University of Iowa

For the Theme Semester  "American Dream", we're bringing together the University, City of Iowa City, state of Iowa, and national experts to explore topics involving the future of our nation.

We're exploring topics and asking questions, such as how can our university equitably serve in the 21st century? What do Americans desire? How can we imagine an American dream that embodies the values and aspirations of all Americans? How do we ensure that all Americans have an equitable say, that all exert agency over their lives, that we treat everyone with compassion and respect? How do we imagine a dream that replaces exclusion with inclusion? What does the American Dream mean to the most diverse generation in this country’s history?

Events

JANUARY

  •  Equitable Visual Representation in Fashion (Exhibition Title: Hats Off! | January 2019 - May 2019 | Figge Art Museum, Davenport, IA) 
     
  • JAN 21st MLK Day of Service: Join other UI students, faculty, and staff, and Iowa City community members for a Day of Service in Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Kicks off in the IMU 2nd Floor Ballroom with check-in from 8:00 - 8:30 AM, where you will receive your volunteer location and free t-shirt (while supplies last).  Volunteers will travel to their locations and serve from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM.  After serving, volunteers will return to the IMU for a celebration and reflection that includes a free lunch!!  The event will conclude by 1:30 PM.
     
  • JAN 25th Coffee with Dan: Meditation on home and its fundamental relationship to the American Dream

FEBRUARY

  • MLK, Jr. Week 2019: More events and activities happening during this week that will be supported by Theme Semester
     
  • FEB 18th Generation Wealth: Collaborating with FilmScene to show the film which examines materialism, celebrity culture, and social status and reflects on the desire to be wealthy at any cost
     
  • FEB 21st Book Discussion: Thursday at 7 pm, Coralville Public Library Board Room
    Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
     
  • FEB 23rd  Author Deon Harris: author of The Basic Essentials of Doing Time Constructively: The Politics of Prison and Dog Food, Deon Harris will be holding a book discussion and sharing stories from his life, involving his time incarcerated and beyond.
    Iowa Memorial Union, Room 346, 6 - 8 PM.
     
  • FEB 26th Iowa Justice Action Network (IJAN):  Mass Incarceration and specifically mental health issues are heavily under addressed needs in the incarcerated population. Representatives from IJAN will discuss policy reform and other actionable steps to cure this blight. Mothers on the Front Line will also address the school-to-prison pipeline and how mental health issues in children plays into this continuum.
    Iowa Memorial Union, Room 256, 10 AM - Noon.

     

MARCH
               

  • MARCH 11th Inside-Out Reentry Community of Iowa City: Inside Out Reentry Community (IO) serves individuals returning from incarceration. Nobody knows how hard it is to reenter society after prison better than someone who has been there. IO has both former incarcerated individuals and long-time prison volunteers to help. Find our more about their mission and volunteer opportunities.
    Iowa Memorial Union, Nine Divines Room (Room 335), 9 -11 AM
     
  • MARCH 16th Going Home Conversation Series: We Made Ourselves At Home: This three-part series will examine the past, the present, and the future of dwelling in Iowa and is supported by the University of Iowa Outreach & Engagement, the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, and MERGE Iowa City. These conversations connect three ongoing public projects. The first, Going Home, is an exhibition curated by Vero Rose Smith at the UI Stanley
    Museum of Art and on view at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa. The second, American Dreams, is the 2019 Theme Semester topic at the University of Iowa. Lastly, this three part series will serve as the central set of  conversational forums hosted by Daniel Boscaljon of Coffee With Dan. The format of Coffee With Dan consists of short conversations with each panelist which then unfold into a conversation among panelists and the crowd that has gathered.
    MERGE, Iowa City, 11 AM - 1 PM
     
  • MARCH 21st : Book Discussion: Thursday, April 18 at 7 pm, Coralville Public Library Board Room
    Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. Set in 1955, the novel focuses on the hopes and aspirations of Frank and April Wheeler, self-assured Connecticut suburbanites who see themselves as very different from their neighbors in the Revolutionary Hill Estates.
     
