Research and Creative Collaboratives, 2018-2019

Building Collaborative Capacity in Equity and Diversity

This collaborative has convened in order to continue developing our capacities (individual and collective) in becoming more intersectional in our research and perspectives as teacher-scholars, mentors, and colleagues working in rural Minnesota. We will dedicate a year to researching identities, practices, and skills that are not exclusively white, Western, European, ableist, and normative, but rather inclusive of indigenous, disabled, queer and trans of color, in the interests of sustaining and strengthening relationships and developing holistic and universally-designed support for campus and local communities that are increasingly diverse. We think of ourselves as a generative learning and idea lab for new possibility in equity and diversity that is grown here and is deeply rooted in an evolving sense of Morris’ history, its place, and its future.

Conveners: Tami Berberi, Equity, Diversity & Intercultural Programs and French, Student Affairs, UM-Morris, Adrienne Conley, Student Life and LGBTQIA2S+ Programs, Student Affairs, UM-Morris

Food Sovereignty and Student Success

The Center for Small Towns at UM Morris is pleased to establish a research collaborative among the faculty and staff of UM Morris, UM Extension, nonprofit and tribal college partners. The goals of the collaborative is to increase understanding of Native food sovereignty and build access, skills, and partnerships supporting physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.

The right of indigenous nations to define their own diets and shape food systems that are congruent with their spiritual and cultural values goes hand in hand with physical, mental, and emotional health. Increased understanding of Native food sovereignty, including; seed saving, food preparation and storage, gardening, and the socio-cultural and historical importance of food harvest and preparation methods provides a stronger sense of place and wellbeing for both Native and non-Native students and provide tools to support physical, mental, and emotional health. The collaborative will provide three field trips for students, faculty, and staff to exchange ideas and experiences with partners with the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations, as well as four opportunities to host public presentations on the UMM campus.

Conveners: Amy Mondloch, Center for Small Towns, UMN-Morris; Mary Jo Forbord, Morris Healthy Eating Initiative, UMN-Morris; Alex Kmett, Student Affairs, UMN-Morris; Ryan Pesch, MNEXT Community Vitality, UMN-Extension, Twin Cities

Historical Injustices: The Working Group (Renewal)

The centennial history of the University of Minnesota casts its founders, all white men with power, as champions of liberal education. “Stubbornly inspired by what seems almost like a paranoid delusion of grandeur,” James Gray wrote in The University of Minnesota, 1851-1951, “they talked of a place of learning so richly endowed ‘that it would put Harvard in the shade’.” These men, he added, “reappear again and again on lists of candidates for high office, on boards of the major enterprises, and on the roster of university regents” (14). This so-called “paranoid delusion of grandeur,” of course, catalyzed settler colonialism toward Dakota people and their land. Gray acknowledged: “In February 1851, when the legislature thoughtfully stroked its collective beard and created the university... [a]ll but a small eastern triangle of its lands belonged to the Indians” (13). In our collaborative’s second year, we set out to write a counter-history—in the form of short biographies—to unsettle this narrative of becoming, the fraternity of white manhood that sits at the core of state and university formations.

Conveners: Yuichiro Onishi, African American & African Studies, CLA, Twin Cities; Catherine Squires Communications Studies, CLA, Twin Cities, Ezekiel Joubert; Curriculum and Instruction, CEHD, Twin Cities; Hana Maruyama, American Studies, CLA, Twin Cities; John Matsunaga, Asian American Studies, CLA, Twin Cities

Memory, Trauma, and Human Rights at the Crossroads of Art and Science

This research collaborative is part of a broader project that brings together 19 team members from the University, community, and research institutions abroad to better understand the impacts of traumatic memory upon individuals and societies and to critically engage the issues of how we come to terms with and heal from trauma, seek accountability for human rights abuses that led to severe trauma, and mitigate future traumatization. Together we will explore how a more interdisciplinary understanding of memory and traumatization can illuminate pathways between artistic production and healing.

