Here at IMR we’re hoping that you have a chance to escape to the mountains during these incredibly challenging times. We’re very fortunate on that front here in Northern Utah.

Among the many things that are far more difficult is mountain research. But we’re pleased that two teams of researchers proposed important topics with innovative methodology. Please follow their progress.

Mountain Time and Beyond: Nepalese Family Stories — Prashanti Limbu and Xiumei Pu

This project aims to collect the stories of three generations of a Nepalese extended family with whom Prashanti Limbu has close connections. The origin of the family is in Lamitar, a mountain village in Ilam district of Province 1, Nepal. Now, they are dispersed in Lamitar, Dharan (a town in the plains of eastern Nepal), Barahachhetra (a town in eastern Nepal)​ ​and Tennessee (U.S.). The heart of the research is their complex relationship to mountain environments whether they still live or have left there. …


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This summer, IMR is helping to fund an exciting project from Prof. Allison Shir and Nathaniel Wooley, from Westminster’s Dance program. Here’s Nathaniel’s first report:

Summer 2019 IMR Student/Faculty Research Progress Report 1, June 1, 2019 Nathaniel Woolley and Allison Shir

Sacred Mountains: Where body and Spirit Converge Structure and Implementation of Research

As researchers, we had initial discussions on how to structure the physical practice and experiential methodology of our site-based research; we had a conversation about the phenomena of repetitive rituals in spiritual practices and the tendency to ascribe a certain sacred number of repetitions. We decided to embody this practice in our research, settling on the number seven as a framework to use to infuse meaning into our patterning of ritual and physical cultivation of space (hereinafter #7). We selected the #7 after I, the student researcher, listed numbers randomly to illustrate this idea and Professor Shir, the faculty mentor, latched on to the #7. Her initial attachment stemmed from knowledge that it is traditional for the bride in variants of Ashkenazi Jewish marriage rituals to circle the groom seven times. I attached the patterning of this ritual to the practice of circumambulation, a sacred tradition surrounding mountain spaces. From there a cursory google search revealed an array of worldwide sacred rituals and beliefs centered around the #7. …


Westminster student Scout Invie and her faculty mentor, Hikmet Sidney Loe, have completed their research report. We at IMR are proud to have helped fund this important work, which will be shared at future conferences. Well done Scout and Hikmet! Thanks for letting us be a part of this.

Determining Connections Between the Cultural Significance of Utah’s Mountains and Great Salt Lake

What can we learn by examining Great Salt Lake’s bordering mountains so that we can gain a richer understanding of the lake’s cultural history? The boundaries of Great Salt Lake are constantly shifting due to the terminal nature of the lake; these boundaries are often defined by those interested in securing its resources. From the prehistoric Lake Bonneville (approximately 20,000 sq. mi of surface area within Utah, Idaho, and Nevada) to our current lake (ranging from 950 to 2,400 sq. mi of surface area) its boundaries — as defined by human interaction and mapping — have always been bordered by mountains. The question we posited for our investigation led to research on the lake’s cultural history found through a study of the way its bordering mountains have been utilized, ranging from the petroglyph and pictograph markings of the prehistoric Desert Archaic, Fremont, and Promontory Cultures to the pull and push as the recreation and tourism of the lake — so abundant from the 1850s through the 1930s — gave way to the newly developing recreation and tourism in regional mountains. Our research was conducted over the span of four months using primary sources
found in publications and documents. …


August 1 Research Update, Scout Ivie and Hikmet Loe

IMR Progress Report

Landscape of Necessity: Determining Connections between the Cultural Significance of Utah’s Mountains and Great Salt Lake

Scout Invie and Hikmet Loe

August 1

July was a great month for both Scout and Hikmet intensive research and project discussions. We were able to visit Special Collection at the Marriott Library, UofU, to view primary sources. Our meetings were back on track, with a lot of writing on both our parts. Both Scout and Hikmet feel we could easily spend another six months or so on this project! …


Our Summer 2018 IMR Faculty/Student summer research grants have been awarded, and work is well underway. Congratulations to Hal Snarr, Economics professor at Westminster College, and Julie Norman, who are researching “Minimum Wage Policy Impact on Small Business in Winter Sports Communities.” Congratulations also to Hikmet Loe, Adjunct Faculty, Art History, and Scout Invie, who are researching the cultural history of the mountains around the Great Salt Lake. Details on their research proposals are below.

