjectly inadequate or unable to anticipate, prevent, and diagnose this crisis. While there are different opinions about what ails mainstream economics, only diehard defenders of the discipline will claim that it is healthy. We approach the crisis as a moment of opportunity to rethink how economics is taught at institutions of higher education, to foreground heterodox approaches to the economy that have been sidelined by the discipline’s mainstream, and to reinvent pedagogy about the economy within the university and beyond. Embracing an experimental, action-oriented mode of engagement, we propose to orient the collaborative around the development of new curricular resources, teaching strategies, a writing initiative that will ideally result in a publishable compilation of mini-essays around the theme of “crisis economics”, and a large-enrollment undergraduate course. 
Conveners: Karen Ho (Anthropology), Vinay Gidwani (Geography, Institute for Global Studies)

2012-2014 — Critical Asian Studies

Critical Asian Studies
This collaborative seeks to develop a new model for Asian Studies for our current epoch often referred to as “the Asian century.” We intend to develop new intellectual, pedagogical, and outreach models for Asian Studies. Our consideration of Asian studies will include the geographical areas of South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and diasporic Asia. Our work will be interdisciplinary and consider the ways in which an approach that favors discipline-based methodology over nation-state based empiricism can enliven the field of Asian studies in the US. In other words, we will use the collaborative to develop an intellectual vision for the field of Asian studies suited to concerns of this century. The collaborative intends to focus on three directions for the study of Asia: Intra- Asian dynamics and movement – the movement of media, technology, and capital; environmental studies in Asia; and a critical examination of the category, “Asia.” In developing these thematic areas of inquiry, we will challenge established theoretical paradigms commonly used in the study of Asia; namely, postcolonial studies and the orientalist approach to the study of Asia that aligns theory with “the West” and empirical case study with “the East.” Conversation with the Collaborative.
Conveners: Hiromi Mizuno (History), Teri Caraway (Political Science), Timothy Gitzen (Anthropology)

2011-2013 — Digital Humanities 2.0
Digital Humanities 2.0
This project established a collaborative group, open to all interested parties at the University of Minnesota, to investigate and create new ways of advancing humanities research through advanced digitization and Web 2.0 technologies. Digital Humanities 2.0 will build on the strengths of existing scholarship both national and international to envision the next generation of digital humanities tools, techniques, and approaches. We gathered areas of research already in place at the University of Minnesota; brought in leading DH researchers from both the public and private sectors; and charted a path toward next-generation DH that leveraged our strengths and opened possibilities for key investments in new areas.
Conveners: Laura Gurak (Writing Studies) and Michael Hancher (English)
2013-2014 — Digital Storytelling Community of Practice
Digital Storytelling Community of Practice
Digital stories are first-person narratives about a person, place or event in one’s life, created with multimedia software to incorporate the storyteller’s voice, still and/or video images, and oftentimes background music. Digital storytelling is an increasingly popular medium for learning, and there is a growing interest in using digital storytelling in higher education. The practice of creating and sharing a digital story can be incredibly powerful because (students) gain valuable insight into how their personal histories shape their individual perspective and identity. In the classroom this leads to a personal application of knowledge learned and eventually what Baxter Magolda calls self-authorship, “…the internal capacity to define one’s beliefs, identity, and social relations”. The Digital Storytelling Community of Practice (DS COP) is a new creative collaborative of faculty, staff, and students who have knowledge and experience in effective digital storytelling in higher education. Much has been learned about digital storytelling in higher education on the part of individual University faculty and staff members and students. The DS COP has been established in order to share this information with each other as well as with the ever-growing population of faculty, staff, and students on campus who are interested in using digital storytelling in higher education. Community members come from a wide range of academic disciplines and departments, creating an innovative and synergistic group of digital storytellers.
Conveners: Steve Cisneros, Access to Success; Cristina Lopez, Office of Information Technology
2006-2007 — Disability Studies Initiative
Disability Studies Initiative
Disability Studies is a broadly construed, interdisciplinary line of study and scholarship. Disability Studies explores the complex dynamic of individual, family, social, economic, cultural, and historial phenomenon which converge in the construct of “disability.” The purpose of the Disability Studies Initiative Research Collaborative is to develop an interdisciplinary, cross-college set of courses aimed initially at undergraduate education.
Convener: Patrick McNamara (Department of History, CLA).
2008-2009 — Dubai, Inc.

Dubai, Inc.
How can the visual arts be used to raise critical questions about identity, economics, and sustainability with respect to the rapid growth of this global mega-city? How can art help communities to understand the benefits and consequences of rapid growth?
Convener: Andréa Stanislav (Art, CLA)

2009-2011 — Embodying Gilgamesh
Embodying Gilgamesh: New Physical Language for Staging Epic Texts – Part II: Layering Time
Recreating ancient texts as modern performance and incoprorating a careful study of ancient Sumerian culture and religion provides the basis for this cooperation between Theatre Arts and Dance and Classical and Near Eastern Studies. Taking inspiration from Jungian ideas about mythic archetypes and the “shadow aspect” of human consciousness, we have begun a search for a way to seamlessly link characters — from their shadow/mythic manifestation rooted in ancient forms, to their contemporary character’s physicality that is inspired by that shadow. To that end, we have structured the piece to take place in five distinct times and locations; ancient Uruk, Victorian England, the Vietnam war, the Iraq war and the Near Future. The completed piece will include layered video projection to create simultaneous but distinct “physical time signatures” for the multiple characters played by the twelve performers and a final performance will play at the Southern Theater September 24-October 3, 2010.
Conveners: Lisa Channer (Theatre Arts and Dance) and Eva von Dassow (Classical and Near Eastern Studies)
2014-2015 — Engaged Art in the Social Sphere
engaged art crop7Hosted by the Katherine Nash Gallery (located in the Regis Center for Art, Department of Art,) “Engaged Art in the Social Sphere: Labor, Location, Community, Transformation” is an ambitious, multi-layered and innovative four-month collaboration of faculty with the internationally recognized Walker Art Center. The project will provide a platform for a series of revolving exhibitions, on-site participatory workshops, and dialogues focusing on artists and organizations that are leaders in the field of socially engaged art practice. The field of socially engaged art practice involves participation, collaboration, and cross-disciplinary approaches to facilitate dialogue and investigate current social, political and ecological issues of our time. This form of artistic practice is rapidly gaining attention worldwide as artists use their creative thinking and making in an effort to create social change.

