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Release: Nov. 14, 2000

Two UI professors win awards for communication scholarship

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Two University of Iowa professors won awards from the National Communication Association in recognition of their distinguished scholarship.

Robert P. Newman, an adjunct professor of communication studies, was one of three people named NCA Distinguished Scholars for a career of outstanding scholarship. John Durham Peters, an associate professor of communication studies, received the James A. Winans-Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award for his book "Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication."

The Distinguished Scholar Award that Newman won recognizes a lifetime of scholarly achievement in the study of human communication by members of NCA. The NCA Distinguished Scholars nominate and vote on adding members to their ranks.

Newman is one of the world's leading authorities on the history of American foreign relations. Shifting ideas and debates among historians about how one should tell the tale of Nazi Germany also occupy his scholarly time and energy. In the last year he organized a series of lectures and symposia focused on examining the year 1950 as a turning point in American history.

The Winans-Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address that Peters received is given to authors of outstanding and distinguished scholarship that has been published by NCA members from April through March of the previous year. The award carries a $1,000 stipend.

In "Speaking into the Air," (University of Chicago, 1999) Peters shows that thinkers across the centuries have struggled with questions about how we can make contact with others, what has become of human beings in increasingly technological times and how new modes of communication have altered the ways we imagine our world and relate to others. He traces the yearning for contact not only through philosophy and literature, but also by exploring the cultural reception of communication technologies from the telegraph to the radio.

The National Communication Association presented these awards at its 86th annual meeting, November 9-12, in Seattle. The NCA is the oldest and largest scholarly society for the communication discipline.