2022 Spring Classes


Crude Territory: Rethinking the Identity of Oklahoma.

University of Oklahoma, Norman

January 3-7, 2022 (in-person).                     THIS SEMINAR IS FULL


Scholar:  Russell Cobb


Where is Oklahoma? The state has a distinctly Southern political identity with settlement patterns more befitting a Midwestern state. The visible presence of Native American culture leads many to lump Oklahoma in with the Southwest. Oklahoma, in the context of popular culture, is often dismissed as yet another "flyover state," or as a wild and wooly place of frontier violence and oil fortunes won and lost. This seminar leads students in acts of cultural and historical recovery of narratives repressed by mainstream political and media institutions. 

  • Enrollment through your home campus
  • OSLEP provides all required reading materials at no additional cost - NO books to buy!

Dr. Russell Cobb is Associate Professor in Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. He is the author of The Great Oklahoma Swindle: Race, Religion, and Lies in America's Weirdest State (Bison Books), winner of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries' Director's Choice Award for 2021. He edited the collection The Paradox of Authenticity in a Globalized World (Macmillan). He has published many scholarly articles on Cold War politics in Latin American literature. He is also the host of the podcast History X, which explores misrepresented or repressed true stories.



How We Bear Witness:  Writing Oklahoma in Fiction and Creative Nonfiction

University of Oklahoma, Norman 

January 10-14 (in-person)                                       THIS SEMINAR IS FULL.  CHECK OUT OUR APRIL/MAY SEMINARS


Scholar:  Rilla Askew, University of Oklahoma

This course will be an Intensive writing workshop focused on creating fiction and creative nonfiction that reflects the students’ engagement with Oklahoma as subject and source. Students will read and discuss works by Oklahoma writers such as Joy Harjo, Brandon Hobson, and Constance Squires, and will develop new works of their own to be shared in a supportive writing workshop format.  Coursework will include instruction in the craft of fiction and creative nonfiction as well as exploration of Oklahoma-based fiction and nonfiction.


Rilla Askew is the author of four novels, a book of stories, and a collection of creative nonfiction, as well as plays, articles, and essays. Her first novel, The Mercy Seat was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dublin IMPAC Prize, and received the Oklahoma Book Award and the Western Heritage Award in 1998. Her novel about the Tulsa Race Massacre, Fire in Beulah, received the American Book Award, the Myers Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights, and was selected as the centennial book for Oklahoma’s One Book One State program. Her novel Harpsong, published by the University of Oklahoma Press, received seven literary awards including the Oklahoma Book Award, the WILLA Award from Women Writing the West, the Violet Crown Award from the Writers League of Texas, and the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Her novel Kind of Kin, the story of a fractured family and small-town community at the vortex of Oklahoma’s immigration laws, was a finalist for the Spur Award from Western Writers of America, longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC Prize, and selected for Amarillo Reads in 2017. Askew’s collection of essays on race and place, Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place, was longlisted for the PEN/America Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay in 2018.  She teaches creative writing at the University of Oklahoma. 


“Rodeos and Raiders Caps: Exploring African American History through Popular Culture in the American West”

University of Oklahoma, Norman 

April 27 to May 1 (in-person)


Scholar:  Kalenda Eaton, University of Oklahoma

What does it mean to be western in the context of the United States? This course will be an exploration of how Black identity and western Americana converge throughout the US and abroad, using selected examples from film, literature, popular music, and television. Students will consider how western regional identity can be interpreted outside stock images of cowboy boots and hats and reimagined as a race critical interpretation of liberation; individual rights; and social progress in the 20th and 21st centuries. We will also explore the concept of the “Yeehaw Agenda” and its role in remixing western tropes.

  • Enrollment through your home campus
  • OSLEP provides all required reading materials at no additional cost-NO books to buy!

Dr. Kalenda Eaton is the author of publications on African American literature and African American cultural history. Her first book, Womanism, Literature, and the Transformation of the Black Community, 1965-1980, has been frequently cited in scholarly research for over a decade. She has co-edited and co-written projects such as New Directions in Black Western Studies and “Teaching the Black American West,” and has a chapter titled “Black Women Writers Reclaiming Western Literature” in Gender and the American West. Currently, Eaton is an Associate Professor of African American Studies at the University of Oklahoma and the Director of Oklahoma Research for the Black Homesteader Project sponsored by the National Park Service/US Department of the Interior.


Reimagining the American Carceral State

University of Oklahoma, Norman

May 23-27, 2022 (in-person)


Scholar:  Prof. Mackenzie Israel-Trummel, William & Mary


In this seminar we will ask how the modern police state developed, how everyday Americans respond politically to the carceral state, and explore the possibility of reimagining criminal justice. Prior to the class, students will complete a creative assignment in which they use a non-traditional medium to explain a concept from the readings. This can take any form except a standard essay. At the end of the course students will write a policy paper in which they advocate for a policy that reimagines some facet of the modern carceral state.

  • Enrollment through your home campus
  • OSLEP provides all required reading materials at no additional cost-No books to buy!


Dr. Mackenzie Israel-Trummel is an Assistant Professor in the Government Department at the College of William & Mary. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department and an affiliate faculty member of the Women's and Gender Studies Department and the Latinx Studies Program at the University of Oklahoma. While at OU she co-founded the Community Engagement + Experiments Lab

Dr. Israel-Trummel's research interests are primarily in the field of American political behavior and include the politics of identity and the carceral state. Her work has been supported by the Graduate Research Opportunity at Stanford University, the Laboratory for the Study of American Values, the Junior Faculty Fellowship at the University of Oklahoma, the Paul G. Risser Innovative Teaching Fellowship, and the Social Science Research Council. Dr. Israel-Trummel's research has been published in outlets including The Journal of PoliticsPolitical Behavior, and the Journal of Experimental Political Science. See some of her research featured at the Monkey Cage on the Washington Post.  


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