Conveners: Christine Baeumler, Art, CLA; Ashley Duffalo, Walker Art Center; Howard Oransky, Nash Gallery and Art, CLA; Christina Schmid, Art, CLA; Sarah Schultz, Walker Art Center

2015-2016 — Environmental Humanities
environmental humanities finland banner3 cropConveners:
Daniel Philippon, English, CLA
Charlotte Melin, German, Scandinavian and Dutch, CLA

The environmental humanities is a rich interdisciplinary field of study, involving the sub-disciplines of environmental literature, environmental history, environmental philosophy, environmental communication, religious studies, and physical and cultural geography, among other disciplines. The field seeks to apply both traditional and cutting-edge research and teaching methods and recognizes that the insights of the humanities are necessary to interpret and address contemporary environmental problems. The purpose of this collaborative is to create opportunities that will bring together the diverse faculty working in environmental humanities areas at the University of Minnesota for the exchange of ideas, to engage other university colleagues in transformative discussions about the research approaches and pedagogies of the environmental humanities, and to consider strategies for sustaining current efforts on a long-term basis. Fundamental to the project is the recognition that the environmental humanities must play a vital role in addressing global “grand challenges” of the 21st century (like climate change, food security, community resilience).

2011-2012 — Failure

This collaborative seeks to construct an intellectual history of failure. A thorough investigation of failure as a fundamental element of human thought will allow for a more rigorous theorization of certain attendant concepts, such as success, progress, creativity, and ethics. While seemingly an enormous task, this project will be limited by a practical goal: to better understand the work of failure as it operates within humanistic inquiry, from scholarly writing to research to pedagogy. This collaborative will take on three modest goals: 1) trace a genealogy of failure; 2) begin an account of methodologies of failure in research and pedagogy; 3) offer a platform for sharing resources to make manifest the presence of failure in creative and research practices.
Conveners: Juliette Cherbuliez (French and Italian), Bruno Chaouat (Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies), Margaret Werry (Theatre Arts and Dance)

2006-2008 — The Film Collaborative

Film Collaborative
The Film collaborative seeks to foster the research and creative work of its members, which is a coalition of scholars, critics, artists, and filmmaking professionals devoted to the appreciation, study, research, and practice of cinema. Its aim is to create an environment within which cinema can be valued and recognized as a strong disciplinary partner, with its own historical paths and techno-artistic know-how. Its members also wish to intervene in the “disciplining” of cinema studies. Traditionally, cinema as a discipline has been divided between production and study; the former is subcategorized into studio and independent films, and the latter structured around divisions between formalism and theoretical approaches, and nationalist and auteurist biases. Their goal in 2007-2008 was to seek new paths cutting across such entrenchments. Film Collaborative members contribute to the University’s E-Center for Film.
Conveners: Rembert Hüser (Department of German, Scandinavian, and Dutch, CLA), Siobhan Craig (Department of English, CLA), Christine Marran (Department of Asian Languages and Literatures, CLA), and Hisham Bizri (Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, CLA)..

2015-present — Fused Realities: Theorizing the Anthropocene
fused realities anthropocene crop4Conveners:
Randy Hanson, GUESS, CLA, Duluth
David Gore, Communication, CLA, Duluth
Rochelle Zuck, English, CLA, Duluth

The “Anthropocene” was proposed by Paul Crutzen to denote a) increasing anthropogenic transformations of Earth’s land, ocean, atmosphere, and biota; and b) to recognize a new, geological epoch in which human activities have ushered us out of the Holocene and into an emergent, unpredictable Anthropocene. The Anthropocene’s industrial triggers, which have historically benefited northern hemispheric societies, raise issues of distributive justice. They portend greater impacts for future generations, including planetary changes that are triggering a sixth mass extinction. Though framed as a scientific concept, the Anthropocene raises profound questions of politics, morality and justice that the Liberal Arts are well positioned to address.

The Anthropocene Research Collaborative (ARC) aspires to deepen engagement with the Anthropocene at UMD, an institution poised on the largest surface freshwater system on Earth. The ARC will promote:
1) Scholarly Dialogue: an interdisciplinary reading group and scholarly presentations; collaboration with UMD’s Alworth Center to harmonize speakers around a common theme;
2) Publication and Research: publications that engage the themes explored over the year; the creation of an ARC blog; and the creation of a digital library of publications and media associated with the Anthropocene; and
3) Long-Range Planning and Sustainability: planning a conference on “The Anthropocene and the Liberal Arts.”

2006-2008 — Global Sexualities

Global Sexualities: Methodologies and Spaces — Transgressing National and Disciplinary Boundaries
The Global Sexualities Research Collaborative comprises an interdisciplinary group committed to breaking new ground in the understanding of sexualities in a comparative and historical perspective. The group is committed to a comparative exploration of the meanings of sexuality, how discourses of gender and sexuality intersect in different ways over space and time, how sexualities function in different cultures and historical eras, and how globalization affects sexual discourses. The collaborative explores the range of methodologies and theoretical approaches most useful for addressing such problems. While some aspects of sexuality have been heavily theorized, this collaborative wishes to examine theoretical assumptions and explore fresh approaches.
Conveners: Anna Clark and Kevin Murphy (Department of History, CLA).

2014-2015 — Governance of Emerging Technological Systems
Emerging technologies (ETs) such as nanotechnology, genetic engineering, neuroscience and neurotechnology, synthetic biology, geoengineering, robotics, and others present significant governance challenges given their rapid pace of development and often game-changing nature. Many of these ETs simultaneously present great opportunities to address a broad range of societal problems (e.g., diagnosing and treating diseases, preventing and remediating environmental hazards, creating jobs and economic opportunity, reducing global poverty and resource constraints, and many others), as well as a range of environmental, health, and safety concerns, and legal, ethical, and societal implications. Given the nascence of ETs, their future scientific, ethical, and societal impacts, both positive and negative, remain uncertain. Recent studies indicate that while the public is excited about the potential benefits of ETs, they are also concerned about who is developing and promoting the technology, who will assess and manage potential risks, and who will be liable for potential problems (Kuzma et al., 2008; Cobb & Macoubrie, 2004; Macoubrie, 2005, 2006; Pidgeon, 2006). Consequently, the deployment of ETs is often contentious, contributing to the polarization of stakeholder groups. Accordingly, there is a need for trusted and open places for dialogue, mutual learning, and understanding. New analytical methods are also needed to evaluate emerging technologies and governance before and during research and development and commercial scale-up.

