Research Clusters

Research Clusters are groups of faculty and graduate students from the University of Illinois campus who work together to explore particular questions or subjects in the humanities and arts.

Learn more about Research Clusters.

2020-21

AI & Society: Privacy, Ethics and (Dis)Information

Co-Directors:

  • Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe (Library / Information Sciences)
  • Yang Wang (Information Sciences)

Community Research Cooperative: Methodologies for Research Justice

Co-Directors:

  • Anita Say Chan (Information Sciences / Media)
  • Rachel Magee (Information Sciences)
     
  • Gilberto Rosas (Anthropology / Latino/a Studies)
  • Karen Rodriguez’G (Office of Undergraduate Research)
  • Adrian Wong (ICR)

Critical Practice in Text Data Mining

Director:

  • Spencer D.C. Keralis (Library)

Environmental Humanities

Co-Directors:

  • Robert Morrissey (History)
  • Pollyanna Rhee (Landscape Architecture)

Medical Humanities

Co-Directors:

  • Andrew Gaedtke (English)
  • Stephanie Hilger (Germanic Languages and Literatures)
  • Justine S. Murison (English)

Cosponsored by the Carle Illinois College of Medicine

Problems in Decolonizing Academia

Co-Directors:

  • Faye Harrison (African American Studies / Anthropology)
  • Cameron McCarthy (EPOL / ICR)
     
  • Esther Ngumbi (Entomology / African American Studies)
  • Ken Salo (Urban and Regional Planning)
  • Krystal Smalls (Anthropology / Linguistics)
     

2019-20

The “Animal Turn”

Co-Directors:

  • Jane Desmond Anthropology
  • Jamie Jones English

Community Healing and Resistance through Storytelling C-HeARTS Collaborative

Co-Directors:

  • Carla D. Hunter Psychology
  • Ruby Mendenhall Sociology / African American Studies / Carle Illinois College of Medicine
  • Nkechinyelum Chioneso Psychology, Florida A&M University
  • Shardé Smith Human Development and Family Studies
  • Helen Neville Educational Psychology / African American Studies
  • Robyn L. Gobin Kinesiology and Community Health

Cross-Cultural Understandings of Power Harassment in Higher Education: Awareness and Actions

Co-Directors:

  • SHAO Dan East Asian Languages and Cultures
  • Colleen Murphy Philosophy / Law
  • Assata Zerai Sociology / Assoc. Provost for Faculty Excellence

Fashion, Style, & Aesthetics

Co-Directors:

  • Courtney Becks University Library
  • Susan Becker Art + Design
  • Mimi Thi Nguyen Gender and Women’s Studies / Asian American Studies

Medical Humanities

Co-sponsored by the Carle Illinois College of Medicine and the Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies

Co-Directors:

  • Andrew Gaedtke English
  • Stephanie Hilger Germanic Languages and Literatures

Transformative Learning Through Zine Making

Co-Directors:

  • Sarah Christensen University Library
  • Leon Liebenberg Mechanical Science and Engineering

Understanding Movement Style and Social Interactions Through Participatory Performance: Development of An Interactive Performance Concept for Research On Style Preferences

Co-Directors:

  • Amy LaViers Mechanical Science and Engineering
  • John Toenjes Dance / Informatics Institute–I3

2018-19

African American Community Healing Through Storytelling: C-HeARTS

Co-Directors

  • Carla D. Hunter, Psychology
  • Nkechinyelum Chioneso, Psychology / Psychological Services Center
  • Ruby Mendenhall, Sociology / African American Studies / Carle Illinois College of Medicine
  • Helen Neville, Educational Psychology / African American Studies
  • Shardé Smith, Human Development and Family Studies

Fake News, Post-truth, and News Literacy: An Interdisciplinary Conversation about Misinformation, Emotion, Decision Making, and Information Consumption

Co-Directors

  • Nicole A. Cooke, School of Information Sciences
  • Stephanie Craft, Journalism / Institute of Communications Research

Medical Humanities

Co-sponsored by the Carle-Illinois College of Medicine and The Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies.

