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2016 WIHR Research Projects

Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research

2016 Awarded Research Projects

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 competition and thanks to all who entered!

Individual Research Projects

Graham pic

Andrea Graham

Wyoming Community Halls

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. I am interested in how communities organized and funded the construction and maintenance of these halls, how they were used and how those uses changed over time, and why some have fallen into disuse and others are still active. My research will include documentation of the buildings with photographs and measured drawings, interviews with local residents, research in museums and private collections, and attendance at events still held in local halls. My final product will be a set of five exhibit panels with photographs and text that can be displayed on campus as well as offered to museums, libraries, and community halls in the communities represented.
Brown pic

Michael Brown

The Karlag Project: Volga German Diaspora to Kazakhstan in Soviet Russia

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.

Adelt photo

Ulrich Adelt

Representations of the Electric Guitar at Two Museum Sites: The Experience Music Project and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

In this project, I look at representations of the electric guitar at two popular American museums: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland and the Experience Music Project Museum in Seattle. Both museums heavily draw on electric guitar iconography and sound in their architecture and displays. Both have attracted controversies (EMP because of Frank Gehry’s sheet-metal construction; the Hall of Fame for its location and induction criteria). In my analysis, I am particularly interested in how the electric guitar perpetuates and challenges identity formations like “race,” gender, and sexuality. Two major aspects of my research are the depiction of “women in rock” (itself a highly contested term) and the portrayal of Jimi Hendrix, a guitarist situated at the nexus of racialized and gendered discourse and with significant representation in both museums.


Collaborative Research Projects

Brandon S. Gellis, Art & Art History; Shelby Shadwell, Art & Art History; Dr. Thomas Minckley, Geography

MicroEcos: Strengthening Human-Nature Connections through Digital-Sculpture Reconstructions of Biological Communities

`MicroEcos’ is a series of 3D digital-sculptures created to bring tactile and tangible data-driven art to humanities audiences. As Wyoming and Wyomingites are inherently naturalistic – and are proud of their natural landscapes – ‘MicroEcos’ serves to strengthening and encourage human-nature connections. Harnessing 3D modeling and printing technology ‘MicroEcos’ will take form as a series of 3D printed models (Gellis) of the Last Canyon rock shelter sites, near the Wyoming and Montana border, and Little Windy Hill pond site in Wyoming’s Medicine Bow National Forest. These digital, interactive 3D sculptures will provide audiences with glimpses of three-dimensional historical environments, and create dialogue of how local ecosystems have been formed.

Vanessa Fonseca, Latina/o Studies and English; Robert Perea, English; Adam Herrera, University of Wyoming Foundation; Troy Lovata, Honors College, University of New Mexico

Cultural Remnants of New Mexican Sheepherding in Wyoming

New Mexican sheepherders began arriving to Wyoming in the 1800s and contributed greatly to the development of a thriving sheepherding culture in Wyoming that continues today. Alongside Basque sheepherders, New Mexicans were praised for their keen knowledge of sheepherding and knowledge of the land and were recruited heavily to work in the Wyoming sheep camps. The cultural documentation of this group of people is evidenced in folklore, photography, oral histories, and arborglyphs that decorate the Wyoming landscape. The majority of arborglyphs relating to New Mexico sheepherders is located throughout Carbon County and date as early as 1905. Funding from WIHR will allow the collaborative team to travel to Carbon County to photograph the existing arbor glyphs and the surrounding landscape, which will add a valuable element to ongoing research efforts to document New Mexican migration to Wyoming through detailed cultural analysis.

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