Hittites in North Dakota

One of the fringe benefits of running this blog is that you occasionally hear from an alumnus/a who studied the ancient world under one my predecessors here at the University of North Dakota.  While it was always interesting to hear from a member of the larger university community, I must admit that prior to working on the history of my department, these names were usually fairly meaningless to me.  Some of this is perhaps exacerbated by the fact that that our department as a group have only a fairly modest collective memory, owing largely to the fairly brisk turnover in faculty over the last 20 years. 

As the study of the ancient world in North Dakota allows for some unusual relationships, correspondences, and juxtapositions, it seems worth including a brief biography of one of my predecessor here (drawn in large part from the department’s Centennial Newsletter of 1983):

Charles Carter, a native of Kentucky, (greater Cincinnati) earned his Bachelor of Divinity from Emory University (Atlanta), a B.A. from the University of Kentucky and the Ph.D., ancient Near East languages, from the University of Chicago. He taught at Central Methodist College at Fayette, Missouri 1965-1966. At the University since 1966, he taught ancient and early European courses. His Ph.D thesis was entitled Hittite Cult Inventories, and his subsequent publications include “Some Notes on Political and Religious Institutions in Two Ancient Cultures,” Social Science XLIV (1969) as well as Vokabulare, mythen und kultinventare (1978, with H.G. Gutterbock) and numerous more specialized journal articles dealing with the Hittite language as well as reviews.  In 2000, after some delays, a volume in his honor was edited by Yoël L.Arbeitman and titled The Asia Minor Connexion: Studies in Pre-Greek Languages in Honor of Charles Carter (Peeters, Leuven 2000).

He was the first individual to come to the history department to teach exclusively (more or less) the ancient world and he brought with him to North Dakota, of all people, the Hittites .  He was active in national organizations like the American Oriental Society as well as more local organizations like The Linguistic Circle of Manitoba and North Dakota.  He began and led the Grand Forks chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America which has subsequently disappeared. 

Perhaps noting Carter’s contribution in as ephemeral a medium as the a weblog is not doing him any great service, but, then again, some of the most compelling journeys come from following footprints in the sand.

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