Upcoming events
across Wyoming

thinkWY | Wyoming Humanities supports programs, events, speakers, gatherings, exhibits and more in communities across Wyoming.
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humanities in Wyoming

Jan
21
Sat
Insight: Legends @ Atlas Theater, Cheyenne, WY
Jan 21 @ 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

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A New Partnership with the University of Wyoming Creative Writing Department, Insights are nights of ast paced storytelling and music by some of Wyoming’s best storytellers. Our inaugural event,  Insight: Legends, will focus on the idea of “Legends” and how they influence our thoughts. From myths and parables to Catholic Saints and some of the not so saintly figures of Wyoming’s past, the talks promise to be interesting and engaging.

Featured presenters include:

Samuel Western is an Economist correspondent and the author of Pushed off the Mountain, Sold Down the River: Wyoming’s Search for its Soul, the poetry collection A Random Census of Souls, and most recently the celebrated novel Canyons. Sam will shed insight into the story of Thomas Wardell, an early coal man and infamous strike- buster, who duped the Union Pacific out of millions and founded the now ghost town of Carbon, WY.

Nina McConigley won both the Pen/Open Book award and the High Plains book award for her story collection Cowboys and East Indians. Nina writes about unseen sides of the American West and is at work on a novel. She teaches at the University of Wyoming and is a sought after speaker at literary events across the nation. She plans on examining Wyoming’s most mythical and elusive creature, the jackalope.

Bob Budd is the Executive Director of the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust and Chairman of Cheyenne Frontier Days. The past Director of Land Management for the Wyoming Nature Conservancy and the Wyoming Stock growers Association, Bob has two books of humor, Send Fresh Horses and A Wide Spot in the Road, co-written with famed illustrator Jerry Palen. Bob’s presentation will focus on legendary figures in Wyoming’s history who helped shape him.

Affie Ellis’s parents moved from the Navajo Reservation to Jackson Hole in the 1950s. She is a small business owner from Cheyenne and the first Native American woman elected to serve in the Wyoming Senate where she plans to fight to strengthen Wyoming’s education system and work to seek global solutions to Wyoming’s economic questions. Recognized as a Wyoming Woman of Distinction by the University of Wyoming, Affie is a graduate of UW and the University of Colorado Law School.

Reed Barrett is a mentalist and award-winning speaker from Cheyenne. A self-described “Millennial Maverick” whose slogan is “Your heart’s beating, give it a reason,” Reed often speaks to youth groups and is praised widely for his ability to connect with and for having a “Heart for People.” Having lost his both his father and his dream of becoming an Air Force pilot due to a hereditary heart condition, Reed will be looking at legends of the afterlife.

Bethann Merkle is a native of Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front and an artist fascinated with communicating science and sustainability. She was named Quebec’s Outstanding Photojournalist of 2012, and her award-winning work has been published across North America, in outlets including American Scientist, Montana Outdoors, and Mother Earth News. She will share images and stories from her recent field research on the Tortoise and Hare, taking a modern look at the characters from the well-known parable.

Charles Fournier graduated from the University of Wyoming with an MA in literature and teaches writing, thinking, reading, being kind, dancing, fire-making, wrestling, and on occasion, dirtbagging to students of all ages and creeds. Charles’ story for Insight is about a family’s burial of saints, traditions, and memories, and what the implications of digging can be. What is gained or lost in the retrieval of histories that compete for priority in our minds?

Lilly Schneider was raised on an island in the Pacific Northwest and earned her BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She is a candidate in the University of Wyoming MFA program in writing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including The Huffington Post Blog, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Flash: The International Magazine of Short-Short Stories.

With music by the one and only Jalan Crossland.

 

Insight Cheyenne: Legends will be hosted by Wyoming Public Radio’s Cultural Affairs reporter and director of productions like the much lauded Humanature podcast Micah Schweizer and filmed by University of Wyoming TV’s Ali Grossman. The event is free and open to the public.

We will also be hosting an Insight in Casper on February 25th at the Lyric Theatre in conjunction with the Casper College Humanities Festival and are looking for presentations on “Identity” for that date. Then again on April 12th at the Gryphon Theatre in Laramie where the theme will be “Abominable Snowmen.” If you are in the area and would like to be considered for those events, contact Jason@thinkwy.org to pitch ideas for inclusion.

Feb
7
Tue
John Wesley Powell, Myrtle and Me: Journeys on the Colorado River with Jessica Flock @ Pine Bluffs Branch Library
Feb 7 @ 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Jessica chronicles John Wesley Powell’s expeditions on the Green and Colorado Rivers. She intertwines her own adventures on the Colorado River with other contemporary experiences on the river using historic documents and photographs as well as youtube videos in her presentation.