Governance challenges raised by ETs involve funders, researchers, developers, investors, producers, regulators and users of emerging technologies and the systems in which they operate. It is important to understand not only the challenges and opportunities associated with each stakeholder and subsystem of governance, but also their interactions which ultimately affect how technologies are developed and deployed in society. Indeed, while there is broad consensus in the literature that ETs require governance, questions remain as to the types of governance systems that would best serve the twin goals of achieving a climate that is conducive to innovation for social benefit and ensuring the prevention of environmental and health risks and respect for the values of diverse stakeholders. Modern governance tools include a range of diverse approaches spanning from regulatory controls to voluntary oversight systems (Kuzma, 2006). The decision of whether to impose a governance system, what type of system (e.g., mandatory or voluntary) and at what level (e.g., federal, state, local, institutional) can have a significant impact on technology development, stakeholder interests, and public attitudes and trust towards technological products, technology developers, and governance structures (Kuzma et al., 2008; Rabino, 1994; Zechendorf, 1994; Siegrist, 2000; Cobb & Macoubrie, 2004; Macoubrie, 2005, 2006).

There have been few forums for diverse stakeholders to come together on neutral or balanced ground with real input into policy. Even when this has occurred, the conversation has been largely limited to “the science.” However, by necessity, values underlie conversations about governance. There is a need to think in more nuanced ways about governance and to engage stakeholders in meaningful debate beyond “science.” Engagement with real input into decisions, if done well, has been shown to increase legitimacy, bi-directional learning, and mutual respect. Stakeholder and public deliberation have been demonstrated in case studies to improve the quality of decisions (NRC, 1996). Given that ET products are just beginning to enter markets, this is a crucial time for governance exercises to engage technology developers and the public in conversations about potential upstream applications and provide real opportunities for meaningful input into decision-making.

Conveners: Leili Fatehi, Public Affairs; Lewis Gilbert, Institute on the Environment; R. Lee Penn, Chemistry, CSE; Francis Shen, Law

2011-present — Heritage
Teaching Heritage Collaborative: New Pedagogies
Following on the connections made in the Locating Heritage Collaborative, the Teaching Heritage Collaborative seeks to investigate the prospects and possibilities of a more formalized program of research and education drawing upon the diverse voices about heritage at the University. Heritage is a term which has come to encompass the objects/subjects of study, protection, preservation and education across a wide range of disciplines. Until relatively recently, topics as diverse as landscapes, histories, folk art, archaeological remains, archives, architecture and the built environment, natural environment, languages, and traditional cultural practices were studied and protected by specialized practitioners and communities. Scholars in those fields now recognize the significant elision or interdigitation of concepts previously approached as distinct realms, like culture and nature, social memory and history, past and present.
Conveners: Katherine Hayes (Anthropology), Phyllis Messenger (IAS), Patrick Nunnally (Institute on the Environment), Gregory Donofrio (Architecture), Anduin Wilhide (History), Daniela Sandler (Architecture)

2009-2010Locating Heritage
As a multi-disciplinary field, heritage studies draws upon disciplines as diverse as anthropology, art history, historic preservation, cultural studies, tourism studies, planning and more. Recently, scholars and practitioners have opened a dialogue about ways to identify, interpret, and conserve a broader range of heritage resources, and the field is beginning to investigate manifestations of heritage that are neither static, fixed, or contiguous.
Conveners: Kate Solomonson (College of Design), Gregory Donofrio (Architecture), Nancy A. Miller (Architecture)

2009-2011 — HumanNonhuman

The HumanNonhuman Research Collaborative
This collaborative has as its goal the sustained contemplation of the complex interconnections among humans, animals and their environment. The collaborative promotes the discussion, presentation and publication of scholarly and artistic work on the social, cultural and representational aspects of human-nonhuman relationships. Its members discuss and consider new ways for thinking through ecological concerns and relations among humans and nonhumans (plants and animals).
Conveners: Christine Marran (Asian Languages and Literatures), and Bruce Braun (Geography)

2015-2016: Implementation and the Policy Paradox: Conversations around Combined Heat and Power
combined heat and power
Vivek Bhandari, Science Technology and Environmental Policy, Humphrey School
Tim Smith, Institute on the Environment, CFANS
Laura Babcock, MnTap, SPH

Creating sustainable energy systems requires new technology, energy markets and regulatory frameworks. The University of Minnesota’s $96 million project to construct a state of the art Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant provides a unique opportunity for facilitating conversations and collaborations to this end. This collaborative will use the project as a focal point to facilitate multiple vital interdisciplinary conversations on energy and critical infrastructure. These conversations will link technical knowledge with policy, economics and practice. We will work with practitioners and academics across a series of meetings, informing the discussion with interviews, and focus groups. The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MNTAP) will be our critical partner, linking businesses contemplating investments in new energy technologies with policy and research communities. The focus of this collaborative is to explore challenges of policy implementation, examining where institutions are open and able to make changes and where more challenges remain. Energy studies are inherently interdisciplinary and the members of this collaborative share common interest and commitment to bring together key actors to exchange their knowledge. Based on these interactions, and using the new CHP plant as a centerpiece, we will develop a grounded model of technology innovation and energy system change.

2014-present — Improvising Ecosystems

The Improvising Ecosystems Research/Creative Collaborative has been developing new modalities for activating aesthetic, empathetic, and inquiring relationships with particular ecosystems at specific moments in time. Our creative collaborations have been sparked by intensive ecological research site visits led by scientists. Subsequently, our group, comprised of artists, musicians, and landscape architects, newly aware of these perspectives, seeks to know these ecosystems directly. We explore the land attuned to sensory experience and intuition, enhanced by a receptive state of mind and critical stance towards the perspectives that inform our varied disciplinary knowledge.

We are expanding our approach to embrace local Twin City Metro spaces of feral, interstitial, transitional, urban ecologies that we perceive to be spontaneous and improvisational unto themselves. We intend to continue collaborations begun with local musicians and artists who have introduced us to cultural perspectives and practices that are inherently ecological. Our unifying quest into this subsequent year is to delve deeply into varied practices of improvisation and relationships between improvisation and receptivity. Awareness of creative and ecological improvisation will inform the public presentation of our creative work.