From “Minimum Wage Policy Impact on Small Business in Winter Sports Community” Abstract:

“Minimum wage requirements are one of the most explicit forms of business regulation. This regulation is intended to aid workers, but what is the impact on small business? Using the different minimum wage standards between Utah ski counties and Colorado ski counties, we will conduct a natural experiment to ascertain the impact of these wage rates on small businesses. We will create two multivariable models to spearhead the analysis. One model will address the impacts during the most recent recession period while the other model will estimate the impact during the recovery period that followed. The results will illustrate how changes in minimum wage rates impact small businesses in counties that depend on tourism and the natural environment for economic success.” …


Rachel Kuhr and Dr. Ranjan Adiga received an IMR faculty/student summer research grant for 2017. Here is Rachel’s final essay.

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The Peak that Beckons Me

By Rachel Kuhr

The Utah Mountains dominate the landscape that is my home. They are the pulse of this place. They are the heartbeats, translated by peaks that rise and fall. An EKG that wraps around eternally, recording blips of the individual in a collective memory.

They stand witness to our living and dying. In their balance of consistency and change, they teach us how to grieve. They mirror our own rising and falling. …


The Henry Mountains Project

Katie Saad was awarded an IMR faculty/student summer research grant under my supervision. Here’s her first update.Update, 3 August 2017

By Katie Saad

For the Henry Mountains Oral History Project this summer of 2017, I have been working on gathering background information to help further prompt discussion throughout the interviews that I will be conducting. I have done this through different forms of research that include looking for past oral histories, reading different books and articles, and studying maps all on the Henrys and the surrounding areas. I have reached out to a variety of people to inquire about interviewing them, many of the names coming from Martha Stockham and Al Labs, the owner of the Cat Ranch and the man largely responsible for helping to maintain the ranch respectively. Up to this point most of my work has been finding these potential interviewees and reaching out to them, and I am now starting to shift into the interview phase. …


Katie Saad was awarded an IMR faculty/student summer research grant under my supervision. Here’s her first update.

3 August 2017

By Katie Saad

For the Henry Mountains Oral History Project this summer of 2017, I have been working on gathering background information to help further prompt discussion throughout the interviews that I will be conducting. I have done this through different forms of research that include looking for past oral histories, reading different books and articles, and studying maps all on the Henrys and the surrounding areas. I have reached out to a variety of people to inquire about interviewing them, many of the names coming from Martha Stockham and Al Labs, the owner of the Cat Ranch and the man largely responsible for helping to maintain the ranch respectively. Up to this point most of my work has been finding these potential interviewees and reaching out to them, and I am now starting to shift into the interview phase. …


Katie Saad also received an IMR faculty/student research grant under my supervision. Here’s her first update.

Update, 3 August 2017

By Katie Saad

For the Henry Mountains Oral History Project this summer of 2017, I have been working on gathering background information to help further prompt discussion throughout the interviews that I will be conducting. I have done this through different forms of research that include looking for past oral histories, reading different books and articles, and studying maps all on the Henrys and the surrounding areas. I have reached out to a variety of people to inquire about interviewing them, many of the names coming from Martha Stockham and Al Labs, the owner of the Cat Ranch and the man largely responsible for helping to maintain the ranch respectively. Up to this point most of my work has been finding these potential interviewees and reaching out to them, and I am now starting to shift into the interview phase. …


One of our IMR summer faculty/student collaborative research grants for 2017 went to Prof. Ranjan Adiga and his student, Rachel Kuhr. Here are Rachel’s three progress reports. Onward indeed!

Rachel Kuhr

May 30, 2017

Progress Report #1

I am incredibly excited to embark on this journey of combining mountain exploration with creative writing. I have been given the opportunity to form a narrative that will explore how my relationship with the Utah mountains has manifested itself in many different ways — through beauty, metaphor, landscape, direction, adventure, question, past, present, and future. I will return to the canyons, campsites, and ski resorts that hold many memories of my early encounters with the mountains. …

About

Jeff Nichols

Jeff teaches history at Westminster College.

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