A full understanding of trauma and its implications in modern society needs to address its individual and social dimensions, and place 1) therapeutic and artistic work, 2) critical cultural analysis and scientific modelling/experimentation, 3) sociological/historical study and medical practice in dialogue. Our project brings together, for the first time at the University, recognized leaders in all these fields in a sustained manner that will lead to vigorous intellectual exchange and important peer-reviewed publications, curricular development that foments co-teaching across departments, and community outreach. Our plan this year is to invite two major scholars and one artist to present their work at our workshop and begin a sustained engagement with our project.

Conveners: Ofelia Ferran, Spanish and Portuguese Studies, CLA, Twin Cities; Brian Engdahl, Neuroscience, Medical School, Twin Cities; Ana Forcinito, Spanish and Portuguese Studies, CLA, Twin Cities

Minnesota Youth Make Media (Renewal)

Storytelling can be transformative. It increases self esteem and self advocacy, especially for those who are underrepresented; it also creates empathy across differences. We seek to harness the power of storytelling as a process and a product to empower youth in underserved public K-12 schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul. We collaborate to imagine and create new models of education-based community engaged practice with middle school youth. Firmly grounded in feminist, GLBTQ, and ethnic studies, this collaborative uses art, narrative, and storytelling workshops to discuss questions of identity, inequality, and advocacy with urban youth. Storytelling is empowering and transformative for both the story tellers and the story listeners. We work with public school youth to facilitate self awareness, empathy, and advocacy for issues important to them. Engaged collaboration with youth and educators takes time as trust and change must be fostered over time. We have worked for two years with a St. Paul public school and have expanded to add a new Minneapolis public school partner beginning in 2018.

Conveners: Jigna Desai, Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies, CLA, Twin Cities; Kari Smalkoski, Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies, CLA, Twin Cities; Vernon Rowe, Northeast Middle School

Moving Image & Media Studies Interdisciplinary Graduate Group

The Moving Image and Media Studies Graduate Group (MIMSGG) provides an interdisciplinary forum for graduate students and faculty with shared interests in the scholarship, technologies, artistic practices, critical theory, and teaching central to the study and production of moving images and media. Over two years of rapidly growing membership, we have developed a group that serves as an active resource for bringing together many individuals and energies already dedicated to working with moving images and media across the Twin Cities campus. Moving forward as an IAS Collaborative, we aim to create more opportunities for graduate student involvement in the organization of special events, recurring activities, and research collaborations that speak to current trends and questions in a diverse range of related fields associated with our group, as well as our members’ own work. Moreover, in our drive to further connect our campus and our community, we also plan to expand our active involvement with local, non-academic film and media resources. For this, we propose a variety of activities that support our members’ research and further our diverse interests through closer associations with both academic and non-academic experts, institutions, and spaces.

Conveners: Olga Tchepikova, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, CLA, Twin Cities; Margaret Hennefeld, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, CLA, Twin Cities; Jana Gierden, German, Scandinavian, and Dutch, CLA, Twin Cities; Matthew Treon, American Studies, CLA, Twin Cities; Jen Hughes, Anthropology, CLA, Twin Cities; Dzmitry Tsapkou, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, CLA, Twin Cities

Narrative/Medicine: Personal Narrative Analysis across the Liberal Arts and Medical Practice (Renewal)

The IAS Research Collaborative “Narrative/Medicine: Personal Narrative Analysis across the Liberal Arts and Medical Practice,” launched in Fall 2017. Cultural critics, historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and scholars and practitioners of medicine have all turned their attention in recent years to intersections between experiences of bodily pain, trauma, and illness and the creation of narratives to describe and grapple with these experiences. More broadly, scholars in the humanities, and increasingly the social sciences as well, are engaging with personal narratives (such as memoirs, diaries, letters, and oral histories) as objects of study or sources of evidence. Personal narratives are of interest as particular literary genres but are also sources of privileged insight into the relationship between the individual and the social. Our research collaborative centers on interdisciplinary work on personal narrative and brings it to bear specifically on the production and analysis of personal narratives of illness and trauma. However, our scope has broadened somewhat as a result of our first semester of presentations and discussions. We are now also engaging with narratives that recount the experiences of medical practitioners and educators, in addition to narratives recounting experiences of illness.

