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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 Work

International Fellows

Kerstin Schmidt Headshot















Kerstin Schmidt

Professor of English and Chair of American Studies at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt

Prior to her current appointment, Dr. Schmidt was full professor of North American Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Siegen/Germany. Kerstin studied at the Universities of Freiburg and of Massachusetts/Amherst (USA) and taught at the Universities of Freiburg and Bayreuth, at the University of Munich's "Amerika-Institut" as well as at Weber State University in Ogden, UT (USA). Scholarships and research stipends have brought her to Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Life and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, to Indiana University/Bloomington as well as to the Universities of Toronto and British Columbia/Vancouver in Canada. She is the author of The Theater of Transformation: Postmodernism in American Drama (Postmodern Studies 37; New York: Rodopi, 2005) and has published on modern American drama, ethnic literatures in the US and Canada, the Harlem Renaissance, race and Diaspora studies, as well as on media theory, especially on American radio culture. She co-edited the essay collection America and the Sea (2004) and has edited and contributed to Space in America: Theory History Culture (2005). She is also a founding member of the women's studies journal Freiburger FrauenStudien. Together with Martina Leeker and Derrick de Kerckhove, she edited McLuhan neu lesen: Kritische Analysen zu Medien und Kultur im 21. Jahrhundert (2008).

Prof. Schmidt is currently 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.

Cathryn Halverson Headshot










Cathryn Halverson

Associate Professor, Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies, University of Copenhagen

Dr. Cathryn Halverson received her B.A. in English at Williams College and Ph.D in American literature at the University of Michigan. Her first tenured job was at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies in Kobe, Japan, in the course of which she published Maverick Autobiographies: Women Writers and the American West (Wisconsin UP, 2004).  A research/teaching Fulbright in 2008 at the University of Bergen, Norway led to her present position as an Associate Professor of American Literature at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark; her second book, Playing House in the American West: Western Women’s Life Narratives, 1839-1987, was published by the University of Alabama Press in 2013.  She is looking forward to writing about the West while actually living there.

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 and Writing Groups

UW at Abbotsford: A multi-disciplinary research group in the humanities
Coordinator: Caroline McCracken-Flesher (English),

Where do disciplines meet? Every moment, every place, is an intersection between disciplines that we recognize through the humanities. Walter Scott’s house at Abbotsford in Scotland makes this obvious, and makes the phenomenon accessible to study. Scott was a writer, lawyer, agricultural improver, publisher—even an oil and gas man. Our project brings together faculty from across the humanities, and ultimately from across UW, to exchange knowledge and to permeate disciplinary boundaries through shared study. We begin at UW, with a study group. Our goals escalate over the next few years: Year 1: Research and reading group at UW, to determine the range of methodologies that can be employed to understand a distinct location in and across time. Year 2: Faculty research group at Abbotsford; individual publications. Year 3: Student summer course: research and practicum at Abbotsford with cross-disciplinary faculty.

The core group includes: Caroline McCracken-Flesher, Department of English | Anne Alexander, Department of Economics | Isadora Helfgott, Department of History | Mary Katherine Scott, Department of Art and Art History | Barbara Logan, Department of History

Humanities in Economic Development: Working Toward a More Comprehensive Development Plan in the State of Wyoming

Coordinator: Justin Piccorelli (Public Administration)

The group seeks to reflect on the impact of the humanities in economic development planning, provide some concrete ways in which we might go about improving economic development so as to incorporate these seemingly intangibles, communicate these findings and work with the state of Wyoming, and eventually publish its findings in a related journal. Questions we will address include: How does research and study in a field like philosophy actually impact us as citizens, and how might it ultimately impact the state of Wyoming? If humanities can help people become happier, then what role might happiness play in cultivating thought, attracting and retaining business? Does this simply mean that humanities might help to ameliorate violence, improve relationships, or even lead to higher quality work being done? What are some of the seemingly intangible things associated with the humanities, and how might we begin to incorporate these into economic development planning?

