Fall 2022 CEAH Grant Awardees


Travis Butler (Philosophy and Religious Studies) Wealth and Faction in Plato’s Laws Support from CEAH will allow Travis Butler to expand his research into a new area at the intersection of historical scholarship of Plato’s political thought and contemporary political philosophy. Scholarship of the history of philosophy can be a valuable tool for reminding us of possibilities that our current conceptual frameworks occlude from our vision. One such possibility is captured in Plato’s argument that the civic and political ills caused by extreme wealth and inequality, especially civic faction and conflict, can be avoided by placing legal limits on the possession of wealth by individuals and the degree of inequality between classes. Scholars of Plato’s thought have focused primarily on this argument as it occurs in the Republic–a dialogue in which the limits on wealth are wedded to the notorious doctrine that philosophers should rule. Butler’s project focuses instead on the argument in Plato’s Laws—a much less familiar work in which Plato defends a more egalitarian political framework. This project will result in the first article-length treatment of this argument in the Laws, focusing especially on Plato’s detailed and subtle explanation of the psychological and political mechanisms by which extreme wealth and inequality cause factional conflict in society. It will also bring Plato’s argument into conversation with recent discussions in contemporary political philosophy of legal limits on wealth and inequality. 

Xavier Dapena (World Languages and Cultures) Nobody Expects the Spanish Revolution: The Radical Imagination of Graphic Novels in Contemporary Spain This project, titled Nobody Expects the Spanish Revolution: The Radical Imagination of Graphic Novels in Contemporary Spain, is a book-length historical examination of the production of graphic novels since 2007, in light of the entangled cultural reverberations of both the praxis and theoretical work associated with social movements and grass-roots collectives. Given the emergence of the cultural phenomenon which The New York Times has called the “Golden Age of Comics in Spanish”, this project intervenes within a limited but expanding tradition in Hispanic studies by emphasizing a countervisuality of radical imagination in graphic novels. Building on Nicholas Mirzoeff’s concept of “countervisuality,” this book explores the intersection of graphic novels and contemporary social movements in Spain, how they affect each other, how they are documented, and how they reimagine our world. The project’s core hypothesis is that the works analyzed provide extensions of the visual strategies of social movements, mirroring their values and practices and exploring radical democratic experimentation. 


Alex Braidwood (Graphic Design) Mechanisms for Actualizing Speculative Soundscapes The immersive, experiential works known as Mechanisms for Actualizing Speculative Soundscapes (MASS) engage listeners with the natural world through technological mediation in two different but interrelated modes of presentation. The first is a multi-channel, immersive audio experience composed using water monitoring data to create sounds that fill an exhibition space. The second is a live performance in the immersive experience, composed using field recordings of nature sounds from around the world. The immersive experience is a dynamic, real-time, data-driven, multi-channel audio installation bringing focus, reflection, pause, and intention to the process of engaging with the natural world. The installation's data comes from research buoys and sensor stations collecting data in lakes and rivers throughout Iowa. This immersive experience translates these environmental data into a technologically mediated experiential form. Similar to experiences in nature, this real-time data-driven installation is different with each encounter, no matter the length of the exhibition. The live performance uses the popular music platform of the DJ to present nature sound in a live event and streaming media context. Sounds used in the performance are developed from field recordings, and the overall composition is structured based on biological behavior in the wilderness. Nature sound, specifically, and listening in general, is largely underappreciated in our visually dominant culture. MASS encourages people to slow down, listen, be present, and appreciate the interrelationships between nature, sound, and each other. 

Maurice Meilleur (Graphic Design) Digital fonts and diagrams for Jurriaan Schrofer: Under Construction Maurice Meilleur will use the time gained from a course release to code the constructed script designs of the postwar Dutch graphic designer Jurriaan Schrofer into digital fonts. This will significantly advance work on Jurriaan Schrofer: Under Construction, a ‘speculative catalog raisonné’ of Schrofer’s designs that Meilleur is writing. Using this method will allow him both to describe, reproduce, and diagram the scripts precisely, and explore variations and recombinations of them to demonstrate their formal and conceptual potential beyond what Schrofer himself had done during his lifetime. Combined with critical analysis, and reproductions of images of Schrofer’s own plans and sketches and the designs in application, Meilleur’s book will be the first of its kind in design history and theory. 

Jonathan Sharp (Music) “Chain of Command and the Development of Electronic Percussion Performance Practice” is a multi-part project based around Graham Fitkin’s electronic percussion solo, Chain of Command. With this project, Jonathan Sharp will perform this percussion solo on the Xylosynth, a revolutionary electronic mallet keyboard instrument made by Wernick in England. This mallet keyboard simulates the feel of a marimba, but creates a fully digital output, sending signal to a computer for digital processing in real time. With this device, Dr. Sharp will perform Chain of Command at the National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy in May 2023 (Memphis, TN) as well as the Studio 300 Digital Arts and Music Festival in September 2023 (Lexington, KY). These national conferences are ideal platforms to present this innovative electronic music to a very wide national audience of music scholars and performers. The fully electronic percussion solo Chain of Command pioneers a new path for the solo percussionist in our everchanging world of contemporary music. In learning this piece, Jonathan will explore various digital methods, software setups, and electronic hardware configurations to ascertain a clear and consistent model and method of performing electronic percussion works. He will translate this experience into published journal articles which will identify and detail a consistent “performance practice’ in general electronic solo percussion. This “performance practice” will be a reference for advanced and professional percussionists to simplify the learning curve and approach to performing electronic and electroacoustic percussion works. 


Simon Cordery (History) Peace and Justice Studies Association Annual Conference, 2023 The ISU History Department is proposing to host the 2023 Peace and Justice Studies Association Annual Conference. We plan to do this in cooperation with the ISU Sustainable Peace Faculty Learning Community. This organization has held twenty-two previous meetings, gathering most recently in Alliance, Ohio, at the University of Mount Union. At the Conference scholars and activists concerned with fostering a peaceful world present research findings and participate in workshops elucidating the theme of Building Sustainable, Positive Peace.