Out in the Field: Finding Wonder | An Obermann Center Conversation

Three researchers whose work takes them into the field reflect on the experience of being far removed from screens, phones, and what many of us associate with everyday work. George Peterson, the Director of Dive Programs at the Monterey Bay Sea Aquarium, shares his love of scuba and the discoveries he makes under the world's oceans as a way to provoke wonder in others and spur them toward conservation. Cynthia Chou, UI professor of Anthropology, has spent three decades on a longitudinal ethnographic research study on sea nomads—in particular, the Orang Suku Laut (People of the Sea) of the Riau Archipelago in Indonesia. She has lived on the water with them for up to fourteen months at a time. And Katina Lillios, UI professor of Anthropology, has spent several decades concentrated on the histories of the people who lived in Portugal and Spain from the Neolithic through the Bronze Age (4000-1000 BC), with considerable amounts of her time spent on archeological digs in the region.

Together, they will talk about the wonder and joy of being physically connected to these places and how they balance that awe with the need to be in researcher mode—taking in information and safely doing their jobs. They'll consider how being in the field allows for unexpected discoveries that aren't as possible from the safety of an office, and what field-based research suggests for learning practices at this time when students of all ages are increasingly screen-bound.

This program is cosponsored by the Iowa City Public Library and the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.

Gardening, Nature, and Home Obermann Conversations