News Briefs

  • Writers' Workshop graduates win Writers' Guild Award for "Castle Rock"

    February 19, 2019

  • Dept. of Energy funding helps UI physicists measure particles important in high-tech industry

    February 14, 2019

  • Religious Studies Department is the nation's oldest program at a public university

    February 14, 2019

  • Journalism profs find parents unsure how to handle cyberbullying

    February 14, 2019

  • Tribute to Professor Christopher Roy (1947-2019)

    February 14, 2019

    Tribute to Professor Christopher Damon Roy (1947-2019), by Cory Gundlach
    A great tree has fallen.
    —Akan proverb

    Chris Roy and friendsToday we mourn the loss of an extraordinary man. Professor Christopher Damon Roy, the Elizabeth M. Stanley Faculty Fellow of African Art History, passed away early on the morning of Sunday, February 10 in Iowa City, surrounded by his immediate family. Chris was born September 30, 1947, in Ogdensburg, New York, to Margaret Adam Snow and George Robert Roy. He and his wife, Nora Leonard Roy, were married at the Hôtel de Ville, Ouagadougou, Upper Volta, on September 26, 1970.  He leaves his beloved wife, Nora; his son, Nicholas Spencer Roy (Jill Scott); his daughter, Megan Deirdre Roy (John Dolci), and granddaughter, Sylvia Elizabeth Dolci; his sister, Robin Roy Katz (Michael Katz) and nephew Teddy Katz; his brother, Matthew Roy (Caroline Darlington Roy); nieces Katelin and Emily, and nephews Robby and Chris. Those close to Chris will remember him well for his sincere warmth, delightful wit, and bold sense of humor. Always approaching life with a sense of adventure, his robust energy and fascination with the world was contagious during his forty-one years at the University of Iowa.

    book coverThroughout his career, Chris devoted much of his attention to the arts of Burkina Faso and the Max and Betty Stanley Collection of African art. His writing on the Thomas G.B. Wheelock Collection is well known, and many will remember him for his catalog on the Bareiss Family Collection. Over the years, he contributed regularly to African Arts, where he published on his research in Burkina, reviewed exhibitions, and engaged in current debates. His 1980 review of Traditional Sculpture from Upper Volta remains one of the sharpest critiques in the fieldIn 2015, he published his most recent book, Mossi: Diversity in the Art of a West African People, as well as an essay, “The Art Market in Burkina Faso: A Personal Recollection,” included in Silvia Forni and Christopher Steiner’s Africa in the Market: Twentieth-Century Art from the Amrad Collection. His Art of the Upper Volta Rivers (1987) remains a standard text on the subject.

    book coverIn addition to this, Chris produced over twenty self-narrated video recordings on the arts of Africa, and all are freely accessibly online. He and Linda McIntyre released Art & Life in Africa (ALA) as a CD-ROM in 1997 and sold thousands of copies throughout North America. In 2014, he worked with Dr. Catherine Hale and Cory Gundlach to redevelop ALA as a website, which has had nearly 500,000 users. As a leader in his field, Chris founded and directed the UI Project for Advanced Study of Art and Life in Africa (PASALA), which provided scholarships for graduate course work and research in Africa, as well as conferences and publications on African art.

    book coverChris’s impact as a professor was no less remarkable. Every fall semester, twice a week, nearly 300 students packed the largest lecture hall at Art Building West to attend his survey course on African art. High enrollment was common for his all courses, as he was a gifted storyteller and he understood the power of keeping his students entertained with occasional humor. A long history of work with the Stanley Museum of Art supported his object-oriented approach to teaching, which he complemented with a social history of art. He oversaw the completion of fifteen doctoral dissertations, and many of his former students are now employed in major institutions throughout the country.

    book coverFrom 1985 to 1995 at the Stanley Museum of Art, Chris served as curator of the arts of Africa, the Pacific, and Pre-Columbian America. He curated fourteen exhibitions during his university career among museums in Iowa, China, Austria, and Germany. Scholars reviewed his exhibitions at the Stanley Museum positively for the way in which artistic quality drove his motivations for selection and display, and for the way in which he treated attribution carefully. 

