Former TU Student Awarded Fulbright for Research in Australia

Friday, June 15, 2007

University of Tulsa alumnus Leland Turner has received a Fulbright scholarship to conduct research at the Australian National University in Canberra and the University of Queensland in Brisbane in 2007.

Turner, who graduated from TU in 1999 in communications, is a doctoral candidate in history at Texas Tech University.

His Fulbright research project is entitled "Grassland Frontiers of the Outback and Southwest: Australian and American Cattle Economies, Environment, and Enduring Myth." Turner will examine the effect of environment on economic activity in grasslands cattle cultures of America and Australia and how frontier experiences influenced regional mythology and subsequently, national identities.

“The frontier has long been a rich breeding ground of national myth and the birthplace of many an enduring hero—particularly the American Cowboy and the Australian Bushman," Turner said. His research examines how pastoral economies of the Outback and American Southwest shared a common and dramatically important natural condition—aridity. Those cultures left frontier legacies that continue to define national identities in a rapidly globalizing society.

Turner’s research also will explore how white settlers relied on their European social, political and economic traditions to cope with adverse frontier conditions. He will directly compare the environmental similarity of Australia’s interior grasslands and America’s Southern Great Plains in looking at the progress of European settlement in those areas.

When Turner returns to the United States, he plans to complete his PhD at Texas Tech with the hope that his research will provide a foundation for a body of work that will use area studies to consider myth, national identity and globalization in history.

In addition to his Fulbright award, Turner has been recognized with the 2006 Summer Dissertation Research Award, the Earnest Wallace Graduate Student Research Grant, the Dissertation Research Grant and the History Chair’s Award for Graduate Student Leadership.