Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Developing a Culture of Reclamation

James O. Armstrong, Peter C. Lutze, Laura Woodworth-Ney.

Culture of Reclamation is a sequence of “videopoems” about Idaho, integrating poetry, historical photographs, music and videography in a video presentation, which also includes historical narrative. The three Idaho scholars collaborating on this interdisciplinary project bring expertise from the fields of literacy education, communication and history together to reclaim a portion of the history of this state in a creative and engaging medium. For the conference, we propose to present one videopoem.
Culture of Reclamation expresses a response to the culture of the early irrigated settlement communities along the Snake and Boise rivers. Between 1894 and 1920, a land rush to the arid western United States occurred as private investors and the federal government built irrigation projects to reclaim the sagebrush desert for farmland. Both men and women settlers contributed to the culture of the early communities, the men with a vision of an irrigated Utopia (Smythe, 1895) and the women with literary endeavors and civic participation (Woodworth-Ney, in progress).
In responding to the landscape and to the creative work of the early settlers, such as Clarence E. Bisbee and Mary Hallock Foote, we deepen our sense of belonging to this place. Our work is both aesthetic and efferent (Rosenblatt, 1978; 1994), personal and professional.
We intend for our project to serve as a prototype for interdisciplinary work in secondary schools. We hope that our work will serve to inform and inspire students in the future to explore their past with imagination as well as historical records.


James O. Armstrong  (United States)

Boise State University

Jamie Armstrong is a professor at Boise State University where he teaches courses in reading education as well as reading and study strategies. He has written a textbook, Reading Tools for College Study, and two books of poetry, Landscapes of Epiphany and Moon Haiku. A CD version of Moon Haiku has just been released, integrating music by Ben Burdick and the poetry. Jamie enjoys running, bicycling, and photography. He and his wife Claire have two grown children and live near the Boise River.

Peter C. Lutze  (United States)

Boise State University

Laura Woodworth-Ney  (United States)

Idaho State University

  • Interdisciplinary video project
  • Reclaiming Idaho history
  • Developing a sense of place
  • Interdisciplinary education

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)