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Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research

Dr. Scott Henkel, Director

The Cooper House

1000 East University Avenue

Department 4036

Laramie, WY 82071


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Past Events


2018   |   2017   |   2016   |   2015   |   2014   |   2013 


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2018 Events

Mini Conference: "Heritage Tourism – From Scot-Land to Disney-Land"
November 12

Have you visited Disneyland, Wyoming’s Buffalo Bill Center of the West, or Shakespeare’s Stratford? Then you’re a heritage tourist. Attendees learned about historic houses far and wide, from Camelot to Hollywood’s back lot.

Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research: Roundup 2018
October 19

First annual Eric Sandeen Honorary Lecture in the Humanities was presented by Caroline McCracken-Flesher, entitled “Writers on the Rails.” Along with other Wyoming faculty presenting recent humanities research.

Guest Lecture: Dan Murphy “ Communities and Climate Change: Forging Collaborative Adaptive Pathways Through Scenario-Building”
October 15

Dr. Murphy is an Associate Professor at the University of Cincinnati. He is a cultural anthropologist and political ecologist whose research explores the interwoven relationships between humans and their environment.

The talk explored new models of collaborative planning through the potential of narrative-based scenario-building. By reframing the process of adaption as a dynamic temporal and spatial decision-making pathway, scenario-building can invite a diverse range of stakeholders including communities and resource management agencies to collaboratively plan and enact shared futures. Though a serious of case studies this talk elucidated many of the key barriers, constraints, and limitations of collaboration and scenario-building in order to help practitioners and stakeholders avoid pitfalls of scenario process design.

Guest Lecture and Workshop: Medieval Mania
October 8 – 9

Paul Sturtevant is a Visiting Research Specialist for the Smithsonian Institution, editor of The Public Medievalist, and author of The Middle Ages in Popular Imagination: Memory, Film and Medievalism.

Lecture: “Misusing the Middle Ages: A quick tutorial in the subtle art of protecting your friends and family from the extreme right-wing's toxic nonsense about history”

Workshop: “How to Present Good Histories to the Public without Losing Your Mind (much)”

Guest Lecture and Workshop: Massimo, Pigliucci, "Stoics Unite"
October 8 – 9

Massimo Pigliucci is Professor of Philosophy at CUNY-City College, formerly co-host of the Rationally Speaking Podcast, and formerly the editor in chief for the online magazine Scientia Salon. The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, along with WIHR, is sponsored Massimo Pigliucci’s visit.

Lecture: “Stoicism as a Philosophy of Life” followed by reading group “How to be Stoic”

Community Storytelling Event: Sans façon
April 26

Sans façon is an art practice that responds to the relationship between people and place.
Working internationally, their approach renews awareness and tempts interaction with the surroundings, and is realized through networks of communities, organizations and individuals.

Guest Lecture: Alan Riach “Arts and the Nation”
April 26

Alan Riach, scholar and poet, is Chair in Scottish Literature, University of Glasgow, Scotland. Riach writes on arts and independence for Scotland’s Newspaper

Guest Lecture: Dr. Matt Adams “Armageddon and the Sixth Roman Legion”
April 18

Adams is the Director for the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem and Co-Director of the Jezreel Valley Regional Project and the Tel Megiddo Excavations

Shepard Symposium Event: Dr. David Roediger “Getting Solidarity Right: Realism, Hope, and Utopias in Reviewing Social Movements.”
April 13

For decades David Roediger has thought through what brings working people in the United States together and what drives them apart. A product of Midwestern public schools, Roediger has joined with Tonie Morrison, Ta Nehisi Coates, Cheryl Harris, and others to write about white identity. He particularly illuminates the ways in which commitment to such an identity can make its holder inattentive to the miseries inflicted on the other side of the color line by racism and unable to join with others in addressing miseries that reach into the white population. Roediger has established himself as a writer and speaker whose work speaks to the needs of social movements.

