History Department
History Department

Department of History, numerous faculty featured in winter edition of Life and Letters magazine

Mon, March 24, 2008

The college's community of scholars is the focus of the new issue of Life and Letters with the theme of "Gateway to the Americas and Changing U.S. Demographics." The Department of History and its renowned faculty and graduate programs are featured throughout this issue of the college magazine.

The department's Latin American history graduate program has consistently been ranked No. 1 in the country by U.S. News and World Report. "Through the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS), the College of Liberal Arts is uniquely poised to forge innovative research collaborations that call upon the interdisciplinary talents of such nationally recognized programs as Anthropology, English, History, Spanish and Portuguese, and Sociology," said Randy Diehl, dean of the college of liberal arts.

The Department of History has built both an extraordinary legacy of renown in academic research and publishing and excellence in mentoring graduate students. But when President Powers focused his attention on the History Department in 2006 with a pledge of $1.3 million in recurring funds, he really got things going at top speed.

Just this past January, Alan Tully, chair of the department, and Randy Diehl, dean of the college of liberal arts, announced the launch of the Institute for Historical Studies (IHS) at the reopening celebration of Garrison Hall. The building was closed for a year-and-a-half, while it was being renovated for the first time since it was built in 1926. Garrison Hall has always been home to the History Department. The Director of the IHS is Associate Professor Julie Hardwick. The institute explores themes whose historical roots are of critical importance for the contemporary world as well as for the historical profession.

The inaugural theme that will also include a public lecture series for 2008-10 will be "Global Borders." Some potential lecture topics are:

  • Why we eat what we eat: ethnic food ways, immigration, and assimilation
  • Tourism and the American Southwest: Native Americans, Navajo rugs, and U.S. homes
  • Presidential politics: Thomas Jefferson’s boundaries.

The story titled "Cuba after Castro" features History Professor Jonathan Brown's research. He recalls how Cubans reacted to the news of Castro's illness in 2006 when he happened to be in Cuba conducting research, and what life might be like under Raul's leadership, page 8.

Brown visited the sites of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara's revolutionary trail of the movement they founded for a textbook he is working on, page 9. He has also been part of a team of professors that achieved the new break-through partnership agreement between the University of Havana and The University of Texas, page 40.

The story titled "From Tuskegee to Havana: Black Hemispheric Linkages" features Assistant Professor Frank A. Guridy's research on the interaction of African Americans and Latin Americans in various and sometimes unexpected venues, page 10. One of those places was as students at the Tuskegee Institute in Ala. during the first decades of the 20th century.

Booker T. Washington is renowned for his autobiography, starting the school, and his major influence on the Americas. But it is not widely known how much he influenced Cuba by recruiting hundreds of Cubans to come to Tuskegee for their education. Many came and returned to Cuba to play vital roles in the cultural and social exchanges between Cubans and U.S. African Americans that continues to influence both ethnicity groups in both countries today.

Plan II Honors Program get its study abroad bolstered with a gift of $1 million by CarMax founder Austin Ligon and his wife, Samornmitr "Pan" Lamsam. "This extraordinary gift will help to transform the lives of our students by allowing more of them to study abroad and immerse themselves in foreign cultures they will come to know up close,” said History Associate Professor and Interim Director of Plan II Michael Stoff, page 16.

Research Briefs
Five historians have their research highlighted, pages 37-38:
Virginia Garrard-Burnett, Pentacostalism on the rise in Guatemala
Susan Deans-Smith, Mexico, Colonies and Empire
John McKiernan-González, Mediating Mexican-American identity in literature, and he has just recently launched a Web resource for undergraduate historical research, "Mapping the Borderlands"
Anne Martinez, History through a transnational lens
Anne Twinam, to publish book titled, “The Purchase of Whiteness in Colonial Spanish America."

Jewish studies strengthened in the college by its scholarship in Latin American Jewish studies and hosting the Latin American Jewish Studies Association's web site in conjunction with the newly formed Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies. History Professor Robert Abzug was tapped to be the director of the center.

Fulbright Fellowship is awarded to Associate Professor Emilio Zamora to do research in Mexico, page 39.

Noted historian explores nature and the connection between Puritans and conquistadors
Professor Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra is a renowned author and scholar of early modern Atlantic history and colonial Spanish and British America. He research includes nature and how it was understood and manipulated to the connection between Puritans and conquistadors. Many of his books have won awards and received high praise, page 39.

Guggenheim fellowships are awarded to two history professors: Neil Foley and Cynthia Talbot, page 40.

News Highlights
Liberal Arts launches Institute for Historical Studies at newly renovated Garrison Hall reopening reception; History News Network honors history professors Mark Lawrence and Madeline Hsu as being top young historians today; President Powers pledges support for Liberal Arts for English and history departments; College names History Professor Robert Abzug as Director of Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies; History alumnus Jesús F. “Frank” de la Teja will serve as Texas’ first State Historian, page 40.

University enters agreement with University of Havana and Professor of History Jonathan Brown, associate director of LLILAS, helped negotiate terms of the agreement, page 40.

Bookmark and Share