Co-Directors

  • Rana Hogarth, History
  • Justine Murison, English

Playful by Design: Interdisciplinary Game Studies @ Illinois

Co-Directors

  • Judith Pintar, Illinois Informatics Institute / Slavic Languages and Literatures / School of Information Sciences
  • Randall Sadler, Linguistics

Politics and Narrative: A Narratology of Populism

Co-Directors

  • Carl Niekerk, Germanic Languages and Literatures
  • Laurie Johnson, Germanic Languages and Literatures

Social Practice as Pedagogy (Imagining American Cluster)

Co-Directors

  • Jorge Lucero, Art Education
  • Ruth Nicole Brown, Education, Policy, Organization & Leadership / Gender and Women's Studies
  • Jennifer Bergmark, Art Education and Clinical Experience, Art & Design

Transmission, Translation, and Directionality in Cultural Exchange

Co-Directors

  • Robert Markley, English
  • Carol Symes, History
  • Robert Tierney, East Asian Languages and Cultures / Comparative and World Literature

2017-18

African American Community Healing Through Storytelling

Co-Directors

  • Nkechinyelum Chioneso, Psychology/Psychological Services Center
  • Ruby Mendenhall, Sociology and African American Studies
  • Helen Neville, Educational Psychology and African American Studies
  • Shardé Smith, African American Studies

Digital Editorial Practice and the Humanities Classroom: Creating New Publishing Capabilities for Higher Education

Director

  • John Randolph, History

Landscapes of Gentrification and Settler Colonialism

Co-Directors

  • Maryam Kashani, Gender and Women’s Studies / Asian American Studies
  • Lila Sharif, Asian American Studies / Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Medical Humanities

Co-sponsored by the Carle-Illinois College of Medicine.

Co-Directors

  • Stephanie Hilger, Comparative and World Literature / Germanic Languages and Literatures
  • Jonathan Inda, Latina/Latino Studies

New Directions in Eastern European Jewish Culture

Co-Directors

  • Eugene M. Avrutin, History / Program in Jewish Culture and Society
  • Harriet Murav, Comparative and World Literature / Slavic Languages and Literature
  • Dana Rabin, History / Program in Jewish Culture and Society

The New New Left Club

Co-Directors

  • Toby Beauchamp ,Gender and Women’s Studies
  • Mimi Thi Nguyen, Gender and Womens Studies / Asian American Studies
  • A. Naomi Paik, Asian American Studies

Playful by Design (Imagining America Cluster)

Co-Directors

  • Judith Pintar Illinois Informatics Institute / Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • Randall Sadler Linguistics

Playful by Design Website

Public Humanities

Co-Directors

  • Chris Higgins Education Policy, Organization & Leadership
  • Anke Pinkert Germanic Languages and Literatures

2016-17

Hiding in Plain Site: Seeing and Feeling the Everyday

Director

  • Prita Meier, Assistant Professor, Art History, School of Art + Design

In the digital age, we are constantly bombarded with images, text, and sound. How do these everyday encounters construct and/or disrupt our fields of vision? Hiding in Plain Site: Seeing and Feeling the Everyday hopes to facilitate new modes of thinking and ways of seeing in which we engage not only with banal imagery or representations as our subjects of study, but also question the ways in which our everyday activities are implicated within our scholarship. Organized by graduate students from the Art History department, we hope to facilitate a research cluster that attracts students from many of the visual disciplines and the humanities to participate in monthly reading and discussion groups, and a corresponding blog that will culminate in a graduate student-run symposium and art exhibition.

Interdisciplinary Cuban Studies Workshop

Co-Directors

  • Ellen Moodie, Associate Professor, Anthropology
  • Helaine Silverman, Professor, Anthropology

The recent engagement between the US and Cuba coincides with an independent convergence of interests in Cuba among a diverse group of UIUC scholars. We propose an IPRH Research Cluster to facilitate an interdisciplinary taller or workshop focused on historical, literary, and cultural sources that will help us understand this moment of transition in Cuba. This yearlong forum will further our academic knowledge and encourage the development of our individual research goals in a potentially collaborative form.

New Directions in Queer Studies

Co-Directors

  • Martin Manalansan (Associate Professor, Anthropology and Asian American Studies)
  • Chantal Nadeau (Professor, Gender and Women's Studies )
  • Siobhan Somerville, Associate Professor, English and Gender and Women's Studies

The interdisciplinary research group on “New Directions in Queer Studies” will meet regularly to explore and discuss emerging scholarship in the field, to organize public events by prominent visiting scholars, and to present work in progress by the participants. Led by graduate students and faculty who are pursuing interdisciplinary research in queer studies focused on race, ethnicity, diaspora, citizenship, and migration, the group’s events will be open to all faculty and graduate students with an interest in the field.

Public History and Student Research

Co-Directors

  • Daniel Gilbert, Assistant Professor, School of Labor and Employment Relations
  • Kathryn Oberdeck, Associate Professor, History

Building on our accomplishments from the 2015-16 academic year, we will work to further nurture and institutionalize the practice of public history (and related student research) in our community. Our work will center on four projects: 1) serving as a meeting place and clearing house for local public history projects; 2) co-hosting a professional development workshop for K-12 teachers with the Illinois Labor History Society; 3) hosting Champaign County’s first “History Harvest” event; and 4) hosting a two-day symposium with guest speakers from other campuses’ public history centers.