From Cowboys to Cyborgs: UW Conference on Posthuman”
April 6

Featured Speakers: Chloe Robertson “Constructing the Self: How we build narratives to justify an intangible sense of humanity” | Caroline McCracken-Fletcher “Posthuman Humanities: Iain M. Bank’s Altered States of MIND” | Ciara Bain “Stomping on Feminine Discourse: Viktoria Modesta, Disability, & Controlling the Gaze” | Jennifer Thimell “Pedagogy 2.0: Extending Multimodal Literacy to Cover Digital Praxis for Web 2.0” | Val Pexton “The Evolving Zombie: Mirror for the Living” | Jim Creel, Keynote “Toward a Kairotic Posthumanism” | Ben Platt “Like Tears in the Rain of Galactic Capitalism: The Labor of Man and Replicant in Blade Runner” | Jordan Norviel “Conjuring Inhumanities: Conjuring Flesh in Charles Chestnutt’s The Conjure Tales” | Patrick Moore “Cracks in the Shell: Disability, Prostheses & Possibility in Anne McCaffrey’s The Ship Who Sang”


2017 Events

Conference in Honor of Eric Sandeen
October 6

Colleagues were invited to present their favorite paper of the year, or their work in progress, at a conference to honor Eric Sandeen in his retirement.

Eric Sandeen was the longtime director of American Studies, and founding director of UW’s Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research.

Guest Lecture: Scott Henkel “The Humanities and the Land Grant University Mission from the 19th to the 21st Century”
May 8

Scott Henke is an assistant professor in the Department of English and in African American and Diaspora Studies. In this public presentation, he explores the history and future of land-grant universities.

University of Wyoming, like other land-grant universities across the country, was established under the Morrill Act of 1862. The U.S. government gave land to state and territorial governments so institutions of higher learning could be endowed to benefit all citizens of that region through practical research, outreach and quality education for all, not just the wealthy or elite.

Research Presentation: Andrea Graham “Wyoming Community Halls”
April 26

Community halls have served as important social and cultural centers in many rural areas of Wyoming for over 100 years. They are the location for club meetings, holiday parties, wedding receptions, polling places, dances, 4-H meetings, and other events serving a widely dispersed population. This research, from the perspective of a folklorist, focuses on creativity and community—how people express their need for beauty in their everyday lives, and how they maintain connections to the groups that make them who they are, be they familial, occupational, regional, ethnic, or religious. The presentation will explore how communities organized and funded the construction and maintenance of community halls, how they were used and how those uses changed over time, and why some have fallen into disuse and others are still active. Community halls are a tangible expression of the need for community in a local area, and a creative solution to making a space for people to gather.

Distinguished Lecturer: Lawrence Weschler “Art and Science as Parallel and Divergent Ways of Knowing”
April 17

Nowadays, artists and scientists tend to think of their ways of probing the world as distinctly different. But such was not always the case (in fact the divide is only a few centuries old; think of Leonardo, think of the wonder cabinets of the seventeenth century). Nor may the differences be all that distinct or even real. In a lecture originally developed for a conference sponsored by the National Science Foundation, longtime New Yorker writer Lawrence Weschler--director emeritus of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU (where the sciences were emphatically included as part of and central to the humanities) and author, among others, of "Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder" and "Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences"--will extrapolate on such themes, with side-meanders into the thinking of artists Robert Irwin and David Hockney (subjects of his two most recent books) and a whole new interpretation of Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson.

Distinguished Lecturer: Jim Harris “Objects of Inquiry: Ways of Seeing, Ways of Knowing in the Humanities”
April 10

Moderated by Jim Harris, an art historian from Oxford University’s Ashmolean Museum, a Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research (WIHR) panel discussion at the University of Wyoming explored questions museum objects can generate in research and teaching. Panelists were Nicholas Crane, assistant professor, UW Department of Geography; John Dorst, professor, UW’s American Studies Program; Erin Forbes, assistant professor, UW Department of English; Janice Harris, professor emeritus, UW Department of English; and facilitator Isa Helfgott, associate professor of History.

Summer Research Fellowship: Colleen Denney “Lena Connell, British Suffrage Photographer, Women Activists and the Cult of Celebrity”

Lena Connell was one of a small group of women suffrage photographers in Edwardian period England who established a palatable image of British women activists for the press and an admiring public through her formal portraits. I argue that her portraits offer a new way of seeing women who, for the first time in their lives, en masse, were crossing the threshold of the domestic realm to embrace a public one. I will share portraits as part of an examination of an art-as-propaganda moment, as the suffragists surged forward in their fight for votes for women between 1906-1914.

