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
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! The research possibilities in each of our sections are deep and quite satisfying; and the piles of documents related to our topics that we have found at each library or collection we have visited seem never-ending.
Scout Invie, Research Assistant
Since my last report at the beginning of July, I have taken multiple trips to the Special Collections department at the Marriott Library, University of Utah. Those were such great visits for my research. I was able to find a lot of guidebooks, personal accounts, and writings on the history of different early recreation clubs such as the Wasatch Mountain Club, The Alpenbock Club, and the Ute Alpine Club. These have been crucial for my analysis on the beginnings of recreation culture in the Wasatch and surrounding mountains. They have also lead me to ask questions about the socio-cultural aspect of recreation in our area.
Through writing (which has been what I have been doing for the majority of this month), my project has taken a completely different turn. At first (while planning out my ideas), I thought I would be focusing a lot on how environmental conditions lead to a shift in recreation from the lake to the mountains. I have included that as a main concept for the shift, but I have also been focusing a lot of my critical analysis energy on picking apart how ski resort industries lured tourists in and why ski resorts in the American West are the way they are — why there are certain brands affiliated with ski resorts like the classic “Old-Western Cowboy” theme in Jackson Hole and Steamboat Springs or the “European Alps” experience at Vail, etc. Through researching, I have found these brands in American West ski resorts to be really problematic because of their appropriations of other cultures and (specifically the cowboy theme) associations with dominance, colonization, and aggressive masculinity. After critically analyzing these themes, I applied them to resorts in the Wasatch which don’t seem to have such obvious and theatrical themes. But, through analyzing old advertisements I found in Special Collections and my own experiences and observations of resort culture at Brighton and Alta, I have found that the same themes of masculine dominance are still there; just more subtly.
Because my analysis of all the research I have done has gone down a completely different route, I think the remainder of my time on this project will be spent reorganizing my paper and making certain sections more concise, while expanding my synthesis and critical thinking on other sections that don’t have enough substance. I have a lot of information — thirty-seven pages as of now — but I’d like my document to be way more pointed than it currently is.
Hikmet Loe, Faculty
July was a good month for me to get back into this project after the complexity of June. I reintroduced myself to all of the research materials found in May/early June, and then found online collections to bolster book research: the publications of Utah Archaeology and Utah Rock Art Research Association, both presenting a lot of new materials regarding northern Utah’s petroglyphs and pictographs.
The single largest hurdle in my research was finding that no one identifies Utah’s rock art sites unless they have been predetermined to be “accessible to the public.” So, my original thesis, wanting to correlate lake levels to rock art sites, is impossible to fulfill unless I travel to each site to gauge their exact placement and altitude. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to do this — it would be part of the PLAN B, we have another six months to work on this project.
So, I’ve also been writing, planning a way to synthesize the information I do have to create a cohesive whole. The final report is still new information, taking from lots of sources and presenting the petroglyphs/pictographs of Lake Bonneville and Great Salt Lake in a new, unique whole.
Because Scout and I worked on two discrete areas of research, today we are sharing our draft writing with each other, editing each other’s work, then spending the next few weeks synthesizing into one whole report. You will have the final report by September 4th.
In summary, as this is our last written report before turning in our project this September, I couldn’t have been happier working with Scout…her research skills are excellent and her passion for the materials she has uncovered was infectious. I’m looking forward to reading her report and finding interesting ways we can tie together the mountains and the lakes through our cultural histories.