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Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research Conference Roundup Oct. 19 at UW

October 15, 2018
head shot of woman
Caroline McCracken-Flesher

Panel discussions and a keynote address are among highlights of the annual Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research (WIHR) Conference Roundup Friday, Oct. 19, at the University of Wyoming.

The conference celebrates the humanities not only at UW, but also throughout the entire state, says Sarah Strauss, WIHR acting director and anthropology professor. The conference will be held in the American Heritage Center’s (AHC) Stock Growers’ Room. The conference is free and open to the public.

The conference begins at 9 a.m. and has a closing reception from 5-7 p.m. in the UW Art Museum’s lobby.

The conference’s keynote speaker is UW Department of English Professor Caroline McCracken-Flesher, who will give the inaugural Eric Sandeen Honorary Lecture. Sandeen is a former professor and chair of UW’s American Studies Program, and the founding director of WIHR.

McCracken-Flesher will present “Writers on the Rails: The View of the West from the New Union Pacific” at 12:30 p.m. in the AHC’s Stock Growers’ Room.

Her talk is a timely subject because next year, the transcontinental railroad turns 150. Her talk takes the view from the train. Famous writers Robert Louis Stevenson, Isabella Bird, Oscar Wilde and John Welsey Powell all traveled across Wyoming.

“What did they see as their eyes met our landscape for the first time?” McCracken-Flesher asks. “Often, their expectations, formed by their reading, faltered in the face of the West. The landscape was both stranger and more occupied than they had expected.”

McCracken-Flesher is a scholar of British and especially Scottish literature, and is the author of numerous books on the stories Scots tell about themselves and for the wider world: romantic, futuristic, horrific and domestic. She has lectured on Scottish literature at the Scottish Parliament and holds the Clan Scott Society Order of the Stag.

She is originally from the United Kingdom and leads a number of international initiatives, including the UW summer school at Abbotsford, Scotland. McCracken-Flesher, who has been at UW 29 years, received a Master of Arts degree from Edinburgh University, Scotland, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Brown University. She also spent two years at Oxford University as a graduate student. She has received numerous awards for teaching and research, including UW’s highest teaching honor, the John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award, and the highest faculty honor, the George Duke Humphrey Distinguished Faculty Award.

All conference sessions will take place in the Stock Growers’ Room unless otherwise noted. Among presentation titles and panelists are:

-- 9:15-10:30 a.m.: “Performativity,” moderator Michael Edson, UW Department of English; Paul Flesher, UW Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, “Acoustic Typology of Ancient Synagogues in Greater Galilee”; Laura DeLozier, UW Department of Modern and Classical Languages, “Looking for Minors in Roman Arena Audiences”; and Jennifer Dare, Northwest College, Department of English, “Reasonable Sin: The Seductive Lore of Paradise Lost and Lady Gaga.”

-- 10:45 a.m.-noon: “Gender, Disability, Resistance,” moderator Mollie Hand, UW Department of Modern and Classical Languages; Molly Marcusse, UW American Heritage Center, “Women’s 1st Run at the U.S. Senate”; Colleen Denney, UW Gender and Women’s Studies Program, “Bored Women in 19th-Century Art: Presaging a Call to Action”; and Alison Harkin, UW Gender and Women’s Studies Program, and Disability Studies, “Using Analytical Personal Narratives to Teach Social Justice Issues.”

-- 10:45 a.m.-noon, Miller Classroom, fourth floor: “Place and the Humanities,” moderator Barbara Logan, UW Gender and Women’s Studies Program; Peter William Walker, UW Department of History, “The Church Triumphant? The American Refugee Clergy and the Anglican Counterrevolution, 1783-1800”; Susan Aronstein, UW Department of English, “Grails, Goddesses and Tourists: Mapping the Medieval in Glastonbury”; and Nevin Aiken, UW School of Politics, Public Affairs and International Studies, “Addressing the Injustices of the Past: Socioeconomic Deprivation and Intercommunal Reconciliation in Northern Ireland.”

-- 1:45-3 p.m.: “The Politics of Identity,” moderator Joy Landeira, UW Department of Modern and Classical Languages; Arielle Zibrak, UW Department of English, “The Gilt Edge of China: Competing Social Movements at the Fin de Siècle”; Adam Blackler, UW Department of History, “‘My Nearly-White Wife’: Colonial Citizenship and the Racial Boundaries of Germanness, 1904-1914”; and Phineas Arthur Kelly, UW Department of Anthropology, “UW, the Arapaho and the Land/Language.”

-- 1:45-3 p.m., Miller Classroom, fourth floor: “The Land and Technology,” moderator Sarah Strauss, UW Department of Anthropology; Erick Robinson and Robert Kelly, UW Department of Anthropology, “The Contribution of Archaeological Big Data to Contemporary Sustainability Studies”; Teena Gabrielson, UW School of Politics, Public Affairs and International Studies, “The Visual Politics of Environmental Justice”; and Robin Hill, Department of Computer Science, “The Phenomenology of Programming.”

-- 3:15-4:45 p.m.: “Race, Gender, Resistance,” moderator Michael Harkin, UW Department of Anthropology; Melissa Morris, UW Department of History, “Tobacco and Resistance in the Early Modern Atlantic”; Cecilia Aragon, UW Latina/o Studies Program and Department of Theatre and Dance, “Performing ‘Two-Spirit People’ with Latinx-Indigenous Drags”; Margarita Pignataro, UW Latina/o Studies Program, “Esera Tuaolo’s Alone in the Trenches: My Life as a Gay Man in the NFL”; and Chavawn Kelly and Jamie Egolf, UW Extension and independent scholar, respectively, “Beyond Wine of Wyoming: Finding Ernest Hemingway in Wyoming’s Wilderness and the Wilderness of the Psyche.”

The WIHR was founded in 2013 through the efforts of Sandeen and the UW humanities faculty, and with the support of the university administration. With the creation of the 2017 UW strategic plan, WIHR continues to be at the forefront of university academic initiatives as a priority program in the new capital campaign, Strauss says.

The institute promotes, supports and showcases humanities scholarship across UW and throughout the state. In addition to sponsoring invited speakers, events, discussion groups and fellows, WIHR supports the individual and collaborative research projects of UW faculty members and professional staff.

For more information, call Strauss at (307) 223-5484 or email wihr@uwyo.edu.

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