Research Presentation: Ulrich Adelt “Displaying the Guitar: The Rock Hall of Fame and the Museum of Pop Culture”
March 22

Adelt looked closely at two museum sites, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, Washington, in the context of the field of museum studies. Adelt analyzed how their representations of popular music, in particular their depictions of electric guitars, echo as well as shape racialized, gendered, and otherwise “identified” views of what can loosely be defined as rock and roll. While the Rock Hall largely strives to preserve a canonical version of the genre and primarily speaks to a baby-boomer audience, MoPOP offers a more interactive and broadly focused view of popular culture that includes rock and roll as one of many elements. Yet, even the more liberatory approach of MoPOP is clearly tied to capitalist notions of popular music distribution and commodification.

Summer Research Fellowship Presentation: Conxita Domenech “Staging the Revolt of the Catalans: Early Modern Spanish Dialogues with Catalonia”
March 8

The war of 1640 was a singular conflict in that it came to be not only a physical fight but also a propagandistic one. Printed pages were as powerful as guns.  Anonymous authors created hundreds of gazettes, notices, poems, and songs during the twelve years of the campaign, transforming the revolt of Catalonia into a war of papers. Profoundly interdisciplinary in its scope, The 17th century play, The Arrival of the Marquis de los Velez to Catalonia, is a riveting eyewitness account of a modern war.

Research Presentation: Michael Brown “The Karlag Project: The Volga German Diaspora to Kazakhstan in Soviet Russia”
March 1

Beginning in 1941, Russia forced 400,000 Volga Germans to resettle in Siberia and Kazakhstan, a harsh diaspora imposed by Stalin. Understanding their fate and experiences is important to help us learn the impact of diaspora on people and their culture, while at a personal level families learn what happened to relatives. We have knowledge of Volga Germans sent to Siberia but little is known about those interned in Kazakhstan. Historical analysis of the Karlag archives at the Dolinka Museum near Karaganda, Kazakhstan, promises to reveal the names and experiences of Volga Germans interned there. Karlag was the largest Soviet gulag and was located in central Kazakhstan. The results will be documented through a television program produced by Kazakhstan Karagandy TV, a publication in the Journal of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, and additions to online Volga German research databases.

Distinguished Guest Lecturer: Nelson Maldonado-Torres “The Fate of the Humanities after the 2016 Election: From Post-Radicalism to Decolonization”
February 3

Professor Maldonado-Torres is an Associate Professor at the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies and the Comparative Literature Program of Rutgers University.

It did not take much time after November 8th to find academics making the point that the results of the elections called for a renewed commitment with university education, particularly, with the humanities. Given the outrage about the election results and the overwhelming environment of hate and open rejection of historical analysis and scientific facts that were present during the presidential campaign, it was not a bad moment to remind liberal political leaders that their support of measures to de-invest in public higher education may have contributed to the outcome, including the current neo-fascist populist trends. Yet, such defense of the university and the humanities is premature before a serious consideration of the extent to which, generally speaking, the university as a whole and the humanities in particular have been complicit with a post-racial view of our age that served as a generative background for the emergence of more open forms of racism than we have seen since a few decades before the election of the first African American President. The contemporary crises of the research university and the humanities have to be put in the context of a larger crisis about the meaning and significance of evidence and facts, as well as of the desegregation and decolonization of bodies, cultures, and knowledge in contemporary U.S. society. The context calls for the exploration of transdisciplinary decolonial epistemic formations that are able to identify the linkages between liberalism and fascism as well as between the call for tolerance in the traditional humanities and the crisis of "diversity" in institutions of higher learning and in society. In short, for the humanities to prove their relevance today they have to transit from post-racialism to decolonization. 


2016 Events

Distinguished Guest Lecturer: Dr. Camilla Stivers “Why Can’t A Woman Be Less Like A Man”
November 14

Recent decades have seen increasing numbers of women in U. S. public service as elected and career officials. Yet progress has been slow, a glass ceiling remains, and women’s salaries have continued to lag behind men’s. Prof. Stivers will unpack some of the taken-for-granted gender assumptions that continue to restrict women’s public activities and highlight some of the contributions women have made to the public good as they struggled to find an equal place in public service.