Conveners: Mary Jo Maynes, History, CLA, Twin Cities; Leslie Morris, German, Scandinavian, and Dutch, CLA, Twin Cities

Queer Forms

In May 1969 students at the University of Minnesota offered a class titled “The Homosexual Revolution” at the nearby Free University. The class then reconfigured itself as FREE (Fight Repression of Erotic Expression) -- the first GLBT university student organization in the country. In June 1969 the New York City Police Department was met with six days of open resistance and protests when they raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. These events helped galvanize the struggle for GLBTQ liberation.

Fifty years later the University of Minnesota will present Queer Forms, a multi- disciplinary collaboration that includes exhibitions and artistic projects, academic and intellectual programs, performance, outreach, community health, and a research-based publication. These activities investigate and celebrate the history, politics and culture of GLBTQ liberation across a range of artistic forms and intellectual perspectives.

Convened in 2015, the collaborative planning team currently includes the American Studies Department, Art Department, Boynton Health Service, Chicano and Latino Studies Department, Communication Studies Department, Heritage Studies and Public History, History Department, Minnesota AIDS Project, Office for Public Engagement, Playwright’s Center, Theatre Arts and Dance Department, Twin Cities Pride, University Libraries, Walker Art Center and consultants in Indiana, Minnesota and New York.

Conveners: Howard Oransky, Art, CLA, Twin Cities; Christina Schmid, Art, CLA, Twin Cities

Reviving the Gendered Ethics Debate: The Case of Agonism

This IAS Collaborative spans three U of M campuses and two disciplines to facilitate collaborative research on gender, agonism, and moral psychology. Since Carol Gilligan’s In a Different Voice (1982), psychologists have debated the reality and nature of gender differences in moral reasoning. Whereas most studies have tested for gender differences on the dimensions of “justice” and “care,” we introduce competitive (or “agonistic”) norms into the discussion. Agonistic norms, which stress competitiveness but also prohibit bullying, unfair play, and disrespecting opponents, are increasingly recognized as “moral” norms by ethicists. This new development in ethics hasn’t yet been accounted for by empirical psychologists studying gender differences in “moral” reasoning, and we—one philosopher and two psychologists—wish to close that gap. This collaborative brings us together to workshop reports of our findings and present our work to faculty and students at UMTC, UMD, and UMM. It also will afford us the opportunity to bring in a notable moral psychologist who will advise us on our research and give a public talk on a related topic.

Conveners: Daniel Demetriou, Philosophy, Humanities, UMN-Morris; Max Hui Bai, Psychology, CLA, UMN-TC; Alexander Kachan, Psychology, Education and Human Service Professions, UMN-Duluth

Ways of Knowing Water

We will gather and develop a community of scientists, healing practitioners, poets, architects, scholars of culture, thinkers, craftsmen, artists and others to learn together how to feel, think, know, read and taste water. In a series of study sessions we will explore the environmental, the indigenous, the experiential, the scientific, the poetic, the communal, and other aspects of water, while constructing connections between the subject of study and cultural and ecological environments where that study takes place. The knowledge gained in the process will be the foundation of an ​collaborative research model that yields critical changes to educational curricula as well as new paradigms for research, artistic development and public engagement​. The communal experience of learning will be the foundation of future collaborations at the U and beyond, as the participants discover shared interests across disciplines and sectors. The documentation of the process and the transcribed conversations will provide materials for a book, shared in academic settings, as well as in art, public and community forums.

Conveners: Boris Oicherman, Weisman Art Museum, Twin Cities; Shanai Matteson, Water Bar and Public Studio