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“Power consists to a large extent in deciding what stories will be told.”
Carolyn G. Heilbrun

“Stories are a communal currency of humanity.”
Tahir Shah, In Arabian Nights

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
Philip Pullman

“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.”
Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

“There is no doubt fiction makes a better job of the truth.”
Doris Lessing, Under My Skin

“Your tale, sir, would cure deafness.”
William Shakespeare, The Tempest

• Storytelling •
February 26-28, 2014

Welcome to the 29th Annual Casper College Humanities Festival and Demorest Lecture

The 29th annual Casper College Humanities Festival and Demorest Lecture Strives to provide a forum for facilitated discussion on topics in the humanities. This event will probe the creation of narrative stories from diverse cultures and religions, and how stories are used as a potent form of communication through a variety of media. The sessions will explore the structure of human language to understand why storytelling has been so important to humanity since our beginning. Stories allow us to know the past and consider our relationships to earlier generations. Our identity is shaped by stories we have learned, the stories we put faith in and the stories we share.

Live streaming video by Ustream

Sponsored by . . .
  • Casper College
  • Wyoming Humanities Council
  • Casper College Foundation
  • University of Wyoming/Casper College Center
  • Casper College Department of Theater and Dance
  • Casper College School of Fine Arts and Humanities
  • Casper College School of Health Science
  • Casper College School of Social and Behavioral Science
  • Casper College Department of English
  • Sodexo (Casper College Dining Services)
  • Casper College Honors Program
  • Casper College Gender Studies Department
  • Dr. Unruh, Dean of the Casper College School of Fine Arts and Humanities

Other considerations were provided by . . .

  • Natrona County Public Library
  • Casper College Office of Public Relations

The Redstone Recital Series is sponsored in part by...

  • The Wyoming Arts Council


Humanities Festival and Demorest Lecture Agenda
February 26-28, 2014

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday lectures are free and open to all.
Wednesday’s theatre production requires purchased tickets.

Friday's Redstone recital requires purchased tickets.

Natrona County Public Library, Crawford Room

  • 12:00 p.m.
  • Portraits of Pastoralism
    Cat Urbigkit, Storyteller
    Urbigkit’s travels have taken her from the sagebrush of western Wyoming to Central Asia, Europe, and Africa, to learn from their people about the traditions of livestock production - some of those traditions are thousands of years old. What she has experienced is humanity, with people from various cultures sharing many generations of experience and knowledge, through storytelling. An exhibition of Urbigkit’s black-and-white photographs of pastoral people around the globe will accompany this session, hosted by the NCPL.

Gertrude Krampert Theatre, Casper College

  • 7:00 p.m.
    presented by the Casper College Department of Theatre and Dance
    Tickets for this production are:
    $12 per person
    $10 for students 5-18
  • Talk Back with Director Douglas Garland after the performance

Richard E. and Linda S. Wheeler Concert Hall
Enjoy music played by musician Gary DePaolo between sessions