Camilla Stivers, PhD, has had a multi-decade career in public service: 20 years as a practitioner in community-based nonprofit organizations, and more than 25 years as an academic, teaching at The Evergreen State College (Washington State) and Cleveland State University. She retired from full-time teaching in 2008 but continues active scholarship.  Currently she is editor of a public administration book series for University of Alabama Press, entitled “Public Administration: Criticism and Creativity.”

Grant Winner Presentation: “Laying the Human and Digital Foundations for an Electronic Cultural Atlas of Heart Mountain Wyoming”
November 10

Heart Mountain is a striking landmark in northwest Wyoming that has oriented multiple communities including the Apsáalooke (Crow); settlers and Buffalo Bill; 10,000 Japanese Americans at the Internment Camp; GIs with homesteads; contemporary ecologists at the Nature Conservancy’s Heart Mountain ranch.

Our interdisciplinary team consists of historian of religions Dr. Mary L. Keller, UW,  Dr. Tim McCleary, Head of Crow Studies at Little Big Horn Tribal College, and Dr. Ramesh Sivanpillai of WYGIS.  We will describe the foundation for methodology and platform of the Electronic Cultural Atlas (ECA), whose long-term goal is depicting searchable cultural landscapes with embedded multimedia.

Special Event: A Conversation with Sam Western
November 3

A social opportunity to talk with Sam Western, author of the 2002 study of Wyoming’s economy and culture, "Pushed Off the Mountain, Sold Down the River." Western is writing a sequel to that volume and teaching a course on Wyoming futures at Sheridan College in which he asks a series of provocative questions, extracted below from an editorial in the Sheridan Press. To this the WIHR faculty can add at least one: What role can/will/must the humanities have in shaping Wyoming’s future?

Two-Part Discussion: The Earth, Wind and Water Series: The Future of the West
November 2-3

Keynote Patty Limerick, Facility Director and Chair of the Board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado-Boulder presents “Wyoming and the West: Looking Back to Look Forward”

Keynote R. Andreas Kraemer, Senior Fellow, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Founder and Director Emeritus Ecological Institute, Berlin, Germany. Presentation “From the World to the West: Responses and Options in a Changing Resource Landscape”

Panelists: Jean Garrison, Global and Area Studies | Chuck Mason, Economics and Finance | Mark Northam, School of Energy Resources | Sarah Strauss, Anthropology

Research Presentation: Cathryn Halverson, WIHR International Fellow
October 18

Her book project, “Faraway Women and The Atlantic Monthly,” explores the texts, lives, and authorial careers of a group of working-class women writers from the American West who published their life narratives in the nation’s most prestigious literary magazine, The Atlantic Monthly.  Ellery Sedgwick, the editor they shared, dubbed these unlikely Atlantic contributors “Faraway Women.”  The study’s main subjects include Elinore Pruitt Stewart, a Wyoming homesteader; Opal Whiteley, an Oregon diarist; Hilda Rose, a farmer in Idaho and Alberta, Canada; and Juanita Harrison, an African American traveler based in Los Angeles and Waikiki.

Research Presentation: Kerstin Schmidt, WIHR International Fellow
September 22

Prof. Schmidt is working on a book-length manuscript called "Negative Space and the Making of Modern America: Concepts of Space in American Literature, Architecture, and Photography (1850-1920)," investigating how notable reconfigurations of spatial aesthetic arrangements in American architecture, photography, and literature have shaped early modern American culture and contributed to a larger cultural aesthetic transformation that may have been instrumental to a shift towards a more open and democratic design in U.S. society and eventually to the making of modern America.

Grant Winner Presentation: Barbara Logan, “The Murder of Angels: Gender, Policing, and Punishment in Victorian Scotland”
April 27

My goal is to investigate how the Victorian gender ideal of women as ―the Angel in the House‖ influenced the outcome of two notorious murder trials in Scotland in the year 1862. The first case, Mary Timney, marked the last public hanging (and execution) of a woman in Scotland; the second case, Jessie McLachlan, resulted in a public outcry that led to a petition with 100,000 signatures asking for clemency, a special parliamentary commission, and a royal respite. In comparison, the last judicial execution of a man in Scotland was in 1963 (Harry Burnett), and the last execution of a woman in the United Kingdom (Ruth Ellis) was in 1955. Capital punishment was not abolished throughout the U.K. until 1998. The research is intended to add to both historical and contemporary scholarly investigations of the macro-structural, gendered, socio-economic forces that construct, criminalize, convict, and execute some citizens, while sparing others.

