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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 14, 2005

Cmiel To Speak On War Photography In 2005 Presidential Lecture Feb. 27

Kenneth Cmiel, a faculty member in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and new director of the UI Center for Human Rights, will present the 22nd annual Presidential Lecture, "Seeing War at a Distance: Photography from Antietam to Abu Ghraib," on Sunday, Feb. 27. The lecture begins at 3:30 p.m. in the 4th Floor Assembly Rooms, Levitt Center for University Advancement and is free and open to the public. 

Cmiel, a professor of history and American studies, will speak about the impact of photography on people's understanding and experience of war and whether or not the medium achieves its full potential to expose the true brutality of war. He will illustrate his presentation with images dating back to the Civil War.

"I have been teaching and thinking about visual culture for a number of years now and also have been thinking about the history of violence," Cmiel said. "This lecture will draw together some seemingly disparate interests."

In conjunction with the Presidential Lecture, the Old Capitol Brass Quintet will perform. The Quintet is the university's premier graduate brass ensemble and includes Aren Van Houzen and Zach Lyman, trumpet; R. Patrick Creel, horn; Josh Bynum, trombone; and Josh Calkin, tuba.

The Presidential Lecture series provides an opportunity for distinguished faculty to present significant aspects of their work to members of the university community and to the general public. The university established this annual series to encourage intellectual communication among academic disciplines, and to provide a public forum for university scholarship, research, and creative achievement.

Cmiel has taught human rights courses at the UI for the last 10 years and is deeply committed to advancing human rights research and writing. He has published widely on the history of political ideas and the history of mass communication. Most recently, he is working on the history of human rights politics and is especially interested in how ideas about human rights have played out around the world since 1900. He has lectured throughout the United States and Europe and is currently writing a book on the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He was named UI Global Scholar in 2004 and Faculty Scholar in 1994.

A year after he received his doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1986, Cmiel's first book "Democratic Eloquence: The Fight over Popular Speech in Nineteenth-Century America " won the Allan Nevins Prize from the Society of American Historians. Cmiel teaches classes in the global history of human rights, the history of visual culture in the United States, and the history of popular music in the United States.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, mary-kenyon@uiowa.edu.