  • 8:45 a.m.
    Welcome to the Casper College Humanities Festival and Demorest Lecture
    Walter Nolte, Ph.D., Casper College President
  • 9:00 a.m.
    Joseph Campbell, Ph.D., English Department, Casper College
  • Theorizing Our Stories: Why Storytelling Matters in College (and in Life)
    Melissa Sara Smith, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow, Central Michigan University
    We all tell stories; with friends and family, in formal and informal situations, and most importantly, to ourselves. Stories shape who we are and how we see the world.  Often, storytelling is seen as at odds with science and academic thought, but stories play an important role in how we make sense of the world around us. Specifically, the stories we hear, tell, and read as children helps us to understand the politics of gender, race, class, and identity. Using examples from a variety of texts, from Cinderella to The Giving Tree, this presentation will demonstrate the importance of storytelling in all aspect of our lives, and specifically how telling and hearing stories from a variety of individuals with diverse backgrounds can help all of us better understand and relate to each other in our classrooms, our communities, and in our lives.
  • 10:00 a.m.
    Eric Wimmer, Curator, The Nicolaysen Art Museum
  • Storytelling though Illustration
    Zachary Pullen, Artist
    With over 16 illustrated titles for children and numerous editorial, magazine covers, and newspaper images, Pullen has used illustration to tell many stories. Just as people remember where they were when JFK was assassinated or when the Twin Towers fell, Pullen’s career has stand out moments like that as well. These are the stories that make his art so potent and he will share those experiences.
  • 11:00 a.m.
    Lance Jones, Director of Security, Casper College
  • The World of Story: A Jewish and Inter-cultural Journey
    Cherie Karo Schwartz, Author
    Jewish folktales are a rich, ageless tapestry of intercultural stories. This session will explore some of these tales and how they have wended their way into the folk fabric of many different cultures over the centuries. Blending tellings, readings, and synthesis, Karo Schwartz will examine some of the basic elements of folk tales, according to Dr. Dov Noy, folktale motifs (Stith Thompson), and styles of telling. Using examples of Jewish and other worldwide folktales, she will explore how the tales travel and evolve from throughout cultures and times.
  • 12:00 p.m.
    Tim Wright, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs, Casper College
  • 12:00-1:45 p.m. Keynote Demorest Lecture
    Baxter Black, Author
    Since 1982, Baxter Black has been rhyming his way into the national spotlight, and now stands as the best selling cowboy poet in the world. He’s written several books (including one rodeo novel and its sequel), recorded over a dozen audio and video tapes, CDs and DVDs, and has achieved notoriety as a syndicated columnist and radio commentator. From the Tonight Show and PBS to NPR and the NFR, Baxter’s wacko verse has been seen and heard by millions.
  • 2:00 p.m.
    Eric Unruh, Dean of the School of Fine Arts and Humaniteis, Casper College
  • Storytelling and Music
    Karen Clift, Singer and Voice Instructor
    This discussion will touch upon how music alone can convey narrative and express emotion, and then delve more deeply into the powerful ways words and music combine to tell a story. From folk ballads, opera and 12 bar blues to music-theatre and Radiohead, Karen will give examples of artful text and story-telling lifted to an even higher plain by music. This will also provide a sneak peak into the following evening's performance.
  • 3:00 p.m.
    Narrative and Storytelling
    David Zoby, English Department/ Honors Program, Casper College
    Professor Zoby will present new creative work and discuss how narrative in literature is a potent form of storytelling.
  • 4:00 p.m.
    Wyoming Place Names as They Relate to Storytelling
    Venice Beske, Librarian, Historian
    Place names are basic to human communication. They are as important to how we interact with each other as our personal names. They are part of our stories and at the same time, they can be derived from our stories. As the British novelist, Elizabeth Bowen stated, “Nothing can happen nowhere.”  Place names reflect the identity of a place. The study of place names is known as toponymy. Individuals who study place names divide them into categories, from those that are descriptive to those that are purely fanciful.  Wyoming’s place names and their stories reflect these categories.

