American Studies
American Studies

UT AMS PhD Dr. Jeannette Vaught Publishes Article in Food+City Magazine

Tue, November 14, 2017
UT AMS PhD Dr. Jeannette Vaught Publishes Article in Food+City Magazine

Please join us in congratulating UT AMS PhD Dr. Jeannette Vaught, who just had an article published in Food+City magazine. Alongside photographs from 20th century American photographer Erwin E Smith, Dr. Vaught describes the influence of the Texas cattle droves on the development of the state's highways. You can read the whole article here, and we've included an excerpt below.

Today, those waves moving along the north-south corridors of Texas are made of motor vehicles. Interstate 35 is the main road that runs north and south through Texas, forming a highway spine from Mexico through the American heartland all the way north to Lake Superior. Yet the very things that make it modern — its expanses of pavement and high speeds — also obscure the unique history of this strip of ground in Texas. When we drive up I-35 in Texas today, we are following a movement pattern carved out by bovine hooves — first by wild bison, as King remembered, and then by ranched cattle. That’s hard to imagine now, as the concrete hums under the tires and the landscape whizzes by in a blur.

Unbeknownst to most motorists today, including truckers moving cattle through various points of the beef commodity chain, Interstate 35 overlays the same path taken by cattle drovers, the first men on horseback to guide Texas cattle to northern markets in the 19th century. Men like Frank King. “When I started to ridin’ them North Texas ranges, barbed wire hadn’t been invented,” he remembered. “There was nothin’ to hold cows together but cowboys and hosses.”


Please join us in congratulating Dr. Vaught!

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