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Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research

Dr. Scott Henkel, Director

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Past Events


2021   |  2020   |  2019   |  2018   |   2017   

2016   |   2015   |   2014   |   2013 


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2021 Events

Mixed Race Children and the Whiteness in the Post-Nazi Era

Womb Wars: Mixed Race Children and the Whiteness in the Post-Nazi Era
December 13

Please join the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research on Monday, December 13th, at 5:30 pm, when Dr. Tracey Owens Patton, professor in the departments of Communications and Journalism, and African American and Diaspora Studies in the School of Culture, Gender, and Social Justice, will deliver this year's Sandeen Lecture in the Humanities. The title of Dr. Patton's lecture is: "Womb Wars: Mixed Race Children and Whiteness in the Post-Nazi Era."

There is a sense that WWII represented a seminal moment in racial thought and that the realization of the Holocaust was transformative in the role of race-thinking by state agencies and popular institutions, particularly in the U.S. Dr. Patton's research challenges this assumption, particularly since Black American soldiers went back to a country that held steadfastly to Jim Crow, which included anti-miscegenation laws. Separating race and racism in Germany and in the United States becomes impossible to untangle because they are braided together, and while many biracial German children remained in Germany, the U.S. and German governments collaborated and destroyed families by forbidding interracial coupling and encouraging white German women to put up their mixed-raced children for international adoption in an effort to keep Germany white. Dr. Patton uses her own family’s history as an exemplar, this research explores issues of race, gender, place, and nation as it relates to this largely erased history.

Photo description: Twins, Lilli (left) and Lore (right) at the Wasserturm (Water tower) in Mannheim, Germany which is a popular landmark in the city. Family photo, author’s private collection, supplied by Lilli.

¿Qué Pasa Profesora?

¿Qué Pasa Profesora?: A conversation about Scholarly Projects in Modern & Classical Languages by Previous Humanities Fellow in Spanish
November 18

Each year, the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research welcomes a new cohort of Research Fellows. Chosen through a competitive process, these researchers have demonstrated that they are working on compelling projects that speak to both academic and broader public audiences. In this Think & Drink, we welcome back Research Fellows who participated in the first three cohorts to talk about their ongoing writing and knowledge-making activities. All four panelists are from the Spanish faculty in UW's Modern and Classical Languages Department, which should inspire some interesting conversations and crossovers. Please join us for an engaging and thought-provoking conversation about research activities and projects in the field of Spanish. Panelists include Joy Landeira, head of the department of Modern & Classical Languages and professor of Spanish; Irene Checa-García, associate professor of Spanish; Conxita Domènech, professor of Spanish; and Chelsea Escalante, assistant Professor of Spanish.

Getting Published

Getting Published
November 4

Tips from the acquisitions team at University Press of Colorado and University of Wyoming Press. The speakers include Allegra Martschenko, Acquisitions Editor; Darrin Pratt, Director; Nate Bauer, Acquisitions Editor; and Rachael Levay, Acquisitions Editor.

The Democracy Lab Launch Event with Danielle Allen

The Democracy Lab Launch Event with Danielle Allen
October 5

Please join us as we launch the new Democracy Laboratory with an online conversation featuring Dr. Danielle Allen, author of Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality.

Dr. Danielle Allen is the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought. She is the recipient of the 2020 John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity, an award administered by the Library of Congress that recognizes work in disciplines not covered by the Nobel Prizes.

Think and Drink

Heritage Interpretation: Origins, Practices and Responses to a Changing World
June 24

If you’ve ever been enthralled by a park ranger’s story during a national historic site guided tour, listened to a docent bring the objects in a museum exhibit to life, watched the excitement on a child’s face as a zoo employee explained the care and feeding of a rare primate, or stopped to read an interpretive sign explaining the natural wonders of a spectacular state park, you have experienced heritage interpretation. This installment in the Think and Drink series will look at this uniquely compelling communicative art form. The panelists for this event include: Larry Beck, Ph.D., professor in the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at San Diego State University; Kelli English, Chief of Interpretation, Education and Outreach for John Muir National Historic Site, Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site, Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, and Rosie the Riveter / World War II Home Front National Historical Park in the San Francisco, California East Bay area; and Don Enright, Ontario, Canada-based freelance interpretive planner. This event will be moderated by Milward Simpson, Wyoming Humanities board member and Executive Director of the National Association for Interpretation (NAI).

