Photo by Tom Jorgensen
Kenneth Cmiel, a faculty
member of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
and new director of the UI Center for Human Rights,
will speak on “Seeing War at a Distance: Photography
from Antietam to Abu Ghraib” at this year’s
Presidential Lecture, Feb. 27, 3:30 p.m., 4th Floor
Assembly Rooms, Levitt Center for University Advancement.
An American studies and history professor who has
amassed a significant body of research and writing
on U.S. cultural history and the global history of
human rights, Cmiel has recently been working on
the history of the information age and on visual
culture. This recent inquiry examines the different
ways that image and information have been discussed
and managed in the past 100 years, with the central
concern being the different ways that formal research
is presented to the public. In particular, Cmiel
is looking at the evolution of libraries, museum
exhibitions, ideas about the philosophy of science,
and expert testimony in courtrooms.
The University’s annual Presidential Lecture
series provides an opportunity for distinguished
members of the faculty to present significant aspects
of their work to members of the University community
and the general public. The University established
the series to encourage intellectual communication
among the many disciplines that make up The University
of Iowa, and to provide a public forum for University
scholarship, research, and creative achievement.
The series is made possible through the generosity
of donors of unrestricted gifts to the University
of Iowa Foundation.
Cmiel has published on a number of topics in 19th-
and 20th-century history—from Walt Whitman
to the computerization of libraries, from the history
of political ideology to the history of television
Cmiel’s first book, Democratic Eloquence:
The Fight over Popular Speech in Nineteenth-Century
America, won the Allen Nevins Prize from the Society
of American Historians. His second book was a study
of child dependency in 19th- and 20th-century Chicago.
A former Faculty Scholar, Cmiel is currently a Global
Scholar. In the next six months, Cmiel will lecture
on his research in Houston, Atlanta, San Francisco,
New York City, Copenhagen, and Melbourne.