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      COMMERCE, Texas -- The National Endowment for Humanities Summer Institute For School Teachers featuring several nationally and internationally known speakers is taking place this month and in August at Texas A&M University-Commerce.


       The teachers are from Texas, Massachusetts, Colorado, Arizona, California, Florida, and Missouri and 15 visiting university scholars from the United States and the United Kingdom.

       The institute is funded by a $175,000 National Endowment for the Humanities. "These grants are competitive and by winning one, we've put the university in company with such universities as Texas A&M University, Massachusetts Dartmouth; DePaul University; and University of California, Santa Cruz," Reid said.

       "The NEH grants are designed to bring school teachers together with university scholars, who are experts in the field,"

Reid said.

       For the week of July 27-31, the institute will focus on "How 'The Lord of the Rings' Shaped the Modern Ideas of the Middle Ages."

       Dr. Ralph Wood, an alumnus of A&M-Commerce and a Ph.D.

graduate of the University of Chicago, whose academic specialization is religion in literature. He is the author of "The Gospel According to the Lord of the Rings" and has taught Tolkien studies on the college level since 1973.

       For the July 13-Aug. 13 institute, there will be a total of

14 speakers.

       Some of these experts are Dr. C.W. Sullivan III, who is Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Oregon; Dr.

Edward James, who graduated from Oxford, and is an historian of early medieval Europe and served as the editor of one of the major scholarly journals on science fiction/fantasy; Dr. Amy Sturgis, who received a doctorate from Vanderbilt; Dr. Charles W. Nelson, who has taught on Tolkien for 35 years; and Dr. Faye Ringel, Ph.D. graduate of Brown University, who focuses on medieval epics and modern medievalism and has published both periodicals and book articles on Tolkien's work.

       Ford and Reid co-directed a Summer Institute on Tolkien in

2004 with funding from the National Institute of the Humanities. They have collaborated on university-sponsored Tolkien events, such as lectures to student groups as well as public lectures off-campus, and have team-taught undergraduate and graduate level courses on Tolkien.

       Reid's area of scholarly interest is speculative fiction and often presents papers on Tolkien at academic conferences.

       Ford is a medieval historian, whose area of specialization is popular religion in medieval England. She teaches not only courses in medieval history, but also introductory courses on the scope and methods of history.





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