Think and Drink

Writing Lives: Two Biographers Discuss Their Art and Craft
May 13

Ann McCutchan, who is the author of the newly-published book The Life She Wished to Live: A Biography of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Author of The Yearling (2021).  McCutchan is the author of six works of biography and memoir, including Marcel Moyse: Voice of the Flute and Where’s the Moon?: A Memoir of the Space Coast and the Florida Dream. The founding director of the University of Wyoming’s MFA in creative writing program and former editor of American Literary Review, McCutchan grew up in Florida and now lives in Wyoming. The Life She Wished to Live received a great review in today's New York Times--check it out! Leslie Brodie, author of Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh (2020). Brody is a biographer, playwright, and professor of creative writing. She adapted Harriet the Spy for the stage in 1988 and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award and a PEN America award for creative nonfiction. She has been an on-staff book columnist for Elle magazine. She lives in Redlands, California. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Ken Gerow.

The Democracy Lab Launch Event with Danielle Allen

Environmental Histories of Colonial Americas
April 22

This panel looks at the field of Early American Environmental History. Although Environmental History is a flourishing subfield, the use of an environmental lens has been somewhat reluctantly applied to the Colonial Americas—North, South, and Caribbean. This is despite the fact that the colonization of the New World had monumental environmental consequences which continue to resonate in the present day. Panelists will address trends in the field, how Environmental History can transform our understanding of the Colonial Americas, and why it matters today. Our panelists:   Keith Pluymers, PhD, History, Illinois State University (and author of the just-about-to-be-released No Wood, No Kingdom: Political Ecology in the English Atlantic from UPenn Press) Scott Cave, PhD, Independent Scholar and Historical Consultant specializing in the Spanish Colonial archives Melissa Morris, PhD, History, University of Wyoming, whose expertise is in the cross-cultural interactions that defined colonial encounters, the role of plants in driving European expansion, the dissemination of geographic and agricultural knowledge, and colonial failures in the Americas. The panel is moderated by Dr. Ken Gerow.

Three Assassinations of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Three Assassinations of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
April 8

This presentation examines the layered nuances regarding the events, federal intelligence agencies, and other entities involved in the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Our presenter is Dr. Fredrick Douglass Dixon, the director of UW's Black Studies Center.

Think and Drink

Women at Work
March 25

This panel considers how women’s labor has been historically devalued and how they have fought to make it more visible; women’s campaigns for improved labor conditions, and in particular childcare; how COVID-19 has derailed some of these gains. This week's Think & Drink is co-sponsored by UW's program in Gender and Women's Studies. Our panelists: Dr. Anna K. Danzinger Halperin, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Women's History and Public History at the New-York Historical Society. Dr. Danziger Halperin is a historian of public policy, gender, and childhood, and teaches in the joint N-YHS and CUNY School of Professional Studies Museum Studies program. Dr. Nick Juravich, Assistant Professor of History and Labor Studies and Associate Director, Labor Resource Center at University of Massachusetts, Boston. Professor Juravich’s research interests include labor history, public history, urban history, the history of education, and the history of social movements in the twentieth-century United States. He teaches courses on labor and working-class history, public history and public memory, the history of public schooling, and the history of Greater Boston. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Melissa Morris.


“Stray” Documentary Film and Panel Conversation
March 23

Based on themes from the new documentary film "Stray" panelists will expand our thinking about the role and future of animal shelters. We'll explore intersections between animal welfare and social justice, and the ways in which our connections to animals enrich our lived experiences and what that means for the animals themselves. Watch the film using our link below and then join us for the conversation on the 23rd! Panel moderated by Britney Wallesch, Executive Director, BDAR. The panelists include:
Sloane Hawes, Research Associate, Institute for Human-Animal Connection

Ali Mickelson, Public Affairs Advisor, Dumb Friends League | Dr. Marc Bekoff, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UC Boulder

Think and Drink

Women and Politics
March 11

This panel is co-sponsored by the UW Program in Gender and Women's Studies, and it will bring together experts on women’s political involvement throughout U.S. history. We will consider how women agitated for change through formal channels and outside of them, the gains women have made in the political arena, and the work that remains to be done. Our panelists: Dr. Kimberly Hamlin, Professor of History at Miami University and author of the just-released “Free Thinker: Sex, Suffrage, and the Extraordinary Life of Helen Hamilton Gardener.” Dr. Tracey Owens Patton, Professor of Communications and Journalism and African American and Diaspora Studies at the University of Wyoming and author of “Gender, Whiteness, and Power in Rodeo: Breaking Away from the Ties of Sexism and Racism.” Dr. Nancy Small, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wyoming and author of the forthcoming book “Paradox and Agency in Transnational Spaces: White US American Women in Qatar.” Dr. Rosemarie Zagarri, Professor of History at George Mason University and author of (among other titles) “Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic.” This panel was moderated by Dr. Melissa Morris.