Grant Winner Presentation: Elizabeth Hunt, “Seeing through the Margins of Flemish Psalters, ca. 1300”
April 27

Guest Lecture: Susan Oliver, “Transatlantic Magazines and the Rise of Environmental Journalism in the Nineteenth Century”
April 7

Susan Oliver, Visiting Fellow, Reader in Literature, considers how a culture of transatlantic environmental journalism emerged during the early to middle decades of the nineteenth century.

Guest Lecture: Jonathan White “Retracing in Balzac a Socio-Cultural Archaeology of Paris”
April 7

Jonathan White, Professor Emeritus in Literature, examines a remarkable 19th century literary figure and his startlingly prescient description of the modern city of danger and violence.

Guest Lecture: Dr. Kahlil Gibran Muhammad “The Long Arm of the Past: State Violence and the Enduring Logic of Mass Criminalization"
March 10

Dr. Muhammad is the Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library.

Guest Lecture: Todd Breyfogle “A Vision for the Humanities in the 21st Century”
February 18

Todd Breyfogle is the Director of Seminars at the Aspen Institute.

Guest Lecture: Christopher Newfield “The Great Mistake: How Private-Sector Models Damage Public Universities, and How they Can Recover”
February 4

This lecture offers an overview of how privatizing public colleges has made them more expensive for students while lowering their educational value, and will outline more productive policy directions.

Christopher Newfield is Professor of literature and American studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


2015 Events

Grant Winner Presentation: Ekaterina Alexandrova
November 19

The WIHR Individual Research Grant will allow me to spend two months conducting research at the Bibliothèque Nationale Française for my book A Fateful Idea: The Representation of Suicide in the Eighteenth-Century French Novel, which investigates the evolution of the fictional portrayal of self-inflicted death in Enlightenment France. While a scholarly consensus exists on the birth of modern suicide as a critical facet of the Enlightenment, our understanding of this phenomenon has come predominantly from the study of historical and philosophical sources, and remains woefully incomplete. Moreover, neglect of the fictional representations of suicide in eighteenth-century France has also contributed to an inaccurate perception of literary history, since it is generally accepted that suicide was a Romantic preoccupation, inspired in part by Goethe’s Werther. Filling an important gap in scholarly knowledge, my analysis highlights the close connections between the developing novelistic treatment of suicide and philosophical thought on the subject, and ultimately suggests that these depictions indicate ambivalence toward the major social and ideological upheavals of the period. The study of fictional representations of suicide thus provides a vital window to the progression of the crucial transformations wrought by the Enlightenment, which continue to shape us today. 

Grant Winner Presentation: Rebecca Steele
November 19

 In my new book project, Screams in the Dark: Female Monsters in 19th Century German-Language Literature, I will investigate the intersectionality and multiple oppressions present in the female monster, which appears in German literature of the19th century during times of major upheaval and transition. Witches, sirens, mermaids, and golems can be found in fairy tales at the turn of the century, marking the peak of the socio-political debate on definitions of gender and their implication for women’s rights. Shape-shifters, mermaids, and spiders appear mid-century, when the first wave of women’s rights advocates declare that the emancipation men were seeking during the 1848 revolutions should apply to both sexes.  My project will uncover and interpret the various ways male and female authors create, shape, and transform female monsters as a mechanism to understand and synthesize their changing socio-political landscape.

Grant Winner Presentation: Bunny Logan
November 19

My goal is to investigate how the Victorian gender ideal of women as ―the Angel in the House‖ influenced the outcome of two notorious murder trials in Scotland in the year 1862. The first case, Mary Timney, marked the last public hanging (and execution) of a woman in Scotland; the second case, Jessie McLachlan, resulted in a public outcry that led to a petition with 100,000 signatures asking for clemency, a special parliamentary commission, and a royal respite. In comparison, the last judicial execution of a man in Scotland was in 1963 (Harry Burnett), and the last execution of a woman in the United Kingdom (Ruth Ellis) was in 1955. Capital punishment was not abolished throughout the U.K. until 1998. The research is intended to add to both historical and contemporary scholarly investigations of the macro-structural, gendered, socio-economic forces that construct, criminalize, convict, and execute some citizens, while sparing others.