  • MARCH 24th Activism @UIowa: A Discussion with Rachel Garza Carreon
    Join the start of Latinx in Action Weeks Celebration through a conversation with Rachel Garza Carreon, revolving around Activism at the University of Iowa over time. Following the conversation will be time to nourish ourselves with a homemade meal, and time to create posters for the following day's rally. 
    LNACC, 6 - 8 PM

     
  • POSTPONED - DATE TBA - MARCH 25th The Struggle for Worker Safety in Iowa’s Meatpacking Industry
    Iowa Memorial Union, 3rd Floor Conference Room TBA. 4pm – 5:30pm. A conversation about Iowa meatpacking workers’ historical and contemporary struggles to secure safe workplaces, and how current state and national politics are influencing this issue. Panelists will include Iowa meatpacking workers, Labor Center oral historian John McKerley, and UI faculty TBA. 
     
  • MARCH 25th Pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha Discusses the Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan College of Public Health
    A community conversation with physician, scientist, and activist Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, FAAP, about her book, “What the Eyes Don’t See,” which examines the origins and impacts of the water crisis in Flint and implications for communities across America.
    College of Public Health, Callaghan Auditorium, 7 - 8 PM 
     
  • MARCH 25th Voces Unidas!: Continuing Activism @UIowaVoces Unidas!: Continuing Activism @UIowa
    Join the 
    'Latinx in Action' Celebration in participating in our "Voces Unidas!: Continuing Activism @UIowa". Put your new posters to use, continue the conversation from the night before, and be part of the continued activism at the University of Iowa by speaking up and having your voice be heard. 
    Danforth Chapel, 5:30 - 7:30 PM

     
  • MARCH 26th LATS Talk About Our Pride: Exploring Queer Latinidad
    This event is to provide a safe space to discuss what it means to be a part of the queer LatinX community. We hope to have a hearty discussion about ways that all can support and learn about this community. The discussion will be facilitated by Danielle Martinez and Christopher Vazquez- that will begin at 6 pm. There will be a refreshment and mingling session for the event, starting at 7 pm. UI Spectrum and the Pride House are helping further this discussion as well. A part of the 
    'Latinx in Action' Celebration events.
    LNACC, 6 - 8 PM

     
  • MARCH 27th ALMA Presents: Latinas in the Community Dinner
    This event is sponsored by the Association of Latinos Moving Ahead (ALMA)- who will be recognizing and celebrating exceptional Latinas among the University of Iowa campus community- who make a difference in the lives of students on campus. Dinner will be served, and we will learn more about the stories and experiences of these phenomenal Latinas in our community. A part of the 
    'Latinx in Action' Celebration events.
    LNACC, 6 -8 PM

     
  • MARCH 29th Latinx Alumni Panel: Career Development and Professionalism
    Join the LNACC to celebrate self-activism! We will host a panel of University of Iowa alumni who will share who they are, what they do, and how they navigated to get to where they are now. Other topics that will be discussed are career development, and professionalism. Light refreshments will be served during the event. This event is supported by the Tippie College of Business. A part of the 
    'Latinx in Action' Celebration events.

    Pappajohn Business Building W401, 4:30 - 6:30 PM
     
  • MARCH 30th Workers’ Dream for an America that “Yet Must Be”
    Old Capitol Town Centre, Suite 2520, 9am-4pm. A one-day public conference that will bring together statewide leaders from grassroots labor, faith, civil rights organizations, as well as members of the campus community, to examine workers’ struggles to define and achieve an American Dream for themselves and their families in history and today. The conference is sponsored by the UI Labor Center and the Iowa Labor History Society. Invited keynote speaker: Pablo Alvarado (Executive Director, National Day Laborer Organizing Network; co-founder, Institute of Popular Education of Southern California; named one of TIME magazine’s 25 most influential Hispanics in the U.S. in 2005.
     
  • MARCH 31st LULAC 308 Presents: Loteria Noche de Expresion Cultural
    The Mill (120 E. Burlington St.), 7 - 9 PM 

APRIL

  • APRIL 1st Dolores: Exploring Activism in Labor and Civil Rights Movements
    Come join your peers in watching a documentary about activism in labor and civil rights movements at FilmScene! The film Dolores will be shown with a panel discussion afterward. The panelists whom are professors here at the University will discuss their thoughts on the film and open the floor to any students who would like to share as well! This event is sponsored by the LNACC, FilmScene, and Bijou Student Board. This event is part of the "American Dream" Theme Semester, a program of the Office of Outreach and Engagement.
    FilmScene, Iowa City, 6 - 8:30 PM
     
