NEH Summer Institute

A Summer Institute (Residential) for Secondary School Teachers (Grades 6–12) at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in collaboration with Center for Inter-American and Border Studies (CIBS) and Institute of Oral History (IOH)

July 16th – July 30th, 2023

Applications Closed

Tales from the Chihuahuan Desert: Borderlands Narratives about Identity and Binationalism
This Summer Institute for Secondary School Teachers (Grades 6-12) is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and offered by The University of Texas at El Paso. Borderlands narratives have historically been seen as peripheral to the development of American history and identity. In middle and high-school textbooks across the country, borderland populations have received minimal attention. The binational spaces border people occupy have been portrayed as dangerous, illegitimate, and as part of a distinct counter-culture. We aim to place these forgotten regions and their populations at the center of the debate about American history and identity by focusing on the multicultural region and narratives of the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez metroplex. 

Faculty and Visiting Lecturers
Leading experts and award-winning scholars will lead these comprehensive storytelling workshops. 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.

Institute Dates: July 16 - July 30, 2023
Over the course of the two-week long Institute, Summer Scholars will be asked to become skilled storytellers through the use of a variety of methodologies that include history, literature, art, film, journalism, music, and theater -- to develop their own creative ways of implementing diverse storytelling methodologies into their teaching philosophies in order to more holistically reflect on the complex histories and identities of border peoples and of the binational spaces they inhabit.

An Experience You Won't Forget!
There will be many opportunities to interact with our faculty and visiting lecturers, and with each other.  Download the Frequently Asked Questions.

Application and Deadlines

The deadlines are as follows:

Participant Application Deadline: March 3, 2023

Applicant Notification Deadline: April 3, 2023

Participant Acceptance Deadline: April 14, 2023


Applications Now Closed




The desert is no lady.
She screams at the spring sky,
dances with her skirts high,
kicks sand, flings tumbleweeds,
digs her nails into all flesh.
Her unveiled lust fascinates the sun.              

*Listen to an audio recording

The poem “Unrefined” is reprinted with permission from the publisher of Chants by Pat Mora ©1994 by Arte Público Press, University of Houston. 
“Unrefined” appears in My Own True Name: New and Selected Poems for Young Adults, 1984–1999 by Pat Mora, ©2000 by Piñata Books, Arte Público Press, University of Houston. 

Watch "A Conversation with José Antonio Rodríguez"