Richard E. and Linda S. Wheeler Concert Hall

  • 9:00 a.m.
    William Conte, Ph.D., Department of Theater and Dance, Casper College
  • Shadows, Water, and Magic: Puppets as Religious and Moral Storytellers
    Barbara Mueller, Ph.D. Casper College Department of Anthropology
    In this presentation, Mueller will discuss the religious and moral significance of puppetry throughout the world, as well as its role in engaging the masses. The precursors to puppets were probably ritual masks with hinged jaws or jointed skulls which were used in tribal religious ceremonies. It was believed that the first true puppets originated in India and were then spread by Indian merchants along trade routes throughout Asia. For example, in Japan, the Bunraka puppet shows developed out of Shinto temple rites. During the Middle Ages in Europe, the monks and priests served as puppeteers to spread church doctrine to common laymen. Why have puppets been used for thousands of years to communicate spiritual, cultural and educational ideas as well as to entertain? Puppetry, as most arts, was motivated by the need to explain, explore, embrace or critique the human condition.
  • 10:00 a.m.
    Georgia Wheatley, Gender Studies, Casper College
  • Gender and Storytelling
    Leslie Nichols, Western Kentucky University, Women's Studies
    For the past ten years, artist Leslie Nichols has explored text-based portraiture as a part of her studio practice. In this lecture she will discuss this visual research, highlighting Textual Portraits, a series of typewritten portraits that visualizes the historical context of women’s lives. These works on paper are created on a manual typewriter with layered text that forms images of contemporary women. In this talk she will discuss the theory and the practice of making these portraits focusing on aspects of gender and storytelling.
  • 11:00 a.m.
    Ruth Doyle, Education Department, Casper College
    Pearls, Prodigals and Prayer, Jesus of Nazareth and the Art of Storytelling
    Rebekah Simon-Peter, Minister & Author
    Many stories are told about Jesus of Nazareth.  Every bit as important are the stories he himself tells.  In fact, parables form the core of his teaching.  Using ordinary objects and themes, he draws in his listeners to the world of the extraordinary.  This talk will explore three types of parables that reveal Jesus as a master storyteller.  
  • 12:00 p.m.
    Maya Russell
  • Created Equal: Bridging Cultures
    Tanis Lovercheck-Saunders, Moderator
    Freedom Riders is the powerful harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever. From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders met with bitter racism and mob violence along the way, sorely testing their belief in nonviolent activism. During this session, this documentary on the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights Movement will be viewed and Lovercheck-Saunders will led a discussion on their stories and connect their experiences to today's civil rights issues.
  • 2:00 p.m.
    Joseph Campbell, Ph.D., English Department, Casper College
    Kitchens, porches, and Pews: Southern Women's Voices Through Narrative
    Jill Hughes, Casper College, Department of English
    Drawn from personal experience, the portrayal of Southern women in popular culture, and the study of contemporary Southern women’s fiction, this session will focus on the places and ways that narrative is used to give voice and identity to Southern women. As metaphors for home, community, and faith, kitchens, porches, and pews are often the places where women find comfort and autonomy in their Southern culture while navigating the many contradictions that are borne out of these same places. Storytelling for Southern women often focuses on leaving home and subsequently returning to their roots; exploring family history and stories; and finding or reclaiming self-identity. The stories give voice to the embrace of place and family while striving to break free of the confinements of that same family’s and that same culture’s expectations.
  • 3:00 p.m.
    Eric Atkins, Wyoming Arts Council Board
    How Languages Work
    David Shaul, Ph. D.
    Dr. Shaul will consider the structure of human language and how it bears on the nature vs. nurture debate. The capacity for learning a human language is biologically based, but culture is just as important.

The Mildred Zahradnicek Gallery, Music Building

  • 6:30 p.m.
    Reception for Justin Hayward From New York to Casper

Richard E. and Linda S. Wheeler Concert Hall

  • 7:30 p.m.
    Redstone Recital
    Storytelling in Art and Song
    Karen Clift, Soprano
    Eric Unruh, Piano

Top of page
2014 Humanities Festival and Demorest Lecture Committee
  • Rich Burk
  • Joseph Campbell
  • William Conte
  • Cindy Grafton
  • Lisa Icenogle
  • Lance Jones
  • Evelyn Miller
  • Sue Moore
  • Rebecca Nolte
  • Maya Russell
  • Carmen Springer-Davis
  • Holly Turner
  • Holly Wendt
  • Georgia Wheatley
  • Bridget Veauthier
  • Jane Young
2014 Humanities Festival and Demorest Lecture Sponsors
  • Casper College
  • Wyoming Humanities Council
  • Casper College Foundation
  • University of Wyoming/Casper College
  • Casper College Department of Theater and Dance
  • Dr. Eric Unruh, Dean of the Casper College School of Fine Arts and Humanities
  • Casper College School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • The Casper College School of Health Science
  • Casper College Department of English
  • Casper College Honors Program
  • Casper College Gender Studies Department.

Other considerations will be provided by the Natrona County Public Library and the Casper College Office of Public Relations.

The Red Stone Recital Series is sponsored in part by the Wyoming Arts Council.

Valerie Innella Maiers, Ph.D.
Casper College
School of Fine Arts and Humanities
Visual Arts Department
125 College Drive
Casper, WY 82601

Appreciation List, Humanities Festival 2014

  • Casper College Bookstore
  • Casper College Theater Box Office
  • Casper College Office of Public Relations
  • Casper Journal
  • Casper Star-Tribune
  • Larry Burger
  • Kathy Coe
  • Lynnde Colling
  • Todd Cotton
  • Carolyn Deuel
  • Harry Walker Agency
  • Arlis Handeland
  • Holly Hills
  • Nancy Hunt
  • Lisa Icenogle
  • Laura Lucero
  • Michael McLemore
  • Sarah Neubauer
  • Dr. Walter and Rebecca Nolte
  • Kathleen Nottingham
  • Betsy O’Neil
  • Justin Pehrson
  • Todd Wykert
  • Town Square Media
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