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The University of Iowa
Center for Media Studies and Political Culture

This University of Iowa center is a kind of institute where individuals and groups can do their scholarly work with internal and external financial support. It explores the intersections of political processes and the technologies that publicly mediate those processes, within a broadly rhetorical point of view, that is, within an understanding of power as wielded discursively in society. The center seeks to organize and facilitate the creation and dissemination of the work of a political-rhetorical scholars from a variety of fields. More specifically, the project aims:


  1. To promote the disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and cross-disciplinary study of media, rhetoric, and politics.
    1. To foster individual scholarly projects featuring the theoretical and/or critical-cultural intersections of discourse/discoursing, multiple public mediating systems and their discursive characteristics, and both institutional and non-institutional dimensions of political culture.
    2. To encourage cross- (comparative-) and interdisciplinary studies of the nexuses of media, discourse, and political events, in an effort to better comprehend the operative features and personal, social, economic, and political outcomes of such events.
  2. To facilitate the work on media, rhetoric, and politics of both Iowa-based and outside scholars.
    1. To aid the work of Iowa scholars by helping them with technological (especially Web-based) solutions to their problems.
      1. To offer expert support for Web-based political-rhetorical research.
      2. To provide, with the help of other units at the University of Iowa, equipment useful in pursing research on media, rhetoric, and politics.
    2. To promote the electronic dissemination of Iowa-generated and others-generated scholarship on media, rhetoric, and politics.
      1. To use Web sites as places for mounting scholarly resources of use to others.
      2. To pursue an electronic journal suitable for work on media, rhetoric (including visual-political materials), and politics.
    3. To provide space and limited support for non-Iowa scholars, from both the U.S. and abroad, to work on projects.
      1. To supply space for individual scholars with leaves and other forms of support to do their work within a supportive and technologically-rich environment.
      2. To encourage co-authored or even team-authored projects centered on rhetoric, media, and politics.

This project reaches both inward and outward. It builds on UI strengths: the faculty and scholarly resources within the nation's top-ranked Communication Studies department and UI's innovative Department of Rhetoric, as well as work done by scholars especially in Journalism and Mass Communication, Political Science, History, and several of the language departments on political matters; three nationally known presidential forecasting projects; the presence in Iowa of the nation's first political caucuses and the state's position as a "middle"political unit in several senses of that word; the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, with space available for individual and collective research projects as well as expanding access for electronically based research and dissemination projects; and the breadth of so-called Cultural Studies across especially humanities and social science departments within the College of Liberal Arts, which provides a cadre of scholars pursuing non-institutional (cultural) politics as their research agenda.

Outwardly, individuals already have a range of international connections: not only the Director's work but the work Iowa political scientists have done in Europe following the breakup of the U.S.S.R., economic and environmental ties of researchers from multiple departments internationally, the International Writing Workshop's connections to politically interesting writers from around the world, UI's junior faculty development project in Russia, etc. These provide bases for cross-country and joint-country (comparative) projects. This center fits within the University's strategic commitment to internationalization not only of educational opportunity but intellectual development.

Watch for further develop of the University of Iowa Center for Media Studies and Political Culture through 2001-2002, and beyond.

Bruce E. Gronbeck, Director

September 2001



Page modified May 15, 2009

This material preserved for historical research purposes, and does not imply and endoresement or denial of these poilitical views on the part of the University of Iowa