Conveners: Diane Willow, Art, CLA; Scott Currie, Music, CLA; Matthew Tucker, Landscape Architecture, CDES; Maja Radovanlija, Music, CLA

2013-2014 — Interpretation and Translation Studies at the University
Interpretation and Translation Studies at the University
The focus of the IAS Collaborative on Interpretation and Translation Studies at the University (CITSU) was a two-pronged but integrated line of inquiry: to promote the theory and practice of translation and interpretation studies across the University, from the humanities to the sciences; and to investigate new institutional structures where that work can occur, from new curricula to degree-granting bodies and outreach efforts. Although there has been an institutional history, both at the University of Minnesota and in the nation, of separating interpretation training from translation studies, we believe that an integration of these fields of intellectual inquiry will produce a more dynamic and robust discipline, one that answers to and encourages the calls for new interdisciplinary endeavors at the University. Current manifestations of interpretation and translation studies at the University, from courses to training to research projects, have no center and little integrated logic. This collaborative was a mechanism to draw those parts together and to promote more integrated structures. The conveners represent those interested in practice, in its various forms, as well as theory and politics. Its goal was to reach across the disciplines and divisions, from the humanities to the social sciences, professions, and sciences.
Conveners: Joseph Allen, Asian Languages and Literatures (CLA); Scott Homler, Translation & Interpreting (CCE); Charlotte Melin, German, Scandinavian & Dutch (CLA); Shaden Tageldin, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature (CLA)
2008-2009 — The Making of Global Cities

The Making of Global Cities

What are the economic, political and social processes that are shaping how mega-cities of the global South are being transformed, as they seek to become global cities? What are the implications of these changes for addressing important social issues such as expanding slums, insecure land rights, unequal access to public goods (such as water or health care), and environmental problems? What alternative theories and practices of development are emerging in the global South that could foster more socially and ecologically sustainable cities?
Conveners: Michael Goldman (Sociology, CLA), Helga Leitner (Geography, CLA), Eric Sheppard (Geography, CLA), Ragui Assaad (Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs), and Joe Allen (Asian Languages and Literatures, CLA).

2007-2008 — Mapping the Determinants of Health and Behavior

Mapping the Determinants of Health and Behavior: Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Dietary Behavior

The health and well-being of people—and the societies to which they belong—rest on a complex set of relations that connect biological, psychological, social, cultural, and environmental systems, but to date efforts to promote health and alleviate disease have focused primarily on the operations of a single system or level of analysis. There is emerging consensus among both researchers and practitioners that future innovations in efforts to improve dietary behavior critically depend on the development of new models that capture the interdependencies among the biological, psychological, and environmental systems that regulate people’s health and health practices. The formation of a multidisciplinary research collaborative is a critical first step toward the design of innovative multi-level models that will facilitate the development of an evidence base that can guide new approaches to improving people’s dietary practices and, in turn, improve their health.
Conveners: Alexander Rothman (Department of Psychology, CLA) and Simone French (Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, AHC).

2015-present — Mapping Inquiries into Mind and Consciousness Across the Academy
descartes mind body consciousness premodernConveners (2015-16):
JB Shank, History, CLA
Apostolos Georgopoulos, Neuroscience, Medical School

Conveners (2016-17):
Michael Maratsos, Child Psychology, CEHD
Thomas Wolfe, History, CLA

Originally titled, “Beyond Modernist Understanding of Consciousness,” we are an interdisciplinary and cross-college group of scholars interested in the state of rela8ons between the sciences of the mind and humanistic disciplines, and have held a series of monthly conversations about texts that negotiate, cross, and examine this fluid boundary. We have renamed our collaborative, “Mapping Inquiries into Mind and Consciousness Across the Academy,” to signal the ways that our meetings have changed from a project of “going beyond” to “mapping terrains of inquiry” into mind and consciousness. We will invite several scholars to campus for spring 2017, and will begin the process of planning a course taught by members of our group whose goal is not just to juxtapose different ways of knowing and analyzing consciousness, but to actively break down the divide between them.

2012-2013 — Mapping Spectral Traces

Mapping Spectral Traces: A Dakota Place
Mapping Spectral Traces (MST) is an international network of scholars, artists, and community leaders who work with and in traumatized communities, contested lands, and diverse environments. We value a socially engaged creative practice, to ‘map’ the unseen and unacknowledged difficult pasts that continue to structure present-day social relations. We share our work through workshops/projects/publications/exhibitions. The MST network is convening in Minnesota in October 2012 for a special event, workshops, and exhibitions to be held at the University of Minnesota and the Mill City Museum. We are organizing with our community partners, an innovative event to listen, and only listen, to Dakota elders and artists as they share stories and knowledge of their homeland. Through follow up workshops and ongoing dialogue, MST members and invited community members (Dakota and not-Dakota) will reflect and exchange thoughts on the role of history, story and land in contested places. The MST Collaborative will facilitate all of this work and the production of a catalogue to document and reflect on Mapping Spectral Traces: A Dakota Place.
Conveners: Rebecca Krinke (Landscape Architecture), Christine Baeumler, Joyce Lyon, Gulgun Kayim, Mona Smith, Pat Nunnally (Institute on the Environment), Karen Kinoshita (Institute for Advanced Study)

2006-2007 — Markets in Time: Capitalism and Power

Markets in Time: Capitalism and Power
This collaborative seeks to bring together scholars engaged in conceptualizing and explaining capitalism and its highly variable expressions. The common effort of these scholars is to explore conceptions of capitalism and markets as a constructed set of relationships among people and places, over time and space, in contradistinction to capitalism or markets as pre-given, self-augmenting powers.
Conveners: Tracey Deutsch (Department of History, CLA), George Henderson (Department of Geography, CLA), and Karen Ho (Department of Anthropology, CLA).

2009-2013— Mediterranean Identities/Mediterranean Exchange
Mediterranean Exchange from the Middle Ages to Today
In its fourth year, the Mediterranean collaborative will to focus on the broad theme of Mediterranean exchange, collaborating in an ambitious series of lectures on Venice in fall 2012 and organizing a video conference with the Santa Cruz Mediterranean seminar. We also hope to bring in three international speakers from diverse Mediterranean backgrounds for a symposium in April 2013. We wish to establish ties with institutions abroad, and attendance by our members at Mediterranean Studies Association meetings is facilitating these aims, as is the TASI summer seminar that may again be held at Minnesota in the near future.
Conveners: Kathryn Reyerson (History), Patricia Lorcin (History), John Watkins (English)
2008-2009 — Mexico-Minnesota Dialogue

Mexico-Minnesota Dialogue: Past, Present, Future

How can we understand Mexican-Minnesota migration through historical, contemporary, and future perspectives, and what does this migration mean economically, educationally, and politically for Minnesota? How can the U of M better serve the Mexican and Mexican-American communities in Minnesota?
Conveners: Patrick McNamara (History, CLA), Joan Dejaeghere (Educational Policy and Administration, CEHD), and Kristi Rudelius-Palmer (Human Rights Center, Law School).