Challenging Police Prospectives

Challenging Police Perspectives Surrounding the Controversy of Defunding
February 26

The Black Studies Center and the Wyoming Institute For Humanities Research co-host our Think & Drink on “Challenging Police Perspectives Surrounding the Controversy of Defunding.” This conversation will discuss the complexities and layered nuances of this controversial topic. Our panelists are: Aaron Appelhans, Albany County sheriff. Jael Kerandi, a student leader at the University of Minnesota. Kevin Lee, a police lieutenant at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago Mike Samp, UW police chief. Moderator: Ms. Timberly Vogel, The Black Studies Center’s Director of Community Engagement and Research Assistant

2020 Events

Think and Drink

The Illusion of the American Dream vs. the Reality of the Death of Black Wall Street
December 1

This discussion centers on the need to reckon with the 100th anniversary of the death of Black Wall Street through cultural, economic and political lenses,” says Dr. Fredrick Douglass Dixon, the Black Studies Center’s director and an assistant professor in the UW School of Culture, Gender and Social Justice. Black Wall Street refers to an affluent Black neighborhood in Tulsa, Okla.’s Greenwood District in the early 1900s. It was the scene of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, also called the Tulsa Race Riot, one of the most severe incidents of racial violence in U.S. history. Violence broke out between white Tulsans and Black Tulsans May 31, following a newspaper report of an alleged assault of a white woman by a Black man. When the violence ended the next day, between 30 and 300 people were dead -- mostly Blacks residents -- and Black Wall Street was destroyed. Our panelists are: -- Courtney Pierre Joseph, an assistant professor of history and African American studies at Lake Forest College. -- Chad Robinson, an adjunct professor in UW’s African American and Diaspora Studies. -- Raymond Winbush, a research professor and director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University Moderator: Dr. Dixon

Then fight for it

“Then Fight for It”: The History of Alaskan Native Civil Rights
December 7

In this lecture, Dr. Caskey Russell examines the history of Alaskan Native civil rights through the context of the Anti-Discrimination Bill of 1945 which banned and penalized racial discrimination and segregation throughout the Territory of Alaska. To understand how this bill became law nearly twenty years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he examines the tribal histories of the architects of the Anti-Discrimination Bill (Elizabeth and Roy Peratrovich—both Tlingit Indians) as well as the native political organizations that evolved in Alaska to combat racial discrimination. It is likely many Americans have never heard of Peratroviches, or of the brutal segregation and racism that Alaskan Natives faced throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, or of the decades-long battle Alaskan Natives engaged in to end that segregation. This lecture can both rectify that lack of knowledge and contextualize Alaska Natives’ role in the ongoing struggles for Native American civil rights.

Think and Drink

Eradicating Racism Through Critical Self Awareness
November 12

Our cultural Norms (and biases) are often held so deeply that we are not aware of them at a conscious level. Our panelists from the San Diego School District discuss the work they do to help individuals become more explicitly aware of biases (racism in particular) as a step towards its eradication. Panelists: Ebonee Weathers and Dr. Dulcinea Hern from the San Diego United School District Moderator: Dr. Fredrick Douglass Dixon.

