Sept. 7, 2010 — Adrian Bantjes, an associate professor in the University of Wyoming Department of History, was killed in a head-on automobile crash at approximately 8:15 p.m. Friday about 11 miles south of Saratoga on Wyoming Highway 130.
“The tragic death of Professor Bantjes is a tremendous loss for the University of Wyoming. He was an excellent scholar and a valued member of the faculty who was well-liked by students and colleagues alike,” UW President Tom Buchanan says. “He will be missed by all who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.”
Bantjes’ wife, Mary Henning, and daughter Aida, 8, were injured in the crash and both were hospitalized. Henning remained in the hospital as of Tuesday morning. Aida has been released from the hospital.
Bantjes, 50, joined the UW faculty in 1991. He received B.A. (1980) and M.A. (1983) degrees from Ryksuniversiteit Leiden, The Netherlands, and a Ph.D. (1991) from the University of Texas, Austin.
His research and teaching focused on modern Latin American history with an emphasis on the political, social, cultural, and religious history of 20th century Mexico. His doctoral research focused on the Mexican Revolution (1910-40) and resulted in a book, “As If Jesus Walked on Earth: Cardenismo, Sonora, and the Mexican Revolution,” which won the Michael C. Meyer Prize in 1997. Since then, he published a series of essays on cultural revolution in Mexico with a focus on the relationship between state formation and popular religiosity.
Bantjes, who was respected for his expertise in Latin-American history, taught modern and colonial Latin American and Mexican history, an introduction to Latin American studies, and specialized seminars on topics such as Latin American revolutions, popular religions and indigenous cultures. He also taught interdisciplinary courses in international studies, religious studies, American Indian studies, Chicano studies and American studies.
As an academic hobby, he was interested in the cultural history of fly-fishing. Bantjes taught what may well be the first course on the history of fly-fishing ever offered at a U.S. university, and published essays on the history of the sport in the Rocky Mountains.