View Public History@UIUC website.

Recovering Prairie Futures: Midwestern Innovation and Inter-disciplinary Digital Developments

Co-Directors

  • Anita Say Chan, Assistant Professor, Media & Cinema Studies Department and Institute of Communications Research
  • Michael Twidale, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Library & Information Science

For as varied and diverse as innovation developments have been in the Midwest — with the region hosting the first computing-centered industrial district prior to the rise of Silicon Valley — existing literature in the social and historical studies of technology has placed little emphasis on the region. This proposal requests a continuation of the Prairie Futures IRPH’s cross-disciplinary exploration into Midwestern innovation histories that are often overshadowed by those focused on dominant “centers” of computing (whether academic sites like MIT or Stanford, or regions like Silicon Valley). Our cluster has looked elsewhere other than dominant engineering centers, to shed light on inter-disciplinary digital developments in the Midwest — from educational and public computing to electro-acoustic and accessibility design –that bridged expertise from across social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, and humanities; and that can be overlooked, even when playing key roles in reshaping disciplinary imaginaries, global markets, and user practices.

2015-16

Borders and Migration in the Americasy

Co-Directors

  • Gilberto Rosas, Associate Professor, Anthropology and Latino/a Studies
  • Mireya Loza, Assistant Professor, History and Latina/Latino Studies

In collectively reading and analyzing a broad range of scholarship, the group seeks to move away from a conceptualization of borders as analytical margins of nation-states. Instead, we seek to re-imagine them as sites for cutting edge analyses of nation-states, governmentalities, migration, violence, gender, sexuality, and race, while developing a new vernacular for certain exhausted analytics.

Indigenous Languages in Diaspora

Co-Directors

  • Jenny Davis, Assistant Professor, American Indian Studies
  • Ryan Shosted, Associate Professor, Linguistics

Our research cluster explores the state-of-the-art in the scholarship associated with indigenous languages and their documentation. We explore how members of indigenous communities (the Chicago Indian community and the Urbana-Champaign Q’anjob’al community) negotiate their identity and establish status in urban and diasporic settings through the use of language. This entails a better understanding of the semiotics of indigenous language use and revitalization and includes issues of linguistic usage that can be documented using methods associated with descriptive linguistics and collaborative ethnography. Towards this collaborative goal, we hope to provide tangible benefits to the communities mentioned through production of / consultation in language revitalization materials.

New Directions in Queer Studies

Co-Directors

  • Martin Manalansan, Associate Professor, Anthropology and Asian American Studies
  • Chantal Nadeau, Professor, Gender and Women's Studies
  • Siobhan Somerville, Associate Professor, English and Gender and Women's Studies
  • Richard Rodríguez, Associate Professor, English and Latina/Latino Studies

A year-long interdisciplinary research group on “New Directions in Queer Studies,” which will meet regularly to explore and discuss emerging scholarship in the field and to organize public events by prominent visiting scholars. Led by graduate students and faculty who are pursuing interdisciplinary research in queer studies focused on race, ethnicity, diaspora, citizenship, and migration, the group’s events will be open to all faculty and graduate students with an interest in the field.

Public History and Student Research

Co-Directors

  • Daniel Gilbert, Assistant Professor, School of Labor and Employment Relations
  • Kathryn Oberdeck, Associate Professor, History

This research cluster examines new directions in the field of public history. Our work begins in the fall 2015 with shared readings and explorations of local case studies, and culminate in three ways: 1) a public campus event featuring a lecture/ workshop by a leading practitioner of public history; 2) completion of draft guidelines for the practice of UIUC-sponsored public history projects; and 3) drafting grant applications, syllabi and other materials for cluster participants’ own public history research plans.

View Public History@UIUC website.