Think and Drink

Suffrage and its Legacies
October 22

“Suffrage and its Legacies: Women, Politics, and the Vote” Renowned historian Ellen Carol Dubois will be speaking about her most recent book, Suffrage: Women’s Long Battle for the Vote, commemorating the broad sweep of the women’s suffrage movement. Dubois will have a conversation with Cathy Connolly, Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies and Wyoming state representative about the intersectional legacies of the suffrage movement, women in politics, and the ongoing fight for voting equity. The discussion will be moderated by UW’s own celebrated historian of the American West, Renee Laegreid. Featured Speaker: Ellen Carol Dubois, Professor Emeritus, History, UCLA Ellen Dubois is the author of numerous books on the history of woman suffrage in the US. She is the coauthor, with Lynn Dumenil, of a foundational textbook in US women’s history, Through Women’s Eyes: An American History with Documents and coeditor, with Vicki Ruiz, of Unequal Sisters: In Inclusive Reader in US Women’s History. Her most recent book, Suffrage, traces the wide historical scope of the movement to win the vote for women. The book begins in the pre-Civil War years with foremothers Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Sojourner Truth, exploring the links between the women's suffrage movement to the abolition of slavery. After the Civil War, Congress granted freed African American men the right to vote but not white and African American women, a crushing disappointment. DuBois traces the perseverance of suffrage leaders through the Jim Crow years into the reform era of Progressivism, and centers the activism of African American women, led by Ida B. Wells-Barnett, who demanded voting rights even as white suffragists ignored them. Discussant: Cathy Connolly, Professor, Gender and Women’s Studies Dr. Connolly’s research involves an examination of social stratification and institutions, particularly the law and the economy. She has published pieces that address issues in Wyoming including the wage gap between men and women, and gay rights. In 2008, Cathy was elected to serve in the Wyoming House of Representatives, representing House District 13 in Laramie. In her legislative capacity, Connolly has also earned certificates from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Western Legislative academy for state leaders. Moderator: Renee Laegreid, Professor, History, University of Wyoming Renee Martini Laegreid specializes in the history of the American West, with a focus on gender and culture in the late nineteenth to mid- twentieth century. Dr. Laegreid has served as the UW faculty representative on the Governor’s Council for the Women’s Suffrage Celebration.

Think and Drink

University of Wyoming President Edward Seidel and Dr. Gabrielle Allen
October 15

Our discussion includes a vision for the Land Grant University mission in the 21st century and how the University of Wyoming can meet the statewide and global challenges we face.  Dr. Edward Seidel is the University of Wyoming's 28th president. Previously, in the University of Illinois System, he was Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation; leader of the Illinois Innovation Network; Founding Interim Director of the Discovery Partners Institute; Founder Professor, Department of Physics; Professor, Departments of Astronomy and Computer Science, Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment; and Senior Research Scientist and Former Director at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Dr. Gabrielle Allen has been associate dean for research in the College of Education, professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Curriculum and Instruction, and research professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Think and Drink

Moving Walls, Past and Present
October 1

This talk begins a larger symposium called "Conversations Beyond the Walls" hosted by the University of Wyoming Art Museum and American Studies Program in conjunction with the exhibition Moving Walls: Heart Mountain Barracks in the Big Horn Basin. The goals of this series are to honor the history of Japanese American peoples incarcerated in Wyoming and beyond, and to integrate arts with complex cultural issues. In doing so, we hope to look at an historical event to address contemporary narratives such as global human migrations, dis/placement of peoples, power and control, empathy and belonging, homesteading, resiliency, diversity, and social justice issues of today. Visit the UW Art Museum website for details and registration information. Our Speakers: Dr. Adam Blackler, UW Assistant Professor of History Jerry Fowler, J.D., Assistant Professor, UW College of Law Jamie Crawford, J.D., UW Law School Golten Fellow in International Human Rights, Immigration Attorney Aura Newlin, Board Member, Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation This panel is moderated by Dr. Eric Sandeen, UW Emeritus Professor of American Studies; Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation board member.

Think and Drink

Nicholas Kristof | Rebuilding the American Dream
September 17

We are in the midst of a global pandemic, of an awakening global awareness of racism and other “isms” of oppression (religious, gender, sexual orientation). Each of these alone is alarming and deserving of societal attention and change. Yet there is another pandemic in this country that has been mostly below the radar. Devastating unto itself, it also feeds the traumas of the issues mentioned above. Published in 2020, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, coauthored by Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, will form the basis for a Think & Drink conversation that promises to encompass many dimensions of current affairs. According to The Washington Post, Kristof "rewrote opinion journalism" with his emphasis on human rights abuses and social injustices, such as human trafficking and the Darfur conflict. Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa has described Kristof as an "honorary African" for shining a spotlight on neglected conflicts. The panel will be moderated by Ken Gerow.