Identities Construction through Language Indexicality

Prof. Irene Checa-García, Modern Languages (

Our group focuses on the study of indexicality as a way to construct meaning, and in particular group identities. Very broadly, indexicality is a type of meaning that is connected to context and goes beyond referential meaning. Virtually any object can convey indexical meaning if it is socially connected to this meaning in a particular context. A good example of this is clothing, as it can convey a lot of information about the person beyond its more literal meaning of a certain cut or a certain fabric, such as status, urban tribe, or even political tendencies in some cases. We are interested in how choosing to use a certain language at a certain moment can convey different meanings by the indexicality of that language choice in different societies. More specifically, we want to know by which pragmatic and linguistic means this indexicality can build group identities, positive or negative. Sample questions include: How are positive or negative images of groups constructed through language choice? What is being indexed by inserting certain languages in an otherwise monolingual discourse? What semantic and pragmatic tools define indexicality?

Core members of the group: Prof. Pamela Innes, Anthropology | Prof. Juan José Colomina-Almiñana, University of Texas-Austin | Two graduate students from Spanish and three graduate students from Anthropology

Environmental Humanities

Coordinator: Frieda Knobloch, American Studies Program (

The proposed Research and Reading Group intends to explore emerging meanings and practices of environmental humanities broadly construed. Humanist approaches to environmental questions are a component of group members’ interests and commitments, from a wide variety of areas at UW. Though some members of the proposed group have connections with Environment and Natural Resources, the range of people interested in discussing environmental humanities includes people and questions outside ENR. There is no venue currently organized at UW for humanists with environmental interests, or people working on the role of the humanities in environmental contexts, to share ideas, and—importantly—contribute to what environmental humanities might look like as a field and at UW. Preliminary activities of the Research and Reading group would include general introductions to members’ interests and questions about what humanist environmental work includes or emphasizes, with the possibility of shared readings, an invited speaker, or other activities the group chooses to illuminate questions or approaches important to the group.

Core membership: Sarah Strauss, Anthropology | Maggie Bourque, Environment and Natural Resources | Courtney Bethel Carlson, Environment and Natural Resources, Robert Mcgreggor Cawley, Political Science | Carlos Martinez Del Rio, Berry Center | Teena J. Gabrielson, Political Science | Erin E. Forbes, English | Michael E. Harkin, Anthropology | Doug Wachob, Environment and Natural Resources

Human Ties: Culture, Language and Identity

Coordinator: Joy Landeira, Modern and Classical Languages (

Our group is a recognized subgroup of UW’s International Education Steering Committee. Aware of the need for all UW faculty to expand their knowledge about how to welcome International faculty and students onto our campus and into our classrooms, our members will meet to read and discuss memoirs written by immigrants and exiles to the United States. Identity is central to the Humanities and is tied to Language and to Place. The Human Ties between culture, language, and identity are unraveled and frayed when immigrants and exiles are displaced, misplaced and replaced. Our group members seek to understand how Human Ties are untied and united through culture, language and identity. Sample questions include: How are human ties rebound? How is Identity returned to Humanity? How do people who are torn from their homes and families ever rebound from the tears and the tears of loss of identity, language, place, and culture?     

Reading List:

  • Bass, Thomas A. Vietnamerica: The War Comes Home. New York: Soho, 1996. (Vietnam/US)

  • Dorfman, Ariel. Heading South, Looking North: A Bilingual Journey. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1998. (Chile/US)

  • Grande, Reyna. The Distance Between Us: A Memoir. New York: Washington Square, 2013. (Mexico/US)

  • Hoffman, Eva. Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language. New York: Penguin, 1989. (Poland/US)

  • Pipher, M. The Middle of Everywhere: Helping Refugees Enter the American Community. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2003

  • Wainaina, Binvavanga. One Day I Will Write About This Place: A Memoir. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Greywolf, 2011. (Kenya/S.Africa)

Core members: Bunny Logan, History/GWMST | Petra Heinz, Modern and Classical Languages/ESL | Jenna Shim, Educational Studies/ESL/Literacy| Ruth Bjorkenwall, Global and Area Studies | Susan Frye, English and Outreach School