Recovering Prairie Futures: Midwestern Innovation and Inter-disciplinary Digital Developments

Co-Directors

  • Anita Say Chan, Assistant Professor, Media & Cinema Studies Department and Institute of Communications Research
  • Michael Twidale, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Library & Information Science

For as varied and diverse as innovation developments have been in the Midwest – with the region hosting the first computing-centered industrial district prior to the rise of Silicon Valley -- existing literature in the social and historical studies of technology has placed relatively little emphasis on the region. This IPRH Research Cluster grant proposal offers a cross-disciplinary exploration into the Midwest's layered innovation histories that have often been overshadowed by innovation narratives focused on dominant regions and centers of computing (whether academic sites like MIT or Stanford, or regions like Silicon Valley and Massachusetts' Route 128). This research collaboration adopts a distinct approach to innovation studies by looking elsewhere other than dominant engineering centers, to shed light on inter-disciplinary digital developments in the Midwest – from precision agriculture and rural big data processing, to educational and public computing, and electro-acoustic design – that necessarily bridged expertise from social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, and humanities; and that have frequently been overlooked, even as they have played roles in reshaping disciplinary imaginaries, global markets, and ecologies. We propose a strategy to develop a means to extend the research and pedagogical resources – both emerging and already existing – that can help support the greater visibility of such local, multidisciplinary histories around collaborative innovation.

Youth in Creative Cities (“Imagining America” Cluster)

Co-Directors

  • Tyler Denmead, Assistant Professor, Art Education, School of Art & Design
  • Jennifer O’Connor, Coordinator, Art Education and Clinical Experience, School of Art & Design

The purpose of this research cluster is to consider youth inequality in creative cities and microurban communities, and how the University of Illinois might expand publicly engaged scholarship in the arts and humanities in Urbana-Champaign to draw attention to, and address, this social problem. This group of faculty and graduate students will host regular meetings every three weeks, as well as one visit to the University of Chicago’s Arts+Public Life initiative and an invited talk from Professor Kim Yasuda. This proposed research cluster intersects with the public arts and humanities mission of Imagining America, and its co-directors will attend its annual conference. Learn more about this research cluster.

2014-15

Cultural Creativity 

Creativity Director

  • William Kinderman, Professor, Music and Germanic Languages and Literatures

Not only the final outcome but also the process of creative endeavor has long attracted attention in various disciplines, but only recently has the potential of such research been seriously explored. This research initiative targets the topic of cultural creativity through an interdisciplinary approach, building on existing strengths of our faculty, especially in FAA and LAS, and will explore collaboratively this promising area of inquiry through seminars and lectures during the coming academic year.

Integrating Sports: Critical Approaches to Sport, Culture, and Performance

Co-Directors

  • Adrian Burgos, Professor, History
  • Scott Tainsky, Assistant Professor, Sport, Recreation, and Tourism

The Integrating Sports research cluster aims to cultivate and support an interdisciplinary group of University faculty and graduate students whose work engages in the critical study of sports-related phenomena and, more specifically, in examining athletic performance on the field of competition as well as popular (cultural) understanding of those performances. This group will host regular meetings as well as organize two invited talks by critical sports studies scholars.

Leisurely Pursuits: Examining Kenyan Settler Cultures Through Play

Director

  • Teresa Barnes, Assoc. Professor, History, GWS, African Studies

In this project we will rely upon C.L.R. James’ analysis of sports in the Caribbean as a lens to consider the legacies of British settler colonialism in Kenya. In theorizing “play”, we will consider leisure as a social marker for larger cultural histories in Kenya. Broadly, we are interested in understanding how historical and contemporary ideas of race, class, gender, ethnicity, and religion operate within the history of leisure in East Africa and how these insights are a fecund site for new and on-going scholarship.

New Terrains: The Landscape Reviewed

Director

  • Terri Weissman, Assistant Professor, Art History

Graduate Coordinator

  • Laura Shea, PhD Candidate, Art History

“New Terrains: The Landscape Reviewed” hopes to push reversionary concepts of re-claiming or re-constructing the landscape in visual practices and see how such theories actually work in re-forming our conceptions of what landscape is as materiality and does as an ever-expanding genre. Organized by the graduate students of the Art History Department, we hope to facilitate a research cluster that attracts students in many of the visual disciplines and the humanities through monthly reading and discussion groups and a corresponding blog that will culminate in a graduate student-run symposium and art exhibition. Through these activities, we aim to investigate processes of de-naturalizing and expanding the concept of landscape into bodily, virtual, and other terrains, but also welcome ideas that critique such popular artistic and social practices. Learn more at http://newterrains.wordpress.com/.

Queer Ecologies

Co-Directors

  • Jennifer Monson, Professor, Dance
  • Samantha Frost, Associate Professor, Political Science and Gender & Women’s Studies

This research cluster seeks to provide the occasion for faculty and graduate students to reconsider different accounts of ecology in conjunction with queer theory. More particularly, we will think about how insights and analytics in both queer theory and ecological theory might generate new approaches to ecological thought that move beyond its often heteronormative assumptions about reproduction and that destabilize its presumption of an effectively intentional subject.