Think and Drink

Querencia: A Love or Attachment to a Place
September 3

A virtual Think & Drink featuring Dr. Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez, Assistant Professor of English at Arizona State University; Dr. Myrriah Gómez, Assistant Professor, Honors College, University of Mexico; Dr. Karen R. Roybal, Assistant Professor of Southwest Studies at Colorado College; Dr. Lillian Gorman, Director of Spanish as a Heritage Language Program and Assistant Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Arizona.

Think and Drink

Taking on Technoculture: Unpacking Images, Media, and Objects
August 20

While technology is often associated with greater objectivity, neutrality, and efficiency, critical humanities scholarship has demonstrated how technologies are constituted within, and often actively reproduce, unequal power dynamics in society. This interdisciplinary panel will turn common-sense beliefs about technology on their head in order to highlight the embedded value judgements, power relations, and historical roots and resonances that condition how technologies shape society and culture. Drawing from both their research and teaching, panelists will discuss how they challenge received understandings about technology in order to highlight its relationship to issues of ethics, equity, and racial justice. Their discussion will tackle how technologies intersect with policing, surveillance, and racial violence, and shape understandings of the self, others, and society. The panelists' hope is that participants will leave the conversation with a greater awareness of how technologies can challenge and contribute to both oppressive and emancipatory futures. Our panelists: Megha Anwer, clinical assistant professor and the Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity at Purdue University’s Honors College Faithe Day, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation within the Libraries and School of Information Studies and African American Studies and Research Center at Purdue University Lindsay Weinberg, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Honors College at Purdue University Moderator: Dr. Scott Henkel, director of the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research and associate professor in the Department of English and the Department of African American and Diaspora Studies at the University of Wyoming.

Think and Drink

The History and Reality of Protest and Race in America
August 6

Dr. Martin Luther King once said, "riots are the language of the unheard." It remains of upper importance to critically analyze this quote as a means to dissect the history of protest in America. This panel will examine the history and reality of protest in America with the primary focus on the impact of race on social movements. This conversation will center specific social movements, including the American lynching movement, civil rights, Black Power, and Black Lives Matter, to investigate the differences and similarities of social conditions that sparked these movements. The panel participants will discuss if the current protest over the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor will change the systematic inequalities that constitute white privilege. Our panelists: Dr. Sundiata Cha-Jua, Professor, African American Studies and History, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Dr. Leslie McLemore Professor Emeritus, Jackson State University Dr. David Stovall, Professor, University of Illinois-Chicago This panel is moderated by Dr. Fredrick Douglass Dixon and introduced by Bethann Garramon Merkle.

Think and Drink

Billionaire Wilderness: The Future of Wealth and the West
July 23

This week’s Think & Drink featured a book talk with Dr. Justin Farrell, author of “Billionaire Wilderness: The Ultra-Wealthy and the Remaking of the American West.” Justin Farrell is a professor and author at Yale University, and proud first-generation college student from Wyoming. His research tackles questions of environment, politics, human culture, and policy using a mixture of methods, blending ethnographic fieldwork with large-scale computational techniques from network science and machine learning. His books and articles have won national awards, and were used in his recent testimony before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on the Climate Crisis. Justin teaches classes on the American West, public lands, and research methods. Billionaire Wilderness takes you inside the exclusive world of the ultra-wealthy, showing how today's richest people are using the natural environment to solve the existential dilemmas they face. Justin Farrell spent five years in Teton County, Wyoming, the richest county in the United States, and a community where income inequality is the worst in the nation. He conducted hundreds of in-depth interviews, gaining unprecedented access to tech CEOs, Wall Street financiers, oil magnates, and other prominent figures in business and politics. He also talked with the rural poor who live among the ultra-wealthy and often work for them. The result is a penetrating account of the far-reaching consequences of the massive accrual of wealth, and an eye-opening and sometimes troubling portrait of a changing American West where romanticizing rural poverty and conserving nature can be lucrative―socially as well as financially. Moderator: Dr. Scott Henkel, director of the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research and associate professor in the Department of English and the Department of African American and Diaspora Studies at the University of Wyoming.

Think and Drink

Three Creative Writers on Responding to Environmental Change
July 9

“What We’ve Lost, What We’ve Found: Three Creative Writers on Responding to Environmental Change” This week’s Think & Drink topic is "What We’ve Lost, What We’ve Found: Three Creative Writers on Responding to Environmental Change." In this program, three authors of time-and-place memoirs will discuss their encounters with loss and change in the natural environments and cultures associated with their work.  Such encounters invite choices and concerns as to voice, form, subject matter, and more. What does one include or leave out, and why? How effective are overt opinions and messages in personal reflections? How can one person’s story make a difference in a time when many stories, many issues, compete for attention? Finally, they will address aspects of losing and finding during the coronavirus pandemic. What has this global infection taught us? Our speakers are Janisse Ray, Ann McCutchan, and Drew Lanham.
The panel will be moderated by Ken Gerow, professor of statistics at the University of Wyoming, and a member of the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research steering committee.

