The University of Iowa

80 hours

December 11th, 2009

Last weekend’s marathon was an example of the extraordinary international activity at the University.  Sometimes, with so many things going on (not to mention classes and research and day-to-day business), it seems that campus events compete with each other for more-or-less the same audience, making it difficult to gather more than a handful of people in the room even for special guest speakers.  But last weekend, despite the high level of activity, there were groups of 40 to 50 or more at many of the events we sponsored!

Beginning Thursday, IP’s European Studies Group led off with a conference on “Memories and Visions: Europe 20 Years after the Fall.”  The conference featured lectures, panel discussions and films that explored past and present situations connected with the fall of the Berlin Wall. The conference began with a screening of “Das Leben der Anderen” (“The Lives of Others”).

On Friday morning (opposite the continuing conference commemorating the anniversary of the fall of the Wall), the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies brought together graduate students from across campus with interests in Asian students for a conference entitled “Speaking Across Borders: Emergent Subjects in Asia and the Pacific.”  Anchoring the conference with a presentation of his own was Wenfang Tang, Professor and C. Maxwell and Elizabeth M. Stanley Family and Hua Hsia Chair of Chinese Culture and Institutions.  The conference organizers–Benjamin Darr (Political Science, China) and Eleanor King (Anthropology, Japan)–did an excellent job!

“Speaking Across Borders” is part of a multiple-year project designed to feature existing and future opportunities connecting Iowa and Asia that extends from education to business and farming communities throughout the State.

Finally, IP’s Global Health Studies and South Asia Studies programs offered a weekend workshop, “Addicted to Profit: Tobacco, Opium and Society in South Asia.”  The workshop provided a review of the origins of tobacco in the New World and its spread across the globe,  the historic intersection between tobacco and opium in South Asia and China, the physiological and psychological basis of addiction,  the health effects of tobacco and opium, and present day marketing of tobacco products in South Asia.

In addition to the three major events listed above, the African Studies Program and Department of History held an event in its annual Baraza lecture series (featuring Professor Celestine Bassey from the University of Calabar, Nigeria); and Luke Juran (Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography) gave a presentation on “Permanent Resettlement Sites in Post-Tsunami South India: A Case of ‘Build Back Better’ or tabula rasa spoiled?”

It’s a wonder we got any sleep, but was a great way to end an event-filled semester.