Distinguished Guest Lecture: Dr. Louis Menand “Hannah Ardent on Totalitarianism”
October 1

Abstract: In 1951 the noted political theorist and German émigré Hannah Arendt, published The Origins of Totalitarianism, which became one of the most important lenses through which Nazism, anti-Semitism, and the holocaust of World War II could be understood. Dr. Menand discusses the book in the context of the Cold War and in terms of Arendt's relationship with the influential philosopher Martin Heidegger. He also assesses the book's important stature in the literature of totalitarianism.

The Ucross Experiment: Cross Pollination of the Arts and Sciences documentary film screening “World Premier”
April 30

Abstract: In the summer of 2014, artists and scientists gathered for an experiment in cultivating an understanding of the land and people of Wyoming.  Working at the Ucross Ranch with the sponsorship of WIHR, the Wyoming Humanities Council, and other organization, the participants sought to catalyze mutual respect and deep conversation founded on humanist inquiry.  Collaborative research, informal conversations, and public presentations fostered lasting, scholarly relationships that will unfold on a continuing basis to yield socially valuable and intellectually compelling formulations of the humanities at UW through art and science, two of Western culture’s most abiding approaches to comprehending ourselves and our place in the world. According to Jeff Lockwood, the Experiment's impresario, "the environmental problems that we face are the products of our being fully human—biophysical, technological, sociopolitical, economic, historical, rational, emotional, creative, moral, and spiritual creatures—and the stakes are too high for us to retreat from the powerful questions posed by the humanities."

Research Presentation: Kerstin Schmidt, WIHR International Fellow
September 22

Guest Lecture: Steven Hutchinson “Narrating the Return Journey”
April 25

Goode Family Excellence Fund Lecture, in part with the Don Quixote program, brings guest speaker Professor Hutchinson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Symposium: “Hunting: A Huminites Conversation”
April 24-25

The symposium is prompted by the State Museum's current display, The Art of the Hunt, in Cheyenne. This is a collaborative project between the Wyoming Arts Council and the UW American Studies Program. There will be two events with Distinguished Professor, Jan Dizard, of Amherst College. Hosted by Dr. John Dorst.

Presentation: Dr. Dizard will "What Made Hunting in the US a Model of Conservation and What Now Threatens That Model?" 

Roundtable Discussion: "Hunting and the Humanities." with Dr. Jan Dizard

Don Quixote in the American West: A Fourth-Centenary Celebration.
April 23-26

Co-Sponsored talk on Japanese Magna
April 10

Workshop: “Write Winning Grant Proposals for the Humanities and Arts”
January 14


2014 Events

Guest Lecture: Dr. Jim Harris “Agile Objects, Agile Minds: Teaching and Learning in the University Museum”
December 9

Dr. Jim Harris is a Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford

Guest Lecture: Dr. Peter Kaufman “Such Large Discourse: Leadership and the Humanities”
November 24

Kaufman is a Professor at the University of Richmond

Guest Lecture: Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe “Reconstructing the View: The Grand Canyon Photographs of Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe”
October 14

Mark Klett is a pioneer in the field of re-photography.  Using his training as a geologist, Klett positions his camera at the precise location of classic views of the west.  Through his lens we see persistence, change, and the ways in which these disarmingly grand views of the west were framed to highlight characteristics of the landscape.  Byron Wolfe’s photographs connect his interests in time, change, and place.  Both Klett and Wolfe have received Guggenheim Fellowships to support their work.

Co-Sponsored Symposium: “Immigration Policy and its Impact from a Wyoming and U.S. Perspective”
September 17-18

The symposium featured invited presentations that explore the themes of nationhood, citizenship and belonging; values and social otherness; borders; questions of social justice; individual, national and cultural identities; the ways in which people reinvent themselves, their cultures and their worlds in new contexts; and the role language plays in controversial conversations such as assimilation and education.  Featured speaker will be Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Antonio Vargas, who, in a June 2011 essay in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, revealed his status as an "undocumented immigrant" in order to promote dialogue about the immigration system in the U.S.  Vargas is the founder of "Define American," a non-profit organization intended to open up dialogue about the criteria people use to determine who is an American.