Wyoming Insititute for Humanities Research

Race, Protest, and Democracy
June 25

Protests against racial injustice have erupted in the past weeks--in small Wyoming towns and in cities around the world. The Black Lives Matter marches and movement shine a light on racial injustice, the militarization of police in the United States, the crisis of mass incarceration, and more. What do these uprisings tell us about political change? How do the current uprisings fit into the history of protest? How to understand the uprisings together with the COVID pandemic, which has hit communities of color particularly hard? How to understand the relationship between the uprisings and the upcoming election? Speakers: Dr. Cedric de Leon, who is Director of the UMass Amherst Labor Center and Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dr. Robyn Spencer, who is a historian that focuses on Black social protest after World War II, urban and working-class radicalism, and gender. She has written widely about the Black Freedom movement. Dr. Lilia Soto, who is an Associate Professor of American Studies and Latina/o Studies at the University of Wyoming with affiliations in the Gender and Women’s Studies Program and the International Studies Program.  She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008. Moderator: Dr. Scott Henkel, director of the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research and associate professor in the Department of English and the Department of African American and Diaspora Studies at the University of Wyoming.

Think and Drink

Economics of COVID-19: Is Social Distancing Worth It?
June 11

Social distancing saves lives but imposes costs on society due to reduced economic activity. We use epidemiological and economic forecasting to perform a rapid benefit-cost analysis of controlling the COVID-19 outbreak. A key unknown factor is the speed of economic recovery with and without social distancing measures in place. Does it work? Is it worth it? Speakers: Linda Thunström, Department of Economics, University of Wyoming Steve Newbold, Department of Economics, University of Wyoming Jason Shogren, Department of Economics, University of Wyoming Moderator: Ken Gerow, professor of statistics at the University of Wyoming, and a member of the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research steering committee.

Think and Drink

Misinformation, Militia Maneuvering, and Moving Forward in the Age of the Pandemic
May 28

These videos are part of our Think & Drink series of talks, which are informal conversations by humanities faculty, researchers, and practitioners on a range of topics. Speakers: Betsy Gaines Quammen, author of “American Zion: Cliven Bundy,” “God and Public Lands in the West.” David Quammen, author of “Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic.” The Bundy family, who are Mormon, are currently agitating against disease related restrictions. What does it mean and what does it cost, in the midst of a pandemic, when sectors of our population believe science is a hoax? How is the pandemic being handled nationally amid contagion, conspiracy theorizing, militia saber-rattling, and economic hardships? Moderator: Ken Gerow, professor of statistics at the University of Wyoming, and a member of the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research steering committee.

Think and Drink

A Historical Perspective on Politics in Times of Crisis
May 14

These videos are part of our Think & Drink series of talks, which are informal conversations by humanities faculty, researchers, and practitioners on a range of topics. Speakers: Adam Blackler, University of Wyoming Kathryn Julian, Westminster College Lauren Stokes, Northwestern University Moderator: Ken Gerow, University of Wyoming.

Think and Drink

Pandemics in a Historical Perspective
May 7

These videos are part of our Think & Drink series of talks, which are informal conversations by humanities faculty, researchers, and practitioners on a range of topics. Speakers: Michael Christopher Low, Iowa State University Elise A. Mitchell, New York University Jacob Steere-Williams, College of Charleston Moderator: Dr. Melissa Morris, assistant professor of History and American Studies and member of the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research steering committee.

Think and Drink

Democracy in America and Around the World: Pre and Post COVID-19
April 30

These videos are part of our Think & Drink series of talks, which are informal conversations by humanities faculty, researchers, and practitioners on a range of topics. This event is co-sponsored by the Wyoming Humanities Council and the UW Office of Engagement and Outreach. Speakers: Dr. James Arvanitakis, Milward L. Simpson Visiting Fulbright Professor, School of Politics Public Affairs and International Studies, University of Wyoming; Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at Western Sydney University Dr. Jason McConnell, Assistant Professor of Political Science, School of Politics, Public Affairs and International Studies The panel will be moderated by Dr. Jean Garrison, Director of the Office of Engagement and Outreach and Professor of International Studies and Political Science. This event is also part of the Malcolm Wallop Civic Engagement Project and the Mellon Foundation Democracy and the Informed Citizen Initiative.