2012-2014 — Music and Sound Studies

Music and Sound Studies Interdisciplinary Graduate Group
Since the inception of the Music and Sound Studies Initiative as an IAS collaborative in 2008, dozens of scholars from all over the world have come to the University of Minnesota to share their research in the burgeoning area of sound studies. Now known as the Interdisciplinary Music and Sound Studies Graduate Group, the initiative has developed an international profile, afforded its participants valuable opportunities for scholarship, creative activity, and professional development, and set up an online clearinghouse for relevant abstracts and video content at Now reestablished as an IAS collaborative, we continue with our mission: to bring leading sound studies experts to the University of Minnesota and promote interdisciplinary research that unites specialists in music theory, historical musicology, ethnomusicology, music cognition, communications studies, and cultural theory, among other disciplines.
Conveners: Laura Schmitz (Music) and Eloise Boisjoli (Music)

Music and Sound Studies Initiative 2008-2009
How are new technologies and research interests changing the way we understand the category “music”? How should the institutional study of music at U of M respond to the emerging interdisciplinary field of “sound studies,” which brings together researchers who focus on sound from such perspectives as media; linguistics; speech and language; space, environment and architecture; sensory perception; physics, etc.?
Convener: Sumanth Gopinath (Music, CLA)

2010-2011 — No Boundaries
No Boundaries
The No Boundaries project is a collaborative research and performance project between the African American Studies, Dance & Theater, and History Departments that investigates racial construction, embodiment, performance, and identity. Through multiple venues and media, we will conduct a series of activities, including master classes, a lecture, a concert, and audience driven panel discussions that explore the utility and consequences of racial categories, aesthetic choices, and knowledge practices. Convener: Diana Dinerman (History)
2010-2011 — The Origin of Image Making: Behavioral Ecology of Cephalopods and Art

The Origin of Image Making: Behavioral Ecology of Cephalopods and Art
Why do we make images, where do they come from and what is their primary function? Human image production and image distribution systems have made rapid growth to the level of unimaginable saturation in urban contemporary life through design, architecture, city planning, Internet, fine arts, and other media. The Origin of Image Making: Behavioral Ecology of Cephalopods and Art brings together scientific, humanistic and artistic attempts to investigate these ever critical existential questions by examining the cognitive and interpretive systems of the adoptive coloration of cuttlefish as a model to code and to re-map visual information such as paintings, photographs and video. 
Convener: Ryuta Nakajima (Art & Design, Fine Arts-UMD)

2007-2013, 2015-16 — Performance and Social Justice

Performance and Social Justice: A Corporeal Creative Research Project about Women and Violence
In this phase of the Performance and Social Justice Collaborative’s anti-violence quartet, we will create and produce Mohona/Estuaries of Desire, a performance project investigating the multiple impacts of violence through the paradigm of water. Working through an intersection of traditional scholarly research, and improvisation-based embodied knowing, we seek to foreground multiple epistemologies in seeking understanding and sharing knowledge about specific contexts of gendered violence and the harnessing of a natural resource such as water through corporate monopolies, and how they collude in devastating multiple communities. Working with bodies and movement to both investigate and produce knowledge, this project will emphasize in particular the materiality of women’s struggles in these contexts and the ways in which women have reimagined their lives in response. Other events marking our process will be workshops for project participants, workshops for community and youth groups, showings, dialogues, “community conversations,” and formal presentations. The Collaborative will also prepare a manuscript bringing together critical readings of the performance, reflections on the process, and poetry and visual art that responds to the work and process. 

For 2015-16, the Collaborative will work through a community-engaged research methodology to investigate indigenous systems of healing, modes of emotional recuperation, and strategies of coping and healing that fall outside the realm of institutionalized Medicine. Intersections of epistemologies from a range of disciplines, traditional scholarly research, communally held knowledge, and improvisation-based embodied knowing will characterize our work. Working with a licensed physician and an indigenous healer, we will research the physiological and emotional shifts that are identified as “restorative,” inquire into the role of imagination, and explore group healing. The end goals of this project are to create (a) Horidraa, an evening-length performance project bringing together multiple perspectives on how women activate hope and healing, and (b) an anthology of essays and reflections about the work of the Collaborative and its impact, by scholars and artists. Other events marking our process will be interactive public performances, workshops for community and youth groups, showings, dialogues, “community conversations,” and formal presentations.

Conveners: Ananya Chatterjea (Theatre Arts and Dance), Jigna Desai (Gender Women, and Sexuality Studies), Rose Brewer (African American & African Studies), Roli Dwivedi, (Family Medicine/Community Health), Hui Wilcox (Sociology, St. Catherine’s University)

2011-2013— Performing the Enlightenment
Performing the Enlightenment in the Twenty-First Century
This project seeks to re-open a discussion on the Enlightenment in times of today’s economic crisis when the basic driver of the academe is the distribution of resources. The propensity to avoid moral considerations and to restrict ourselves to issues of profit and loss — economic questions in the narrowest sense — is not instinctive. It is an acquired taste as Adam Smith and Marquis de Condorcet noted already in the eighteenth century. This being the case, the collaborative intends to historicize this propensity by investigating the Enlightenment anew (and, by extension, our situation today). Thus, how did we today come to think in exclusively economic terms?
Convener: Michal Kobialka (Theatre Arts and Dance)
2015-present — Physical Computing and the Internet of Things
internet of things cropConveners:
Lana Yarosh, Computer Science and Engineering, CSE
Loren Terveen, Computer Science and Engineering, CSE
Lucy Dunne, Wearable Technology Lab, CDES
Barry Kudrowitz, Product Design, CDES
Diane Willow, Art, CLA
Brad Holschuh, Wearable Technology Lab, CDES

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the network and data that emerge from adding physical computing components such as sensors, actuators, and network adapters to everyday objects. This new area of research promises to revolutionize our interaction with the physical world by providing levels of analytics and automation previously reserved for digital domains. While IoT is of increasing importance to both industry and research, University of Minnesota has yet to capitalize on this opportunity, perhaps because of institutional boundaries that slow our development in this area. IoT developments require collaborations between Computer Scientists who manage the data models and information flows of such a network and Designers who create physical computing objects to provide a compelling user experience. The goal of this collaborative is to enable such a collaboration and help develop students with the skills to lead IoT research and development in the future through two synergistic activities: weekly “hack” sessions where Computer Science and Design students learn new IoT and physical computing skills, and a monthly seminar to create a community and connect with relevant internal and external entities with IoT interest and expertise.

2007-2008 — The Poetix Collaborative

The Poetix Collaborative
The Poetix Collaborative is dedicated to the cross-cultural study of poetics and poetry and to performing poetic works for campus and non-campus communities alike. Foremost among its multiple aims is to encourage scholarly exchanges on poetics across disciplinary divides and institutions, to make poetry more visible, viable, and embodied, and to establish links with locally, nationally, and globally practicing poets and poetics scholars.
Conveners: Maria Damon (Department of English, CLA), and Cristophe Wall-Romana (Department of French and Italian, CLA).

