News and Events

Missing the woods for the trees

Women and children from northwest India spend more than 20 hours a week walking to existing stands of trees, cutting down wood, and carrying as much as 70 pounds home to use as cooking fuel.

As part of an Obermann Working Group, H.S. Udaykumar, professor of mechanical engineering in the University of Iowa College of Engineering and Meena Khandelwal, associate professor of anthropology and gender, women's, and sexuality studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, have forged a unique collaboration around this issue. They are looking at how an inexpensive solar cooker that Udaykumar is creating with student assistance would alleviate not only problems of deforestation but also improve the lives of women and girls.

The two will discuss their efforts to trace the linkages among forests, energy, gender relations, health, consumption, and culture, and between the local and global processes at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 13 at the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, 111 Church St. Khandelwal and Udaykumar direct an Obermann Working Group, a program that allows participants from across campus and beyond to explore complex issues at a moment when cross-disciplinary collaboration is crucial to address shifting domains of knowledge and a rapidly changing world. The program is currently taking applications for the next academic year.

This presentation is part of Obermann Afternoons, an informal speaker series at the Obermann Center that features faculty research and highlights issues of current importance. The next talk will be given by Matt Rizzo, professor of neurology in the Carver College of Medicine, at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 30.

For more information, contact Neda Barrett at or 319-335-4034.

Story Source: UI Health Care Marketing and Communications, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room W319 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

Media Contact: Neda Barrett, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, 319-335-4034