Flock holds an MA in Education from the University of Wyoming and has worked as a Substitute, ESL, Social Studies and Reading teacher and librarian in Albany County and the Cathedral Home in Laramie.  She is also a UNC Workshop facilitator.  She recently accepted the position of History Day Coordinator with the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming.

Feb
9
Thu
Saturday U Gillette @ Campbell County Public Library
Feb 9 @ 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Saturday U Gillette @ Campbell County Public Library | Gillette | Wyoming | United States

Go back to school for a day, minus the tests, stress and homework.

Each Saturday U term features lectures from three outstanding University of Wyoming professors. Following the lectures, all three professors will participate in a final roundtable discussion. Participants may attend one, two, three, or all four sessions. No registration is required, and there is no charge.

Please check back for details on specific speakers!

Read, Rant, Relate: “Disgraced” @ Relative Theatrics Studio, Room 278 of the Laramie Plains Civic Center
Feb 9 @ 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Read, Rant, Relate: "Disgraced" @ Relative Theatrics Studio, Room 278 of the Laramie Plains Civic Center | Laramie | Wyoming | United States

Experience a new piece of contemporary dramatic literature every month with Relative Theatrics. Participants will engage directly with modern plays by listening to actor-led readings of the texts, then joining discussions breaking down the thematic elements of the works and their relevance to today’s society.

In February, come discuss Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced.  Corporate lawyer Amir Kapoor is happy, in love, and about to land the biggest career promotion of his life.  But beneath the veneer, success has come at a price.  When Amir and his artist wife, Emily, host an intimate dinner party at their Upper East Side apartment, what starts out as a friendly conversation soon escalates into something far more damaging.

Feb
15
Wed
Tea, Trade and Tyranny: Tibet and China Over Time @ University of Wyoming, Arts & Sciences Auditorium
Feb 15 @ 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Tea, Trade and Tyranny: Tibet and China Over Time @ University of Wyoming, Arts & Sciences Auditorium | Laramie | Wyoming | United States

Tibet and China have had a complex relationship for 1500 years. Wars have been fought, treaties signed, then ignored in the next conquest. But there was always trade. In this presentation, National Geographic writer Mark Jenkins takes us on a journey down the forgotten Tea Horse Road. For almost 1000 years there was a stone-paved road that connected Ya’an, the tea-growing capital of Sichuan province, with Lhasa, the 12,000-foot high capital of Tibet. Tea was essential to daily life in Tibet, and China’s feudal kingdoms needed war horses. For centuries China and Tibet were on equal footing, but the ascendancy of China in the second half of the 20th century has devastated Tibet and Tibetan culture. With National Geographic images, Jenkins reveals the modern lives of the Tibetans, and the Chinese, and the geopolitics that have always connected them.

A critically acclaimed author and internationally recognized journalist, Mark Jenkins covers geopolitics, the environment and adventure for National Geographic. Jenkins’ writing has won numerous awards, including the Overseas Press Club Ross Award for “The Healing Fields” story about landmines in Cambodia and a National Magazine Award for photojournalism with colleague Brint Stirton, for “Who Murdered The Mountain Gorillas” – both of which were the focus of previous World to Wyoming tours around Wyoming. Jenkins is the author of four books and his work has appeared in dozens of national and international magazines.  He has his BA in Philosophy and MS in Geography from the University of Wyoming.

Sponsored by the UW Office of Academic Affairs, Global and Area Studies, Outreach School, the Rocky Mountain Power Foundation, thinkWY | Wyoming Humanities, the Homer and Mildred Scott Foundation, Buffalo Bill Center for the West, National Wildlife Museum and our Wyoming college partners who help us bring the World to Wyoming tour around Wyoming.

Feb
16
Thu
Cultural Gems; A Look at Unique US Libraries with Richard and Mary Maturi @ Hot Springs County Library
Feb 16 @ 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Cultural Gems; A Look at Unique US Libraries with Richard and Mary Maturi @ Hot Springs County Library  | Thermopolis | Wyoming | United States

Join Richard and Mary Maturi for Cultural Gems; A Look at Unique US Libraries, featuring  images and stories of libraries from coast to coast.  This presentation  illustrates the rich diversity of America’s libraries while exploring the broad panorama of library architecture, unique building re-purposing and the various ways communities funded their libraries.   The Maturi’s spent a full year traveling the country and learning about libraries; the role they’ve played in community development and identity.  Linda Koldenhoven, Senior Librarian of th Georgia Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped observed, “An engaging look at America’s unique library architecture and heritage.  A wonderful guide to this county’s cultural history.  What a great idea for your next vacation..tour our nations libraries!”