2005-2006 — Politics of Populations
Politics of Populations
The Politics of Populations Research Collaborative took a leadership role in designing the 2005-06 University Symposium. During this academic year, the group met biweekly for the purpose of launching broad interdisciplinary conversations on topics that parallel the University Symposium: spaces of exclusion and inclusion; understanding genocides; the legal, cultural, and psychological dimensions of citizenship and migration; the politics of epidemics; teaching about race; and art and diasporas. During fall semester 2005, members of the collaborative introduced one another to various disciplinary approaches. During spring semester 2006, the group’s work focused more intently on developing research projects, course proposals and thematic groups.
Conveners: M. J. Maynes, Department of History, and Evelyn Davidheiser, Institute for Global Studies.
2014-2015 — Private for the Public Good? Media Treatments of Education, Citizenship and Opportunity in the United States
Although the fields of communication studies, political science, gender studies, cultural studies, and educational studies share several core intellectual commitments—such as seeking understanding of the political economy of knowledge production, as well as how cultural forms and social practices are produced and circulated within and across diverse contexts—there is not an extensive history of interdisciplinary inquiry or dialogue across these fields. This project is aimed at facilitating new scholarship and interdisciplinary dialogue on the relationship between media, schooling, and civic engagement in the United States. Since the Soviet Union successfully launched the Sputnik satellite into space, American education has become a regular object of media attention, and a recurring trope for the strength, modernity, and political wellbeing of the nation. While news reports critical of the educational system in the United States are not new, the last two decades have seen great growth in journalistic, documentary film, and other entertainment media examining schooling and the production of desirable knowledge.

These media treatments of educational crisis raise three interrelated questions about citizenship and education:
• What kinds of citizens should schools produce? st
• What kind of knowledge, skills, and attitudes are seen as germane to 21st century citizenship?
• What ideological system undergirds current media constructions of “education reform,” and how does it inform public understanding of the U.S. educational system?

Conveners: Roozbeh Shirazi, Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, CEHD; Mary Vavrus, Communication Studies, CLA

2015-2016 — Product Design, Social Science and the Humanities
product designConveners:
William Beeman, Anthropology, CLA
William Durfee, Mechanical Engineering, CSE
Lana Yarosh, Computer Science and Engineering, CSE
Joseph Konstan, Computer Science and Engineering, CSE

This Collaborative will combine the expertise of researchers in Anthropology, Computer Science, and Mechanical Engineering to explore the relationship between the fields of product design; computer science; and the social sciences and humanities. Product design is a notoriously difficult process. It requires the integration of relevant qualitative human factors data with the quantitative data essential to reaching concrete decisions about the specific functionality and appearance of product features that will satisfy consumer needs. Because product design failure is extensive in industry, improving design process systems will have far-reaching implications across a wide range of industries and markets. The product design process also presents important intellectual problems concerning methods for the integration of qualitative and quantitative data—a longstanding intellectual problem in the sciences, social science and engineering. The Collaborative will meet to discuss ways to advance scientific knowledge of methods for integrating qualitative and quantitative data in the design process.

Design Anthropology is an emerging field that tries to improve the process of integrating quantitative data with qualitative human factors data through the introduction of rigorous ethnographic fieldwork methods to the product design process, along with processes common to the humanities, such as cultural aesthetics and narrative processes. The Collaborative will explore existing product design systems as used in major Design firms, such as IDEO (Palo Alto, CA) and Worrell (Minneapolis). The Collaborative will meet eight times during the academic year and involve colleagues from the University of Minnesota, relevant graduate students and for each session an experienced practitioner from the fields of Product Design and Design Anthropology. Outside collaborators will be invited from the Product Design Management Association and members of the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference. The Collaborative will lay the foundation for further collaboration in research grants, professional publications and classroom training for undergraduates and graduate students.

2007-2008, 2009-2011 — Reconfiguring Rhetorical Studies: Modern Rhetoric and Visual Rhetoric
Reconfiguring Rhetorical Studies: The Modern Rhetoric Project and the Visual Rhetoric Project
The Reconfiguring Rhetorical Studies Collaborative of 2007-2008 investigated the intersections in rhetorical studies across the disciplines of communication studies and composition. Its ongoing tasks are to undertake and promote research that moves beyond the departmental and disciplinary divisions that fragment the rhetorical tradition through presentation and collaborative review, to engage cutting-edge research in rhetoric by scholars outside the Duluth campus, and to create conditions promoting undergraduate and graduate research projects which take advantage of the full scope of the rhetorical tradition.
In 2009-2010, the Collaborative turned to the questions, “To what extent is modern rhetorical theory a rearticulation or transformation of classical rhetorical theories?” “To what extent is modern rhetorical theory a rupture from its classical roots in response to social, aesthetic or technological changes?” and “Can we use modern rhetorical theories to generate contemporary rhetorical criticism?” These discussions were followed in 2010-2011 by an emphasis on visual rhetoric. There are many scholars who study visual communication, an area of research at the nexus of multiple disciplines. Art historians and design theorists approach vis-comm, for example, with a different canon and a different apparatus than scholars in media studies. This diverse array of studies result in fragmentation as well as synthesis and a balkanization of research in visual rhetorical studies. At the same time, while it is clear that publication venues represent lines of disciplinary demarcation, there are common touchpoints and common materials at the base of these radically different disciplinary constructions. This collaborative continued to interrogate what has been at the core of its work since 2007: what is uniquely rhetorical about this phenomenon. What does it means to speak of “visual rhetoric” instead of “visual literacy” and “visual communication?”
Conveners: David Beard and Kenneth Marunowski (Writing Studies, UMN Duluth) and David Gore, Michael Pfau , Elizabeth Nelson, and Mark Huglen (Communication, UMN Crookston).