Co-sponsored with the Alan K. Simpson Institute, American Heritage Center.

Guest Lecture: Sam Mihara “Memories of Hear Mountain: As experienced by former prisoner Sam Mihara”
September 25

Guest Lecture: Dr. Colin Samson presents his research on First Nation Sovereignty
September 16-17

A screening of the documentary film Nutak - Memories of a Resettlement, followed by Q&A with Samson, who was the project consultant for the film.

A public lecture: "The Architecture of Dispossession: Neocolonialism and Neoliberalism in Aboriginal Land Claims Agreements in Canada." 

Samson's visit is sponsored by the American Indian Studies Program, the Department of English, and the Office of Research and Economic

Spring Research Presentation: Marianne Kamp, History “Reappraising an Uzbek Literary Hero”
May 1

My purpose for this grant is to support the final research and writing of a paper on cultural memory after an ideological earthquake. This research concerns culture, history and memory: how does the rise and fall of a hero illustrate change as a nation sunders itself from a socialist past and forges an Islamic present?

Spring Research Presentation: Eric Nye, English “Penetrating the Secrets of the Past in Literary Manuscripts: Reflectance Transformation Imaging and the Modern Palimpsest”
May 1

When John Kemble deleted dozens of lines in his 1830-1 manuscript journal, what was he trying to hide? Today the secret may be yielded up to a new technology for analyzing artifacts in the humanities called Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI). Using inexpensive equipment and software developed by the nonprofit Cultural Heritage Imaging Corporation, I will attempt to recover the content of those lines so successfully overwritten or obliterated to the naked eye.

Spring Research Presentation: Marcus Watson, Anthropology and Global & Area Studies “Are Digital Technologies an Alienating Form of Communication? The Case of the Bulsa of Ghana’s Upper East Region”
May 1

Digital technologies (DTs) promise to make communication instantaneous. But does instant contact with faraway others depend on feeling increasingly alienated from those who remain physically present? This question anchors the proposed project, which involves a month and a half of ethnographic study in the summer of 2014 among the Bulsa of Ghana’s Upper East Region.

Spring Research Presentation: Conxita Domenech and Kevin Larsen, Spanish “Don Quixote in the American West: A Fourth-Centenary Celebration (1615–2015)”
May 1

Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote is often read, especially, though not exclusively in the Hispanic tradition, as a vital key to understanding humanity, not to mention, the humanities. Unfortunately, our comprehension of a multitude of aspects of this “key” remains incomplete, even obscure: particularly the Second Part of Don Quixote (1615) suffers from a relative lack of critical interest and requires further analysis. We hope to shed additional light on Part Two of Don Quixote, attracting regional and international attention to Cervantes’ text, impacting the way it will be read from now on.

Spring Research Presentation: Lisa Hunt, Art History “Digital Photography for The Count's (Im)Pious Prayers: The Psalter of Guy of Dampierre, Count of Flanders, 1278-1305”
May 2

My study compares the uses of heraldry and marginalia in the Dampierre Psalter to manuscripts by the same illuminators to those connected to Guy’s family, allowing for reassessment of the Count’s audience.

Spring Research Presentation: JoAnna Poblete, History “Common Subjectivities: American Sāmoan and Pacific Islander Labor Migrant Experiences under U.S. rule, 1900 to the present”
May 2

Through research and oral histories in American Sāmoa, this project investigates the history of imperialism that native people and migrants to the region experienced through U.S. rule. Many Pacific Islands face similar conflicts of indigenous versus settler rights, where native sovereignty is seen as oppositional to immigrant struggles. My project provides a new perspective to this divisive binary.

Spring Research Presentation: Isadora Helfgott and Nicole Crawford, History and UW Art Museum “Museums and Reconciliation in Cambodia: A Cross Cultural Collaboration between UW and the Sleuk Rith Institute”
May 2

The project is a three-stage collaboration with the Sleuk Rith Institute in Cambodia, the leading organization for commemoration and remembrance of atrocities committed under the Khmer Rouge. The project will begin a long-term collaboration between UW and the Sleuk Rith Institute involving faculty from multiple units and visiting scholars from Cambodia.

