September 7, 2021

In the News: NEH Award Winners, a Prize-Winning Documentary & More

LATTER-DAY SAINTS ACROSS THE BORDER: A major grant from the NEH will enable a special institute to take place in the summer of 2022 on the topic of Mormonism and Mexico. (Photo credit: Museum of Mormon History of the Americas,

“Mormonism and Mexico” project receives major grant

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced several grant awards in August, including a major grant awarded to Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies Matthew Bowman and Associate Professor of Religion Daniel Ramírez.

The $180,410 grant will help facilitate “Mormonism and Mexico: A Case Study in Religion and Borderlands,” a three-week hybrid summer institute focusing on studying religion and borders, with a focus on Mormonism in Mexico.

Matthew Bowman
Daniel Ramírez

“We are excited for the Institute to use the case study of Mormonism in Mexico to ask broad, interdisciplinary questions about the role of religion and culture in sometimes shaping and sometimes crossing borders,” says Bowman. “This Institute will bring two dozen scholars from all over the country to CGU, and we are not only excited to host them but also excited to introduce them to the resources we are gathering at the Center for Global Mormon Studies to explore these issues.”

The institute, which will include 25 higher education faculty, is scheduled to be held in 2022. In total, the NEH awarded $28.4 million in grants for 239 humanities projects nationwide. See their project listed here on page three of the NEH list of this year’s winners.

Master’s Student’s Documentary About the Reality of Infertility Treatments Wins Film Award

While working towards her master’s in History at CGU, Courtney Lamb’s new documentary, “Test (The IVF Film)” was honored with the Audience Award at the Walla Walla Movie Crush film festival in July.

Courtney Lamb

The film is based on the experiences of Melissa Okey, a 40-year-old blogger, during her 4-year journey to get pregnant that included 18 months of infertility treatments. Okey’s experiences correlated to the history of infertility treatment research that Lamb was conducting as part of “The Politics of Parenting” course with Professor Eve Oishi.

The film was screened at the Oxford International Short-Film Festival in the UK and will screen again at hotel Breckenridge 40th Anniversary Film Festival (September 16-19). Learn more about Lamb’s film here.

Alumnus Releases Book about Antebellum Slavery Debate

How was slavery addressed in America in the decades leading up to the Civil War?  Jordan T. Watkins (MA, History, ’08) offers answers in his recently published first book, Slavery and Sacred Texts: The Bible, the Constitution, and Historical Consciousness in Antebellum America from Cambridge University Press.

Jordan T. Watkins (MA, History, ’08) has published his first book “Slavery and Sacred Texts: The Bible, the Constitution, and Historical Consciousness in Antebellum America.”

Drawing parallels between constitutional and biblical debates over slavery throughout American history, Watkins traces the development of historical consciousness in Antebellum America as well as the rise of historical distancing in the way that antislavery readers approached sacred texts.

Watkins is currently an assistant professor of Church History at Brigham Young University. Learn more about the book at his publisher here.