2013-2015 — Reframing Mass Violence
Reframing Mass Violence
The Reframing Mass Violence Collaborative has explored the particular developments and transnational entaglements of social memories in societies revisiting their legacies of dictatorship, state terror, and grave human rights violations. In 2013-14 the focus was on Latin America and Southern Europe; in 2014-15 the focus is post-Stalinist Europe. In each case the collaborative examines the contemporary processes of re-interpretation and re-framing of a) the atrocities themselves and b) the transitional justice models that were adopted in their aftermaths. The collaborative also invites international experts to discuss their work in several forums and to engage in dialogue with local scholars, students, and the university community.
Conveners: Alejandro Baer Sociology, Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies (CLA); Joachim Savelsberg, Sociology (CLA); Kathryn Sikkink, Political Science (CLA); Barbara Frey, Human Rights Program (CLA)
2013-2014 — Resilient Infrastructures
Resilient Infrastructures
Organized around a theme of “Resiliency and Failure,” this research collaborative explored—through public, academic, and pedagogic programming—how complex infrastructures (cultural, political, policy-based, economic, social, urban, and ecological systems) are networked (or not), constructed (or fragmented), dynamic (or static) within complex city and regional landscapes. Duluth, Minnesota, served as an immersive and extensive local case study and test-field for global issues. Organizers, participants, and students contributed a series of positioning/visioning papers (in addition to the studio coursework) towards establishing the research collaborative as a long-term initiative at the University.
Conveners: Ozayr Saloojee, Architecture (CDes); Vincent DeBritto, Landscape Architecture (CDes); Cynthia Lapp, Landscape Architecture (CDes); Jamuna Golden, Landscape Architecture (CDes)
2008-2009 — Rethinking Statehood – Minnesota at 150

Rethinking Statehood: Sovereignty, Memory and Citizenship in Minnesota 150 
What have been the historical, cultural, and political relationships between the University of Minnesota, American Indian sovereign governments, and the larger Twin Cities community? How can more just futures and a more vibrant University be imagined through learning from contemporary American Indian ways of living and knowing in the realms of politics, law, science, education and community outreach, and the performing and visual arts?
Conveners: Brenda Child (American Indian Studies, CLA), Chris Baeumler (Art, CLA), and Sonja Kuftinec (Theatre Arts and Dance, CLA).

2014-2015 — Rethinking Visual Media Studies after the Digital Revolution
This collaborative seeks to expand upon the breadth and depth of film and media studies at the University of Minnesota by engaging in a sustained dialogue about the manner in which the central objects, ideas, technologies, and environments of visual media have changed since the digital revolution of the late twentieth century. The organized events within the overall project will bring together graduate students and faculty from across the College of Liberal Arts, librarians and archivists from around the Twin Cities, and leading researchers from around the globe to explore the nature of film and media studies in the twenty-first century. The end goal of this program is to develop a vibrant graduate and faculty community based around an open discussion and re-evaluation of visual media studies. Given the central role of digital media in the political and cultural transformations of our world, an ongoing revision of the central concepts and methodologies used in such fields as film and media studies is ideal, if not necessary. Benefitting directly from this collaborative project will be scholars from across the University of Minnesota who will be able to find a space to develop their ideas within a collaborative community.

Conveners: Jason McGrath, Asian Languages & Literatures, CLA; Laurie Ouellette, Communication Studies, CLA; Graeme Stout, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, CLA

2005-2007 — Science/Nature/Culture

The Science/Nature/Culture Collaborative brings together faculty and graduate students from diverse disciplines to explore questions such as: 1) how are the new science knowledges and technologies transforming our understanding of subjectivity and the body? 2) how do new scientific knowledges and technologies challenge our understanding of nature, culture and politics? And 3) what is the relation between new knowledge and technologies and democratic institutions and practices? The collaborative is organizing a workshop on Race and Pedagogy in fall 2006.
Convener: Karen-Sue Taussig (Department of Anthropology, CLA).

2007-2008, 2009-2010 — Social Networks

Social Networks Collaborative: Strengthening Human Relationships
How can human behavior and social relationships be better facilitated and structured by modern technologies, especially in academic settings such as the University of Minnesota?
Conveners: Christine Greenhow (Learning Technologies)

2015-2016 — Soil Kitchen – Twin Cities
soil kitchenConveners:
Nicolas Jelinski, Soil, Water and Climate, CFANS
Monica Haller, Minneapolis-Based Media Artist

The Soil Kitchen-Twin Cities Research and Creative Collaborative will bring together scientists and artists interested in urban soil management, urban agriculture, and public health in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area (TCMA). The Collaborative is centered around a culminating event in May 2016 called “Soil Kitchen – Twin Cities”, which will be a public engagement event involving citizen-science and made possible through a work of functional installation art created through this collaborative for long-term use. The Soil Kitchen-Twin Cities culminating event involves researchers and artists and invites community members to bring soil from their own properties for screening of basic soil properties such as pH and texture as well major heavy metals (Lead, Arsenic and Cadmium, determined through a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzer) in exchange for soup. Soil samples are screened while participants stay for soup and artist-science programming. Collaborative activities throughout the funding year will center around utilizing the culminating event to catalyze monthly meetings and a consolidation of research interests on urban soil issues among researchers, municipal, state, and federal agency personnel, and community-based non-profits.

2011-2012 — Studio Co-Laboratory
Studio Co-Laboratory
The Studio Co‐Laboratory project brings together creative researchers from the colleges of Liberal Arts, Design, Biological Sciences and Science and Engineering as a catalyst for interdisciplinary research and collaboration informed by concepts and practices in art, architecture, biology, computer and electrical engineering, design, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering and materials science. The humanistic and social nature of the Studio Co‐Laboratory research focus creates a context that brings together researchers in the arts, architecture, design, and the sciences who do not typically have access to one another’s research processes nor the opportunity for creative research collaboration. The convergence of these seemingly divergent modes of inquiry and practice‐based research reflects an emerging phenomenon of artists, architects and designers actively exploring scientific frontiers and technological innovation.
Conveners: Diane Willow (Art) and Marc Swackhamer (Architecture)
2006-2008 — Telling River Stories
Telling River Stories
The riverfront as margin and center is at the heart of the inquiry of the Telling River Stories Collaborative. This collaborative seeks to explore the ways varying communities of and along the urban riverfront have imagined the river, used it, lived on and with it, as well as the diverse and sometimes contradictory futures envisioned for the river. Its members share an interest in and commitment to better understanding the changing nature and meaning of the urban Mississippi River.
Convener: Patrick Nunnally (Metropolitan Design Center, CD).

