Iowa City Public History

Academic Year 
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences - Department of English
Project Partner 


Iowa City has a rich history composed of multiple layers of interaction among human individuals and our society, the natural and built environments, and other species. Graduate students in a Department of English course examined this history through the lens of environmental humanities, a discipline which interrogates the relationships among literature, cultural production, and environmental conditions to analyze questions such as: Through human history, what roles have we given ourselves as a species among other species and features of Earth? How should we think and work and live in the present? What kind of future do we want to enable? Students will take parklands along Iowa River as the focus of these questions, concentrating on environmental justice concerns related to use and misuse of the river, as well as the affective dimension of peoples’ interactions with and conceptualizations of the river.


The project resulted in a website with audio and visuals about this history that can be accessed from the parks for use in taking self-guided tours. Take a tour of the website,