Humanities in Prison Working Group

Coordinators: Bonnie Zare, ( and Susan Dewey (, Gender & Women’s Studies

Whether living in ancient or contemporary times, people have used the humanities and storytelling to ask the largest possible questions, to bridge material and spiritual concerns, and to illuminate the trials of the human heart. Nation-wide, humanities programs have led the way in conducting educational workshops inside prisons by encouraging incarcerated people to admire and appreciate shared truths expressed through artistic means. Our proposed Humanities & Math in Prison Working Group comprises 28 faculty, staff, graduate students, and community partners who will design and teach a Fundamentals of Humanities & Math class at the Wyoming Women’s Center (WWC) in Lusk. Upon receipt of WIHR funding, all working group members will attend a series of intensive on-campus meetings strategically focused on developing the kinds of interdisciplinary and cross-college collaboration necessary to build a long-term and sustainable higher education in prison program. Members of the working group will travel to Lusk in April, May, and June, on dates determined in conjunction with the Department of Corrections (DOC), to teach course content developed in these meetings. We anticipate that receipt of initial WIHR support will be followed by other funding sources to sustain bimonthly visits by both our working group and others who become interested in this important endeavor. Our Wyoming Pathways from Prison research team already enjoys supportive collegial relations with the DOC, and Dewey recently joined Bratton to teach twice a month at the WWC. This support, combined with significant faculty and staff interest, are strong predictors of our likelihood of building a successful higher education in prison program that will constitute a vital form of statewide outreach.

Group’s confirmed membership: Cathy Connolly, Gender & Women’s Studies | Peter Parolin, English | Matt Gray, Psychology | Jennifer Deckert, Theater & Dance | Susan Frye, Outreach School | Barbara Logan, History | Ruth Bjorkenwall, Global & Area Studies | Scott Henkel, English | Terry Burant, Education | Eric Wodahl, Criminal Justice | Seth Ward, Religious Studies | Jane Warren | Myron Allen, Mathematics | Jason Williford, Mathematics | Hakima Bessaih, Mathematics | Gregory Lyng, Mathematics

African American & Diaspora Studies Faculty Reading Circle

The African American & Diaspora Studies Faculty Reading Circle includes scholars from a wide-range of disciplines and academic units focused on contemporary and historical issues related to race. The group meets monthly to discuss, review and comment in person and in writing on active projects that include papers, book chapters, work for edited collections and monographs. The questions we will ask are generated by the specific historical and contemporary issues raised by specific faculty research projects. There is no unified set of research questions that we revisit regularly across a given semester.

The core group includes: Kerry Pimblott, African American & Diaspora Studies/History | Tracey Owens Patton, African American & Diaspora Studies/Communication and Journalism


Individual Research Projects

Andrea Graham Headshot





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.

Michael Brown Headshot





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.

Ulrich Adelt Headshot





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

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

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

`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.

Cultural Remnants of New Mexican Sheepherding in Wyoming

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

Coordinator: Justin Piccorelli (Public Administration)

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.


Summer Stipends

Conxita Domenech Headshot



Conxita Domenech

Staging the Revolt of the Catalans: Early Modern Spanish Dialogues with Catalonia

I intend to prepare an annotated English/Spanish facing-page scholarly edition of an unpublished early modern Iberian play, La entrada del marqués de los Vélez a Cathaluña [The Arrival of the Marquis de los Velez to Catalonia] (1641), accompanied by Loa de Montjuich [Prelude of Montjuich], and Entremés de los labradores [Interlude of the Farmers]. An unknown author wrote the main play, the prelude, and the interlude during the Catalan Secession War (1640–1652). Profoundly interdisciplinary in its scope, the work is a riveting eyewitness account of a modern war in which propagandistic tools such as plays and pamphlets were as important as guns.

Colleen Denney Headshot















Colleen Denney

Associate Professor, Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies, University of Copenhagen

Lena Connell: British Suffrage, Portrait Photography, and Women’s Activism

I address, for the first time in scholarship, how Lena Connell (later Beatrice Cundy) (1875-1949), through her formal, photographic portraits established a palatable image of British suffrage women for the press and an admiring public. In light of the recent release of the British film The Suffragette it is all the more imperative that we honor the artists who promoted a respectable representation of these brave, activist women.