2005-2013— Theorizing Early Modern Studies (TEMS)
Theorizing Early Modern Studies (TEMS)
TEMS is a collaborative, interdisciplinary workshop investigating Europe and the wider world during the early modern period (late 16th-early 19th centuries). In addition to training graduate students, furthering the research of our own faculty, and serving as a means of attracting and retaining outstanding faculty in early modern studies, the collaborative brings top-level researchers to Minnesota to benefit from the rich creative environment fostered by TEMS, and who in turn enrich our local research community. TEMS demonstrates that the laboratory model in the humanities is an important complement to the formal conferences, publications, graduate seminars, and solitary work that characterizes successful research in these fields. Building on nine years of past accomplishments the 2011-12 academic year will see TEMS continuings with its signature model of collaborative research and learning by exploring the theme of “The Passions.”
Conveners: Juliette Cherbuliez (French and Italian), Michael Gaudio (Art History), JB Shank (History)

2009-2010 — Thinking Body, Moving Mind

Thinking Body, Moving Mind: Repatterning the Scholar’s Bodymind
This collaborative uses the tools of Body Mind Centering to create knowledge and experience within the body. While the biological sciences can evaluate the physical and chemical processes and ramifications of life, work, illness, and movement, they do little to explain how individuals experience their own bodies and the changes that take place within them. In workshops and movement sessions, this project looks to body subjectivity and intersubjectivity and their impact on scholarship and expectations about knowledge. 
Conveners: Craig Hassel (Food Science and Nutrition) and Margaret Adamek (Local Foods, Sustainability and Wellness)

2008-2009 — Transitional Justice and Collective Memory

Transitional Justice and Collective Memory
Do transitional justice practices—e.g. human rights trials, truth commissions, reparations, vetting, museums and other memory sites, archives, oral history projects, photography and film projects—help to prevent or deter future repressive episodes or human rights violations? Can better understanding of how these practices construct collective cultural memory shed light on their ability to prevent or deter repression?
Convener: Kathryn Sikkink (Political Science, CLA).

2008-2009 — Transnational Film and Media Studies

Transnational Film and Media Studies

Building on the work of the IAS’s two earlier film collaboratives, the Transnational Film and Media Studies group asked the question: “How can knowledge about the intrinsically transnational character of film—including understandings of such processes as resistance, appropriation, reconfiguration, and deconstruction cast in transnational contexts—help us understand the contingencies of cultural identity and exchange across national borders?”
Convener: Jason McGrath (Asian Languages and Literatures, CLA).

2010-2011 — Understanding and Implementing Care Teams

Understanding and Implementing Care Teams: Building a Community of Practice
This collaborative proposes to build a community practice focused on care teams drawing from University of Minnesota researchers and Minnesota practitioners. Care teams are interprofessional teams that are central to the effort to improve population health and contain health care costs. The collaborative seeks to break down silos and encourage integration by sharing knowledge in activities such as presentations and conferences and encouraging the formation of research. This will facilitate identifying fundable care team research that will contribute to the improvement of health care, both in the United States and in other countries, and extend our knowledge of how teams can be effectively organized. 
Conveners: Douglas Wholey (Health Policy & Management), David Knoke (Sociology), Pri Shah (Strategic Management & Organization

2011-2012 — The University Seminar
The University Seminar
In the widely circulated CLA 2015 report it is proposed that the college needs to re-imagine itself in the context of a university of the 21st century. If it has been controversial – and given that it proposes to shrink the college by 50% how could it not be? – this is as much because of its specific proposals as because of the troubling fact that it contains very little explicit reflection on what a 21st century university might be. The purpose of this research collaborative is to generate and sustain the conditions for such reflection. The goal is not to engage directly CLA 2015, but to organize a seminar that will bring together “stakeholders” from across the university, within the legislature, and around the globe, to reflect mindfully on the past, present and future of the university.
Conveners: John Mowitt (Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature) and JB Shank (History)
2006-2007 — Using Dialogue to Bridge the Research to Policy Gap
Using Dialogue to Bridge the Research to Policy Gap: Mr. Smith Goes to Preschool 
This collaborative aims to bring together those who conduct research on early childhood and policymakers. These two groups have a unified goal, improving the lives of young children, but different approaches to this goal. The challenge is to develop a means by which both groups can inform each other: researchers making their work more useful to policymakers, and policymakers using this work to inform their decisions.
Convener: Lesley Craig-Unkefer (Department of Educational Psychology, CEHD).
2009-2010 — Vocal Tracts and Vocal Behaviors

Vocal Tracts and Vocal Behaviors in Ontogeny and Phylogeny
Three projects intersect to highlight the importance of vocal changes in evaluating gender difference, mechanical signs of pubesence, and evolutionary development. With a focus on the first decade of life, this collaborative investigates the cultural, social and scientific ramifications of alterations in the human voice.
Conveners: Benjamin Munson (Speech, Language, and Hearing), John Himes (Epidemiology), Michael Wilson (Anthropology)

2014-2016 — Well-being in the Midwest African Diaspora
onishi unionism
Catherine Squires, Communication Studies, CLA
Keith Mayes, African and African American Studies, CLA

The members of the Well-Being in the Midwest African Diaspora Collaborative, which brings together faculty in the African American Research Collective (AARC) will continue to build on the work, events, research and conversations begun in the 2014-15 year. Two major projects will continue into Fall 2015. First, we will be staging performances of and public dialogues about community-authored narratives scripted from our group’s scholarship in education, health, media and theater arts. Second, we will continue exploring issues around the availability of communal spaces and well-being that emerged as we held events on historical memory, Ferguson, and local institutions that support healthy African American communities. Finally, we will extend our conversations about campus climate, with more emphasis on bringing students into circulation with faculty and local community leaders. Through these activities, our collaborative will continue our pursuit of the questions that have driven our work this year: How can we draw upon ‘usable pasts’ to envision healthier futures for these communities? How can insights from the arts and humanities assist professionals in fields such as public health and social work to engender well-being in African diasporic communities?

2014-2015 — Where is Nature Now?
North American models of the human relationship with nature are manifested and expressed in the physical environment, including the landscapes of the everyday urban environment. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, a pictorialized version of nature was rendered in our imagination, ethics and the landscape (Cronin etal, 1996; Crandall, 1992). However, startling post-industrial conditions of dereliction, contamination, abandonment and environmental injustice press the 21st century scholar, artist and designer for new considerations of nature. These considerations bring forth a new context of environmental awareness, yet new modalities and physical forms that respond in a critical and creative manner to a new post-nature paradigm have not been sufficiently exposed or articulated.

This collaborative seeks to catalyze new, critical dialogues that speculate upon the shifting defi- nition of nature in the 21st century. This speculation requires interdisciplinary collaboration and intellectual synergy that transcends disciplinary boundaries. We propose a series of activities that calls upon interested collaborators across the University, whether faculty or students, to elevate this discussion above disciplinary walls and to engage in intellectual discovery that challenges us to think beyond outdated modes and forms of the nature-culture paradigm.

Conveners: Christine Baeumler, Art, CLA; Sean Connaughty, Art, CLA; Matthew Tucker, Landscape Architecture, CDES