Spring Research Presentation: Caroline McCracken-Flesher, English “Homecoming: A Scottish Phenomenon?”
May 7

Exile and the hope of return pervade Scottish culture. I research this phenomenon through to today. To determine what “home” means to resident and emigrant Scots, and what role “homecoming” plays in the construction of modern Scotland, I will attend clan gatherings and a reenactment of the battle, and interview figures in the independence campaign.

Spring Research Presentation: Danielle Pafunda and Andy Fitch, English and MFA in Creative Writing “Post-Narcissist Poetics: Rewriting After Freud”
May 7

This book project (accessible to therapists, academics, and lay-readers) revisits Freudian texts, particularly those that contemporary critics casually dismiss. Reconstructing the collaborative solitude of analysts-in-training, reengineering fraught analyst/analysand gender dynamics, we’ll seek new inroads into Freud’s texts—literal inroads by reenacting Freud’s daily walks and long discussions, and conceptual inroads by writing daily responses to his texts and each other’s.

Spring Research Presentation: John Dorst and Bailey Russel, American Studies and Art Department “Capturing Animals at the Intersection of Art and Science: A Comparative, Humanities-based Examination of Animal Trapping Photography and Taxidermy”
May 7

Using the tools of fine art photography and ethnographic documentation, the principal participants will examine two forms of “animal capture,” each of which straddles the line between art and science. This project will look closely at these two forms of animal capture as examples of human artisanship. Our two main tasks will be to assemble thorough records of these forms of human practice and, based on this documentation, to generate productive humanities thinking about how they construct relations between humans and non-human creatures.

Guest Lecture: Christine M. Thomas PhD “Finding Paul in the Landscape of the Ancient City: Urban Space at Ephesos, Real and Imagined”
January 30

More than a century of archaeological work at Ephesos on the west coast of Turkey has unearthed impressive marble buildings in its urban center, locations dominated by the monuments of the wealthy and powerful.  They are not necessarily representative, however, of the lived context of the overwhelming majority of the city’s ancient inhabitants.  Recent survey work at Ephesos has developed the first detailed outline of the ancient coastline and of structures that provide a more complete picture of the urban landscape, and a more promising location for the social classes from which the first Christians were drawn.  With the early Christian texts found in the New Testament, this evidence provides a vision of the city that is radically different its official and visible monuments,  an “invisible city” existing alongside it.

Presented by the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program


2013 Events

Guest Lecture: Patty Limerick “Understanding the Underworld: Hydraulic Fracturing and the Depths of the Humanities”
October 30

Patty Limerick is the Faculty Director and Chair of the Board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, where she is also a Professor of History. Limerick has dedicated her career to bridging the gap between academics and the general public and to demonstrating the benefits of applying historical perspective to contemporary dilemmas and conflicts.

The humanities-based Center of the American West holds the role of outreach and public communication in this collaboration, and by all indications, the Center’s participation was a key feature of the successful pursuit of the grant. This talk covered the application of historical and literary perspectives to a vexing and contentious policy issue. Placing perceptions of hydraulic fracturing in the broader picture of human efforts to understand and envision the subsurface, Limerick advanced a proposition that she believes in the core of her soul: the humanities hold a great deal more promise for benefiting society than most members of the public—not to mention many humanities scholars themselves!—now realize.

Goode Symposium: “From Alchemy and Magic to Modern Day Medicine”
September 19-20

  • Presentation: Dr. William Eamon of New Mexico State University "Medicine as a Hunt: The Pursuit of Secrets in Renaissance Science"

  • Presentation: Dr. John Slater of University of Colorado-Boulder "Medical Satire & the Language of Alchemy in 17th Century Spain”

  • Movie: "Roujin Z", This film is a savage satire about healthcare for the aged in the 21st century

  • Presentation: Dr. Amy Vidali of University of Colorado-Boulder, "Tipping the Pain Scale: Past and Present Narratives of Gastrointestinal Disorder and Distress”

Sponsored by the Goode Family Excellence Fund in Humanities, Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research, and Gladys Crane Film Fund

Guest Lecture: Cheech Marin, “Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection”
September 6

Well-known entertainer Cheech Marin, who has gained additional acclaim as a collector of Chicano art speaks about “Chicano Art: Cultivating the Chicano Future”

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Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research

Dr. Scott Henkel, Director

The Cooper House

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Department 4036

Laramie, WY 82071


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