Team of researchers wins grant to study borderlands culture, history

Border wall

A team of researchers led by professor Paul Hirt of Arizona State University's School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies has won a planning grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a project titled “Nature, History and Culture at the Nation’s Edge.”

The team of leading borderland scholars will work with historical and cultural organizations in rural communities to plan a multi-format interpretation of the unique cultures, history and physical landscapes of the Arizona-Sonora borderlands region. This project began as a Seed Grant funded by the Institute for Humanities Research.

The objective is to study how the different cultures in the region have adapted to the natural environment, and how the effect of political and tribal borders has resulted in the communities that exist today. The team will focus on such themes as the border through time; bridging cultures across borders; nature and history; and shared identity amid social diversity.

“This borderlands project is an extension of collaborative work I have been doing with colleagues at four Southwestern universities since 2007: ASU, University of Arizona, University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University,” says Hirt. “One of the many outcomes of that work was a photographic exhibit that we brought to Phoenix in 2011, and has since been turned into a book.”

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, in a letter to professor Hirt, said, “The School [of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies] is doing an exceptional job of providing a unique and powerful education to our students that includes valuable knowledge about our most vulnerable communities, and I am inspired by the efforts of you and your colleagues.”

The School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies is an academic unit in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.