Feb
24
Fri
Saturday U Sheridan @ Sheridan College, Whitney Concert Hall
Feb 24 @ 8:30 AM – 1:45 PM
Saturday U Sheridan @ Sheridan College, Whitney Concert Hall | Sheridan | Wyoming | United States

Go back to school for a day, minus the tests, stress and homework.

Each Saturday U term features lectures from three outstanding University of Wyoming professors. Following the lectures, all three professors will participate in a final roundtable discussion. Participants may attend one, two, three, or all four sessions. No registration is required, and there is no charge.

Please check back for details on specific speakers!

Feb
28
Tue
Tea, Trade and Tyranny: Tibet and China Over Time @ Gillette College, Presentation Hall
Feb 28 @ 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Tea, Trade and Tyranny: Tibet and China Over Time @ Gillette College, Presentation Hall | Gillette | Wyoming | United States

Tibet and China have had a complex relationship for 1500 years. Wars have been fought, treaties signed, then ignored in the next conquest. But there was always trade. In this presentation, National Geographic writer Mark Jenkins takes us on a journey down the forgotten Tea Horse Road. For almost 1000 years there was a stone-paved road that connected Ya’an, the tea-growing capital of Sichuan province, with Lhasa, the 12,000-foot high capital of Tibet. Tea was essential to daily life in Tibet, and China’s feudal kingdoms needed war horses. For centuries China and Tibet were on equal footing, but the ascendancy of China in the second half of the 20th century has devastated Tibet and Tibetan culture. With National Geographic images, Jenkins reveals the modern lives of the Tibetans, and the Chinese, and the geopolitics that have always connected them.

A critically acclaimed author and internationally recognized journalist, Mark Jenkins covers geopolitics, the environment and adventure for National Geographic. Jenkins’ writing has won numerous awards, including the Overseas Press Club Ross Award for “The Healing Fields” story about landmines in Cambodia and a National Magazine Award for photojournalism with colleague Brint Stirton, for “Who Murdered The Mountain Gorillas” – both of which were the focus of previous World to Wyoming tours around Wyoming. Jenkins is the author of four books and his work has appeared in dozens of national and international magazines.  He has his BA in Philosophy and MS in Geography from the University of Wyoming.

Sponsored by the UW Office of Academic Affairs, Global and Area Studies, Outreach School, the Rocky Mountain Power Foundation, thinkWY | Wyoming Humanities, the Homer and Mildred Scott Foundation, Buffalo Bill Center for the West, National Wildlife Museum and our Wyoming college partners who help us bring the World to Wyoming tour around Wyoming.

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This Just In:
Blog: A Closer Look

Public Humanities Programs and the “Elite” Narrative

audience-1677028_1920web2By Shannon Smith

Taking a closer look the state of our nation and our state after what most will agree was the most combative presidential election of our lifetimes, clearly reveals the lack of civility and divisions of class, race, and culture that the campaign has exposed.

Many of my fellow humanities council executive directors are already discussing what is at stake and what our role is as we explore the challenge that this election and its aftermath pose to civic life. The lack of political diversity in Wyoming (posited as caused by the social isolation of rural life in this article) complicates the discussion in our state because so many are convinced that a specific ideology has reached such primacy that conversations and discussions about other perspectives are unnecessary—a belief I’ve seen held by those in the majority and those in the minority.

Perhaps the most burning question I have after the election is: how do we get past the issue of class? How will this word “elite,” that became such a powerful allusion during this election, impact our ability to put on public humanities programs? How is the caricature of the “left coast elite” or over-educated snob going to impact those of us who desire the kind of learning and discussion opportunities that humanities councils produce? How can we reach people who think what we do is exclusively for the “elite” in America? This is clearly an issue that needs to be thought about within the context of the state of our nation and what it might mean for higher education and organizations that support life-long learners.

There is much that has been done – and can be done now — to highlight and celebrate the diversity of our state and open the hearts and minds of our neighbors to those of us who have different opinions and worldviews. It can, and will, happen using the humanities. We just need to be sure the door feels “open” to everyone, not just the so-called elites.

There is more than enough disrespect, fear, and ignorance on all sides of our many divides. The humanities don’t ask that we let go of our values or our capacity for judgment. They ask that we examine them, and those of others. They ask that we be open to learning and humble enough to revise what we thought we knew. I am open to doing that this coming year. Are you?

Shannon D. Smith is the sixth Executive Director of Wyoming Humanities (www.ThinkWY.org). She is a historian and author who writes about women in Wyoming and the Frontier West.