I will write the large essay that contextualizes Connell’s portraits of 70 suffrage activists and explain how, where and why they were disseminated. I argue that the portraits convey a new way of seeing women who, for the first time in their lives, were crossing the threshold of the domestic realm to embrace a public one.  The essay will provide the introduction to a gallery of individual portraits of each woman. The project’s originality lies partly in the fact that no one has written a book on Connell nor has anyone brought together her body of work of suffrage portraits. Further, no one has discussed them in the context of the British suffrage movement’s propagandistic efforts or its goals of sophisticated, professional representations of its members. The project’s intellectual significance lies partly in its feminist, art historical contribution to the scholarly literature in both Gender and Women’s Studies and Art History/Visual Culture, through its capacity to illuminate Connell’s place in suffrage rhetoric within the gendered dimensions of early twentieth-century life. The project asks how these political portraits were manifested and digested in the visual culture associated with the suffrage movement (e.g. in political flyers for public lectures, feature magazine articles, posters promoting marches, the portraits of leaders and where they could be seen and how they were distributed, as well as their appearance amongst the artifacts of suffrage women themselves in personal scrapbook and postcard collections). Through this study, scholars and students will see how women have been and continue to be empowered through the vehicle of artistic expression.

Research Projects

Post-Genocide Namibia









Nevin Aiken

“The Politics of Memorialization in Post-Genocide Namibia”

Department: Political Science

Between 1904 and 1908, over 70,000 indigenous Herero and Nama peoples living in modern-day Namibia were killed in a campaign of violence by carried out by the colonial forces of the German state in what is now recognized as the ‘first genocide of the 20th century.  However, despite the country’s movement to independence in 1990, there have been very few physical memorials, commemorations or official recognitions of the genocide present in contemporary Namibia.  In light of this conspicuous absence, this project will seek to answer two interrelated questions.  First, what key factors have contributed to the dearth of physical memorials or commemorations of the genocide by the post-independence Namibian government?  Second, what has the impact of this continued marginalization of the past been for the indigenous Herero and Nama peoples living in Namibia today?   Through a 5-week period of field research in May-June 2015, Dr. Nevin T. Aiken will interrogate the reasons behind this lack of memorialization through the collection of photographic documentation, archival research, and a series of in-depth interviews with key government leaders, civil society representatives, and local indigenous leaders.  It is anticipated that this research will provide new insights into the politics of memory in post-genocide Namibia and the relationship between justice, memorialization, and reconciliation in societies emerging from legacies of past violence.

18th Century Woman dead on sofa









Ekaterina Alexandrova

"A Fateful Idea: The Representation of Suicide in the Eighteenth-Century French Novel”

Department: Modern and Classical Languages

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.

Chinese Muslim (Hui) Community







Michael Brose

“Being Chinese and Muslim: The Intersection of Citizenship and Faith in Southwest China”

Department: History

This project studies the religious life of Chinese Muslim (Hui) communities in a cluster of towns in central Yunnan Province, seeking to understand how Hui communities there have reconciled their highly visible faith practice with their identities as good citizens. These are some of the oldest settlements in Yunnan, known for their intact imperial architecture and as sites of Hui anti-state rebellions. Those Hui communities are thriving today, with new religious and secular construction activities. Earlier research by applicant suggested the Yunnan Hui adapted two national initiatives enunciated by the Chinese State, “harmonious society” and better ties to the wider Islamic World, to emerge from the Mao era as respected and dynamic faith and citizen communities. This project extends that earlier research to assess recent developments in Yunnan Hui communities after a terrorist attack in the provincial capital labeled as “Islamic” by the state.

Victorian Scotland log






Barbara Logan

“The Murder of Angels: Gender, Policing, and Punishment in Victorian Scotland”

Department: History

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.

female monster







Rebecca Steele

“Screams in the Dark: The Socio-Political Implications of the Female Monster in 19th Century German-Language Literature”

Department: Modern and Classical Languages

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.

women and men talking










Arielle Zibrak

“Writing Against Reform: Aesthetic Counter-Traditions in the Age of Progress”

