Cultural Postmortem 2020

Online - please register
Wednesday, January 27th, 2021 4:30 PM

The Public Policy Center is proud to support this event hosted by the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.

How can artists and scholars help the nation contend with the peril in which we find ourselves—starting with our own campuses? 

The 2020 US presidential race was one of the most politically and ideologically divisive and contentious races that we’ve ever seen. As the events of January 6, 2021 have illustrated, the nation remains divided: political leaders at the highest level are challenging election results without evidence or a basis in reality and a largely white group of insurrectionists tried to overthrow the US government.

Our research centers, located in three different states that also have a history of divided state government, are bringing together three artist-scholars to reflect on the social and political fall-out from the 2020 election. Together they will reflect on ways the cultural and creative disciplines—critical race studies, history, literature, cross-cultural creative work—can help us to process what has happened and guide us in imagining and building paths forward.


  • Ruth Ellen Kocher, Professor of English and Associate Dean for Arts & Humanities, University of Colorado-Boulder
  • Christopher Merrill, Director of the International Writing Program, University of Iowa
  • Malinda Maynor Lowery, Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Study of the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.


Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events.  If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Leslie Gannon in advance at