  • APRIL 3rd Featured Speaker Dr. Cristobal Salinas, Jr. - Voces Perdidas & Voces de Poder: Who is Latinx?
    Join us as we conclude the 'Latinx in Action' Celebration events with our featured speaker- Dr. Cristobal Salinas, Jr.- who is an Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership & Research Methodology at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Salinas' research has focused on the following: (1) unpacking how Latina/o students experience and negotiate higher education environments; (2) interrogating the very notion of masculinity, race and ethnicity in higher education; and (3) exploring the socialization of Latina/o students into the academy. Dr. Salinas will share about his experiences to ignite change, and use our voices for power, instead of allowing ourselves to leave our voices to be lost. This event is supported and sponsored by the Tippie College of Business; Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Fraternity & Sorority Life Programs; and the Latinx Council of Faculty/Staff at The University of Iowa.
    IMU North Room (#181), 7 - 8:15 PM

     
  • APRIL 5th When the American Dream Dissapoints
    This free to the community generative-writing workshop is the second of a six-week series titled "Our City Speaks," held in cooperation with the UI Theme Semester with support from the Iowa Writers' House and Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature. This week's workshop will be held by MFA candidate Julie Kedzie and titled "When the American Dream Dissapoints."
    English-Philosophy Building, Room 110, 5 - 7 PM
     
  • APRIL 10th Community Resources to Stop Heroin (CRUSH) (Opioid and Heroin crisis) 
    CRUSH of Iowa is a grass roots, community based organization that is focused on helping those who have fallen victim to opioid addiction.  The current opioid epidemic is spreading across the country.  CRUSH of Iowa has the mission of educating communities throughout the state and working to prevent further loss of loved ones to substance abuse. They will discuss current trends, topics, and resources related to the epidemic.
    Iowa Memorial Union, Iowa Theater (Room 166), 2 - 4 PM

     
  • APRIL 12th Humanize My Hoodie: Opening Event
    Join us in welcoming co-creators of the National Art Exhibit Humanize My Hoodie, Andre Wright and Jason Sole as they give a brief talk about their project and their journey. The HMH exhibit will be expanded from the gallery with extra pieces on display throughout the entire museum for 1-night-only.
    Old Capitol Museum,  4 - 6 PM
     
  • APRIL 13th Carla Dawson, Reconciliation in Rwanda: Carla Dawson, board member of Iowa CURE attended the International meeting of CURE held in Kigali, Rwanda. The conference explored reconciliation, restorative justice practices, alternative to imprisonment and other issues in the criminal justice context while taking an up-close look at the Rwandan experience of post-genocide reconciliation, especially through the use of "Grass Courts." Carla will share her experiences and how they relate to Iowa.
    Iowa Memorial Union, Room 166, 10 AM - Noon
     
  • APRIL 16th Documentary screening of "OWNED"The United States’ postwar housing policy created the world’s largest middle class. It also set America on two divergent paths -- one of imagined wealth, propped up by speculation and endless booms and busts, and the other in systematically defunded, segregated communities, where “the American dream” feels hopelessly out of reach. Owned is a fever dream vision into the dark history behind the US housing economy. Tracking its overtly racist beginnings and its unbridled commoditization, the film exposes a foundational story that few Americans understand as their own.
    Main Library, Shambaugh Auditorium, 7:30 PM

     
  • APRIL 18th Living Beyond The Bars of Iowa (LBTB's) - Living Beyond The Bars provides support and resources for Inmates and their loved ones. They will discuss how incarceration can affect families and friends of incarcerated individuals, and the help and support available. For more information about the organization, please visit: https://www.livingbeyondthebars.org/
    Iowa Memorial Union, Room 166 2, 5 - 7 PM.
     
  • APRIL 20th Going Home Conversation Series: Home Making Where the Heart Is
    This three-part series will examine the past, the present, and the future of dwelling in Iowa and is supported by the University of Iowa Outreach & Engagement, the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, and MERGE Iowa City. These conversations connect three ongoing public projects. The first, Going Home, is an exhibition curated by Vero Rose Smith at the UI Stanley Museum of Art and on view at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa. The second, American Dreams, is the 2019 Theme Semester topic at the University of Iowa. Lastly, this three part series will serve as the central set of conversational forums hosted by Daniel Boscaljon of Coffee With Dan. The format of Coffee With Dan consists of short conversations with each panelist which then unfold into a conversation among panelists and the crowd that has gathered. 
    MERGE, Iowa City, 11 AM – 1 PM
     
