Letter from the Director

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The upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday provides the opportunity to consider those who inspire our love for the humanities. While many Montana educators nurtured my love for reading, writing, and history, my Ph.D. mentor, Dr. Annette Kolodny, gave me the confidence to pursue a career in the humanities.

Dr. Kolodny was a pioneering scholar in early American literature, feminist literary criticism, and U.S. frontier studies. I first met her in 2003, when I took her famous “Frontiers” graduate seminar at the University of Arizona. Born and raised in Montana, I took a personal interest in the course, which explored the role of the frontiers in shaping American literature and culture.

I eventually became Dr. Kolodny’s research assistant before she retired. After I graduated and started my own teaching career, Annette always wanted to hear the most recent updates on my classes, my students, and, of course, my love life.

Annette passed away in 2019. As a highly regarded scholar and academic administrator, she used her influence to fight for the humanities and the voices of women and minority writers not traditionally represented in the U.S. literary canon. Dr. Kolodny believed in the power of the humanities to create a better, stronger multicultural democracy; her commitment has, in turn, inspired me as a professional and a person.

This month I hope you will honor and celebrate those who inspired your love for the humanities, and I hope you will read something by Dr. Annette Kolodny. I recommend her magnum opus, In Search of First Contact: The Vikings of Vinland, the Peoples of the Dawnland, and the Anglo-American Anxiety of Discovery.

Yours truly,
Randi Lynn Tanglen, Ph.D.
Executive Director