Dr. Richard Kitchen was awarded his second Fulbright Scholar Professorship.
The honor is reserved for approximately 20 percent of applicants who are selected for one fellowship. Of that 20 percent, only about 2 percent ever get a second.
A professor at the New Mexico Military Institute, Kitchen is originally from Richfield. He graduated from Richfield High School in 1981 and continued his academic pursuits — earning undergraduate degrees/certificates in history, graphic arts and political science. He is certified to teach grades six through 12 German and history, as well as K-12 art. He has a master’s in history from Brigham Young University; and a Ph.D. in history from Arizona State.
Kitchen has taught at NMMI for 18 years, received his first Fulbright in 2008/09 and taught American history at the University of Trier in Germany. He then did a summer research program at the University of Muenster.
This time, while his subject matter is similar, he’ll be teaching at the University of Salzburg in Austria.
“Our American Studies program has a strong focus on American literature and culture, and Prof. Kitchen’s expertise in American Indian history, early United States history and the American West would greatly benefit our program,” Prof. Dr. Ralph J. Poole, head of the American Studies program, wrote, in a letter accepting Kitchen into the program. “Prof. Kitchen’s proposed courses fully comply with our needs, mixing a cultural/literary angle with a political/historical one.”
That mix is nothing new for Kitchen, who indeed may live up to the term “renaissance man.”
He worked as a graphic artist and then went on to enlist in the U.S. Army.
He joined the Army and was sent to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. After graduation and further training he was sent to Germany. While there he was sent to advanced language school, eventually becoming the senior linguist for his unit and served as an intelligence analyst during the fall of the Berlin Wall.
“(I learned) a lot of interesting stuff that if I make it to 104 (years old), I can tell you all about it,” Kitchen said, noting the date of when his work will become declassified. “I’m hanging on for that 104.”
He received a Green-to-Gold Army ROTC Leadership scholarship while awaiting his promotion to E-6, and said he learned a lot that influenced his future while traveling.
“I think experience is a great learning tool, and I think the best way to learn about the history and culture of other areas and other peoples is to experience it,” he said.
Kitchen has taught a broader selection of classes than many university faculty, including world history (both ancient and modern), U.S. history (both early and modern), cultural anthropology, humans and geography (the intro to geography class), political science (American government), American military history, German civilization and culture (both ancient and modern) Native American history, cultural beginnings of the U.S. and the history of the Southwest.
And, he not only teaches at NMMI, he’s taught or lectured at places as diverse as South Carolina; Helsinki, Finland; Germany; and Oxford University, England.
His courses in Austria will give grad students insights into the west and Native American history, as well as what he calls “the imagined west — what people think of the west. Movies, Hollywood, saying ‘the west is this way.’ People’s perception of the west. Research looking at how this perception affects us, even today, politics and immigration.”