  • APRIL 20th Humanize My Hoodie
    In conjunction with the University of Iowa Theme Semester: The American Dream, Humanize My Hoodie brings insight into the lives and experiences of black people and the societal biases they must navigate daily. Humanize My Hoodie is a National Art Exhibit dismantling the stigma of black people in hoodies. The exhibit and related programming seeks to further the discussion with hoodies intended to dismantle the stigma associated with clothing. The Old Capitol Museum is proud to display the exhibit during the month of April and we invite the public to visit this powerful project during regular museum hours. We thank the proud sponsors of HMH who have shown commitment to equity, justice, and art: MidwestOne Bank, ICR Iowa, and Art Share.
    Old Capitol Museum, entire month of April
     
  • APRIL 22nd: Lecture - Does journalism endanger the American dream? 
    Prof. Michael Schudson of Columbia University will deliver the School of Journalism and Mass Communication's 2019 McGranahan Lecture.  The event is free and open to the public. Prof. Schudson is a renowned journalism scholar, the author of seven books on the history and sociology of the media, and the recipient of multiple honors, including a MacArthur Foundation “genius” Fellowship. You can read more about him here: https://journalism.columbia.edu/faculty/michael-schudson  
    Becker Communication Studies Building Room 101, 7 - 8:30 PM

    APRIL 24th “Sneak Peek” Screening of New Documentary on the 9to5 Movement
  • Jane Fonda’s idea for the movie “9 to 5” was inspired by an actual national organization of office workers co-founded by Fonda’s friend and fellow activist Karen Nussbaum. This film-in-progress tells the story of the working class women who built a national movement to confront harassment and low pay – their victories and unfinished business that women workers continue to confront today.
    Iowa Theater - Room 166, IMU, film at 5:30 PM

     
  • APRIL 26th Workers’ Memorial Day Commemoration
    Each year, workers and their unions across the country observe Workers’ Memorial Day to remember those who lost their lives on the job in the previous year, and to renew the fight for safe workplaces. This year’s event will also commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the worst industrial accident in Cedar Rapids history – an explosion at the Douglas Starch Works in Cedar Rapids that took 43 workers’ lives.
    Iowa City Library, Room A, 12:30 PM

MAY

  • MAY 18th Going Home Conversation Series: When Will We Get Home?
    This three-part series will examine the past, the present, and the future of dwelling in Iowa and is supported by the University of Iowa Outreach & Engagement, the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, and MERGE Iowa City. These conversations connect three ongoing public projects. The first, Going Home, is an exhibition curated by Vero Rose Smith at the UI Stanley Museum of Art and on view at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa. The second, American Dreams, is the 2019 Theme Semester topic at the University of Iowa. Lastly, this three part series will serve as the central set of conversational forums hosted by Daniel Boscaljon of Coffee With Dan. The format of Coffee With Dan consists of short conversations with each panelist which then unfold into a conversation among panelists and the crowd that has gathered. 
    MERGE, Iowa City, 11 AM – 1 PM
     
  • Exhibition Title: Anonymous Donor | May 2019 - August 2019 | Figge Art Museum 

JULY

  • JULY 23-27rd Midwest School for Women Workers
    University-based labor education programs across the Midwest take turns hosting this annual 5-day leadership program that brings together a diverse group of women workers from economic sectors across the region, to study workers’ legal rights, leadership skills, and contemporary policy issues that impact women workers and their jobs. Instructors come from university and labor-based education programs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri.

Students
For Students

 


For Faculty and Staff
Faculty and Staff

  • Plan a Theme Semester event or activity.
  • Spread the word! Help bring our message to campus and community by using the hashtag #UITheme at your events and continue to visit theme.uiowa.edu.
  • Join in! We encourage everyone to integrate at least one activity, reading, or project -- even a modest contribution counts -- into their spring classes and activities!
  • Get Involved! If you have a project, idea, or activity for the Theme Semester or you'd like to work with us, please contact Theme-Semester@Uiowa.edu; we'd love to hear from you!

Community Partners, Alumni, and Friends
For Community

  • ​Collaborate with campus and community members on Theme Semester projects, research, or events.
  • Join the conversation by posting to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using #UITHEME throughout the semester.