Wyoming Insititute for Humanities Research

Woman and Wyoming’s Politics
April 23

These videos are part of our Think & Drink series of talks, which are informal conversations by humanities faculty, researchers, and practitioners on a range of topics. Speakers: Senator Tara Nethercott, Wyoming State Senate District 4, and Partner with Woodhouse Roden Nethercott, LLC Britney Wallesch, Founder and Executive Director of Black Dog Animal Rescue and candidate, Wyoming State Senate, District 6 Rebekah Smith, Director, Wyoming Women's Foundation.

Hands in a circle

Healing Individuals, Healing Communities
April 16

These videos are part of our Think & Drink series of talks, which are informal conversations by humanities faculty, researchers, and practitioners on a range of topics. “Healing Individuals, Healing Communities” Speakers: Dr. Mary E. Burman, Professor, Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing Dr. Matt Gray, Professor of Psychology Jess Ryan, MS, Owner of Our Real Work.

Think and Drink

Dr. Hayot: How to Think Like a Humanist, and Why
April 9

Dr. Eric Hayot: Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and Asian Studies and Director of the Center for Humanities and Information at the Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of several books, including "On Literary Worlds" (Oxford, 2012), and "The Elements of Academic Style" (Columbia, 2014).

Stars in Sky

Telling It: How Stories Shape the World
April 2

Our first virtual Think & Drink with speakers Willow Belden, Out There Podcast; Bethann Merkel, Director of the Wyoming Science Communication Initiative; and Arielle Zibrak, Department of English.

2019 Events

Think and Drink

Think & Drink: The Environmental Humanities
November 7

What are Environmental Humanities, and how do they contribute to our understanding of complex ecological issues? What challenges does the field face; what might its academic and policy futures look like? Featured Speakers include Kristen Gunther, Conservation Advocate for the Wyoming Outdoor Council; Eric Krszjzaniek, Assistant Lecturer in Sustainable Marketing at UW; Matt Henry, Scholar in Residence at the Haub School of Environmental & Natural Resources at UW.

2018 Events

Disneyland Castle

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.

Cowboys on horse

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.

Climate Change

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.

Sturt teaching in a classroom

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)”

Massimo Pigliucci Headshot

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”

Sans façon

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.

Alan Riach sitting on bench

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

Matt Adams Headshot

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 Poster

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.

Bucking Horse and Rider logo

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

Cowboys on horseback

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.

University of Wyoming Under Construction

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.

Small building on the plains

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.

Lawrence Weschler Headshot

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.

Jim Harris

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.

Colleen Denney Headshot

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.

Ulrich Adelt headshot

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.

Conxita Domenech Headshot

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.

Michael Brown Headshot

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.

Event Poster

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

Event Poster

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.”

Heart Mountain

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.

Sam Western

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?

Event Poster

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

Catheryn Halverson Headshot

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.

Kerstin Schmidt Headshot

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.

Barbara Logan headshot

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.

Elizabeth Hunt Headshot

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

Susan Oliver Headshot

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.

Jonathan White Headshot

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.

Orange Jumpsuits

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.

Todd Breyfogle Headshot

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.

Event Poster

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

Painting of a person dead on a sofa

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. 

Female Monster

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.

List of Victorian Woman

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.

Event Poster

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.

WIHR logo

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."

Kerstin Schmidt Headshot

Research Presentation: Kerstin Schmidt, WIHR International Fellow
September 22

WIHR logo

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

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

Dr. Peter Kaufman Presenting

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

Kaufman is a Professor at the University of Richmond

Reconstructing the View Book Cover

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.

Heart Mountain

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

Dr. Colin Samson Headshot

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

Kamp Headshot

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?

Eric Nye Taking a photo

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.

Ghana men with cellphones

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.

Don Quixote

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.

Hunt Headshot

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.

JoAnna Poblete Headshot

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.

Temple in Cambodia

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.

Soldier and woman walking

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.

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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

Patty Limerick Speaking

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.

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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

Cheech Marin Headshot

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”

Contact Us

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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