Helmerich Center for American Research Expands Opportunities

Helmerich Center for American Research FellowsNew work taking place at The University of Tulsa’s Helmerich Center for American Research (HCAR) at Gilcrease Museum is laying the foundation for expanding scholarship in the humanities. Academics are invited to participate in research fellowships, travel grants and post-doctoral fellowships.

Natalie Panther, Assistant Director of the Center from 2017-2019, said these recent additions present exciting research opportunities.

“The new research programs will bring in a diverse group of researchers and academics who are looking to use the vast resources at the Helmerich Center to further their research projects,” said Panther. “Their work will in turn shine back on the wealth of unique assets housed here further enhancing our reputation as a nationally renowned research center.

The research fellowships include five short-term fellowships for the 2019-20 academic year. These fellowships are available for pre- and post-doctoral research or independent research with a stipend of $2,500 and give fellows access to the Gilcrease Archive, which contain more than 100,000 rare books, documents, maps and unpublished work, along with the collection of TU’s McFarlin Library.

The 2019 selection of fellows brought in scholars from across North America.

One such fellow, Michelle Martin, a doctoral candidate in the history department at the University of Mexico, worked on her project Dark Taboo: Kate and Douglas Bemo, Interracial Marriage, and the Power in the Indian Territory, 1870-1898 while in residence this summer.

Martin explained one appeal of the fellowship was the amount of exclusive information about her topic housed within HCAR.

“The center was a fantastic wealth of information for me, and I knew I wanted to research here, but that was only made possible by the short-term fellowship,” said Martin. “The unique relationship between The University of Tulsa and the Gilcrease Museum gives researchers a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of two collections of research materials.”

According to Martin, whose project studies individuals from different races marrying in Indian Territories near the turn of the 20th century, her research is growing more relevant with each passing day.

“We’re becoming a more diverse society; people of different races, faiths and ethnicities are having families,” she said. “By looking at the past, maybe we will be able to create better relationships for people from different ethnic groups in the future.”

While most of the fellowships last for two weeks to a month, the Duane King Post-Doctoral Fellowship hosts scholars for a year. Fellows will not only research at HCAR, but also teach a fall and spring course at TU, giving them another opportunity to get involved with the Tulsa community and allowing students access to another accomplished intellectual voice.

The current Duane H. King Postdoctoral Fellow is Travis Jeffries of Colgate University. Jeffries is in residence from August 2019 to May 2020, working on The Mexican Indian Diaspora in the Greater Southwest, 1540-1680. He will share his knowledge in the American Republic class at TU this fall.

The travel grants, the third new research opportunity, will bring researchers to the Helmerich Center for on-site research for up to two weeks. The lineup of people receiving travel grants through 2020 include doctoral candidates, an anthropology professor from Northern Michigan University and a freelance author and researcher from Pennsylvania.

Panther said that while the new opportunities will expand knowledge about HCAR, it will also work to strengthen the relationship between Gilcrease Museum and the university.

“Scholars from across the country and across humanities disciplines have the opportunity to delve into the research center’s extensive archival collections and participate in the intellectual life of the University of Tulsa. The Helmerich Center for American Research functions as a kind of incubator where ideas, conversations and people come together and benefit from a nurturing scholarly community in order to produce innovative and collaborative research.”

Meet our Research Fellows:

Michelle M. Martin, Ph.D. Candidate, University of New Mexico
Research Project: Dark Taboo: Kate and Douglas Bemo, Interracial Marriage, and Power in the Indian Territory, 1870-1898
In Residence: June 10, 2019-June 21, 2019

Morgan Brittain, GTA, University of Iowa (C.M. Russell Fellowship)
Research Project: The Boat as Motif, Matrix, and Method in the Work of Charles Marion Russell
In Residence: May 20, 2019-June 21, 2019

Cristina Cruz Gonzalez, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Art History, Oklahoma State University
Research Project: Constructing Sanctity in the 18th Century Franciscan Mission
In Residence: June 17, 2019-June 28, 2019

Matthew Dougherty, Ph.D., Flora Jane Baker Postdoctoral Fellow, Queens University-Toronto
Research Project: Land of the Jewish Indians
In Residence: July 15, 2019-July 26, 2019