Arts & Humanities

Two USU History Professors Receive Prestigious NEH Residential Grants

Lawrence Culver

Two Utah State University faculty have been awarded highly competitive fellowships for Summer Seminars and Institutes sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Lawrence Culver and Ravi Gupta are both professors in the History department and will use their appointments to reinvigorate their courses for USU students and develop new ideas in a collaborative environment. Both Culver and Gupta have identified courses that they will revise using their summer experiences and can also use the NEH grants to develop their own research interests.

Culver, associate professor in history, focuses his current research on historical perceptions of climate and climate change. He will travel this summer to the Newberry Library in Chicago and spend five weeks in a seminar, “Mapping, Text, and Travel,” which will explore cartography and travel in North America and the Atlantic World since the early modern era. He hopes his fellowship will help him complete his current book project on perceptions of climate and climate change in the history of North America, and begin a new book project on the histories of tornadoes and other violent weather phenomena in the United States.

“Historical change does not just happen in chronological time, it happens in geographic space,” said Culver. “This seminar will give me a much stronger grounding in analytical and methodological approaches to studying maps as historical documents, and a better understanding how the people who created them understood landscapes and climates. In addition to my research, it will aid my teaching in my courses on environmental history, the American West, and the Southwest Borderlands.”

Gupta, professor in history, holds the Charles Redd Chair of Religious Studies and serves as the director of the USU Religious Studies Program. He will travel this summer to the University of Virginia to participate in the NEH Institute “Problems in the Study of Religion.” His research focuses on Hindu devotional texts and traditions, while he teaches courses on world religions, religion in performance and Hinduism. Gupta will use his fellowship at the University of Virginia to develop a new course, Religious Studies Theory and Method, for the fall semester.

“Throughout my career, I have sought ways to bring my research into the classroom, and to introduce my students to the best scholarship in the field,” said Gupta. “This NEH Summer Institute will provide me an opportunity to explore the latest developments in the study of religion and then apply them to my teaching at Utah State University.”

Tammy Proctor, USU History department head, is pleased to have two faculty members receive such highly competitive residential grants.

“It is really wonderful to have two award winners in our department,” said Proctor. “I am excited for them to work in a creative, supportive and dynamic environment while developing curriculum for our students.”

For more information about the fellowships, see the website.

Contact: Ravi Gupta, 435-797-1196,; Lawrence Culver, 435-797-3101,

Writer: Paige Pagnucco, 435-797-1429,

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