Tales from the Chihuahuan Desert: A Summer Institute

Welcome from 
Drs. Martínez and Rodríguez, Institute Directors

15 October 2020

Dear Secondary School Educators,

You’re invited to apply to our Summer Institute for School Teachers (grades 6th – 12th) named Tales from the Chihuahuan Desert: Borderlands Narratives about Identity and Binationalism. More information will be posted on the application and process in early Jan. 2021. We are planning for a live, on-site Institute, although remote learning will be considered for the health and safety of everyone during the pandemic.

The Institute is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and will be held at the campus of The University of Texas at El Paso (El Paso, Texas).

The institute will be held  July 18th - August 1, 2021. A stipend (taxable) will be provided to each summer scholar.

We developed Tales from the Chihuahuan Desert in an effort to reframe our national discourse about the ways in which we see and talk about the U.S.–México borderlands and its binational populations. 



Leading experts and award-winning scholars will contribute to our NEH Institute. In conjunction with inquiry-based activities centered in the classroom, invited scholars will also take part in several pre-planned field trips to local archives and repositories, historical sites, and cultural venues.

We believe it is important, especially for young adults, to understand and recognize the role that these marginal spaces and its populations have played in U.S. history and literature.

Three essential questions will guide our discussions during our time together:

  • How can the study of the Chihuahuan Desert, of its history and its people, help us tell a more complete story of the American experience?
  • What can we learn about the histories and literatures of border people by examining their stories?
  • How does binationalism inform border people’s cultures and literary production?

The learning outcomes for our Institute are as follows:

  • To explore the range and variety of literature created by writers from the Chihuahuan Desert, both classic and contemporary;
  • To achieve an understanding of the histories and cultures of a region often stereotyped and misunderstood;
  • To provide professional learning opportunities for teachers so that they can become better educators;
  • To encourage teachers, who will be from across the country and from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, to engage each other in thinking critically about important issues in order to expand the intellectual depth and experience of all teachers; and
  • To broaden teachers’ experience and understanding of the humanities as they are challenged through the historical and literary narratives explored in the Institute and through the activities and events experienced during the two-week Institute.

We invite you to submit your complete e-application once the application opens in Jan. 2021 and BEFORE the deadline, which is March 1st, 2021.

A committee, which includes former teacher participants (Summer Scholars) and professors, will be evaluating each applicant’s eligibility and application materials submission.

We look forward to reviewing your complete application before the deadline. The notification letters for all applicants will be sent, via email, by March 31st, 2021.



Ignacio Martínez (Principal Investigator; 2021 Summer Institute, Codirector)
Assistant Professor, Department of History
The University of Texas at El Paso

R. Joseph Rodríguez, Ph.D. (2021 Summer Institute, Codirector)
Faculty, Division of Graduate and Professional Studies
St. Edward’s University

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Download the Welcome Letter and NEH's Principles of Civility