    Beyond his scholarship, teaching, multi-media projects and exhibitions, Chris’s YouTube videos on art and life in Africa have reached perhaps the widest audience, with more than 10,000 subscribers and over four million viewers worldwide. It is encouraging to think that the world is a better place because of Chris and all of those touched by his warmth and brilliance.

    book coverTo contribute to the Christopher D. Roy Memorial Fund, go to This fund will give UI art history students the opportunity to gain valuable intern experience at the Stanley Museum of Art.

  • Vincent Rodgers wins President and Provost Award for Teaching Excellence

    February 14, 2019

  • UI physicist hunts for mysterious force behind universe’s expansion

    February 08, 2019

  • Professor Damani Phillips to present "Jazz in the Fight for Civil Rights: Jazz as Activist Music"

    February 05, 2019

  • Student-faculty research tandem produces translated account of Iowa’s experiment with Prohibition in the late 19th century

    February 01, 2019

    German major Lucas Gibbs and Professor Glenn Ehrstine of the Department of German have produced a translated chapter of The Germans of Iowa that was featured in the Winter 2019 issue of Annals of Iowa.

    Die Deutschen von Iowa (The Germans of Iowa) was written in 1900 by the editor of the Iowa Staats-Anzeiger, the German-language newspaper of Des Moines. The translation is a part of the “German Iowa and the Global Midwest” public humanities project based at the University of Iowa, which explores the state’s long tradition of immigration.

    “The End of the Prohibition Party in Iowa”: Editorial cartoon
    from the Iowa Staats-Anzeiger following the hotly contested
    state elections of 1889, in which dissatisfaction over
    Republican support for Prohibition led to the election of
    Horace Boies, the only Iowa governor from the Democratic
    party between 1857 and 1932.

    The translated chapter is titled, “‘Iowa’s Prohibition Plague’: Joseph Eiboeck’s Account of the Battle over Prohibition, 1846-1900.” Iowans lived under Prohibition from 1884 to 1894, and Eiboeck’s memoire highlights the violent clashes over the law, its negative effects for the state’s economy and the frequent anti-immigrant bias that colored perceptions of alcohol consumption in the 1800s.

    group of men
    Deputized “searchers” were authorized to seek out and arrest
    violators of the state’s Prohibition law, if need be by force.

    The “German Iowa and the Global Midwest”” project seeks to educate the general public on Iowa’s immigrant past and provide perspective on present-day issues, including pro- and anti-immigration sentiment; the value and challenges of bilingualism; the hurdles and rewards of multiculturalism; and questions of belonging and exclusion in times of international and domestic conflict.

    The project's organizers include, in addition to Ehrstine, Elizabeth Heineman and H. Glenn Penny, both professors in the Department of History.

    Katie Ehlers

  • American Studies Professor and Chair Lauren Rabinovitz guest edits issue of "American Studies Journal"

    February 01, 2019

    Lauren Rabinovitzjournal coverThe Chair of the Department of American Studies, Professor Lauren Rabinovitz, guest edited the new issue of the American Studies Journal titled The Food Issue.

    The volume (Volume 57, number 3, published January 16, 2019), with an introduction by Professor Rabinovitz, contains a heterogeneous mix of articles approaching food in American culture. Topics include the roles of food in immigration history and in histories of the counter-culture of the 1960s, representations of food in art and literature, food and popular culture, and views on contemporary political concerns regarding slaughterhouses as factory food businesses and the sociological post-incarceration employment in food businesses. For access to PDFs of the table of contents and the articles (requires subscription), visit

    Lauren Rabinovitz joined the University of Iowa faculty in 1986. She is the author of six books, most recently including Electric Dreamland: Amusement Parks, Movies, and American Modernity (Columbia University Press). Her current research and teaching interests include American cinema; amusement parks and world's fairs; and foodways. 


The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa is a comprehensive college offering 73 majors in the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. More than 17,000 undergraduate and 1,900 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by professors at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all UI undergraduates through the General Education Program, and confers about 70 percent of the UI's bachelor's degrees each academic year.