Department: English at UW-Casper

My book project, Writing Against Reform: Aesthetic Counter-Traditions in the Age of Progress, examines fiction in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that has historically been linked to reform efforts ranging from women’s rights to temperance to the race movement. Dislodging the critical myth that popular literature and political reform in this period were wholly coherent movements, I highlight seven writers who, while committed to social change, also wrote against reform texts and the long-term cultural damage reformers created by rhetorically marginalizing the groups they sought to advance. These writers saw the creation of fiction and other forms of creative expression as productive of more durable cultural effects than the faddish movements that sparked the popular imagination and created a highly marketable literary genre. Exposing their work as a counter-tradition changes the way we think not only of the literature they created but also of the cultural impact of reform rhetoric at large. Writing Against Reform situates creative works of literature in the social scientific discourse of broad societal change, illustrating how crucial the humanities are to any movement for sociopolitical progress. With support from WIHR, I’ll spend the summer conducting the archival research necessary to draft the final two chapters of my book at libraries at Harvard, Yale, and Pennsylvania State Universities. In particular, I’ll be looking at reform ephemera (pamphlets, posters, articles, and advertisements) and the papers of the writers Edith Wharton and James Weldon Johnson.

Heart Mountain camp









Mary Keller, Ramesh Sivanpillai, Tim McCleary

“Heart Mountain: Icon of American Landscape Electronic Cultural Atlas”

Departments: Religious Studies, Texas A&M, Little Big Horn Tribal College

Heart Mountain is a striking landmark in northwest Wyoming that has oriented multiple communities including: 1) the Apsáalooke (Crow) who received the mountain as part of the 1851 Ft. Laramie Treaty and the Nez Perce during their flight toward Canada, 1877, 2) settlers and ultimately Buffalo Bill who aligned Cody with Heart Mountain’s profile, 3) 10,000 Japanese American Internees (1942-45, making the camp the fourth largest city in Wyoming at the time), 4) The post-war allotment to GIs of homesteads, for which the barracks from the internment camp were repurposed and 5) contemporary ecologists at Nature Conservancy’s Heart Mountain ranch (protecting open space, rare flora, and wildlife). An interdisciplinary team is poised to develop an electronic cultural atlas (ECA) of Heart Mountain, depicting searchable cultural landscapes with embedded multimedia.  This important resource can enhance academic and public understanding of the contested history of being at home in the American West. Our collaborate research process with community stakeholders will promote more accurate depictions of where we’ve been, who we are, and how our collective heritage will inform our future adaptations in this harsh and beautiful country, as we respond to increased climate volatility. Who will be at home in Heart Mountain’s view shed?



Research Projects

Antionette DeNapoli in North India


Antionette DeNapoli

Religion at the Crossroads: Forms of the Modern and the Changing Faces of Gender and Renunciation in North India

Based on ethnographic fieldwork with Hindu renouncers in North India, the project examines the contexts and processes by which renouncers are reconfiguring renunciation and, by implication, Hinduism through their uses of communication technologies.

Eric Nye taking photo



Eric Nye

Penetrating the Secrets of the Past in Literary Manuscripts: Reflectance Transformation Imaging and the Modern Palimpsest

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.

Joanna Poblete Headshot


Joanna Poblete

Common Subjectivities: American Sāmoan and Pacific Islander Labor Migrant Experiences under U.S rule, 1900 to the present

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.

Hunt Headshot 

Elizabeth Hunt

Digital Photography for The Count's (Im)Pious Prayers: The Psalter of Guy of Dampierre, Count of Flanders, 1278-1305

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.

Kamp Headshot

Marianne Kamp

Reappraising an Uzbek Literary Hero

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?

Conchita Domenech Headshot



Conchita Domenech

Don Quixote in the American West: A Fourth-Centenary Celebration (1615–2015)

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.

Scottish Crest


Caroline McCracken-Flesher

Homecoming: A Scottish Phenomenon?

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.

Ghana Men with Cell Phones


Marcus Watson

Are Digital Technologies an Alienating Form of Communication? The Case of the Bulsa of Ghana’s Upper East Region

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.

Soldier walking with woman


Andrew Fitch and Danielle Pafunda

Post-Narcissist Poetics: Rewriting After Freud

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.




John Dorst and Bailey Russel

Capturing Animals at the Intersection of Art and Science: A Comparative, Humanities-based Examination of Animal Trapping Photography and Taxidermy

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.

Cambodian temple


Isadora Helfgott and Nicole Crawford

Museums and Reconciliation in Cambodia: A Cross Cultural Collaboration between UW and the Sleuk Rith Institute

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.

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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