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News 2005

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Dr. Hart's Book on the Social Transformation of Morelos Published

Congratulations to Associate Professor Paul Hart, whose book Bitter Harvest: The Social Transformation of Morelos, Mexico, and the Origins of the Zapatista Revolution, 1840-1910, just appeared from the University of New Mexico Press. The work examines the social and economic transformation in the Morelos region, just south of Mexico capital, that created a broad sector of discontented agrarian folk and widespread support of Emiliano Zapata.

History Alumna Jen Nichols (B.A., 2003) Finds Home in NARA

Two years after graduating from Texas State in August 2003, Jen Nichols, history alumna, now calls Washington, D.C. home and works for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Taking a year off before graduate school to explore her career options, Jen volunteered at two institutions, the National Archives-Southwest Region and the Amon Carter Museum, both in Ft. Worth, to obtain experience in archival work. Subsequently she pursued her masters in Library and Information Science with an emphasis on Archives at the University of Maryland, and secured a job at the National Archives in College Park, working in public programs.

Archivists are specially trained in preserving original documents and materials and helping people access them. They work with paper documents, photographs, maps, film, and electronic records. Possessing broad and deep knowledge about records, archivists are involved in many phases of the records life cycle. Their extensive research skills help in providing records to the general public.  NARA is the government agency that preserves and maintains materials that record the federal government's activities and makes them available for research, including the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

Jen's primary duties at the National Archives include assisting in the creation of exhibitions and publications for the main and regional facilities located throughout the country. Jen recently had a major role in developing a public exhibit for NARA's new Southeast region facility in Atlanta, Georgia. The exhibit, titled "Firsthand History: Documents from the National Archives--Southeast Region", contained over 500 images, divided into nine sections, all representing records in the Atlanta facility's holdings. Jen assisted with the selection of documents, background research, managing digital images, writing, and proofing text and digital outputs, for sections that included "The Tuskegee Study", "Tennessee Valley Authority", and "Federal Courts and Civil Rights." Completion and official opening of the building was in July 2005. You can visit the online version of the exhibit at http://www.archives.gov/southeast/exhibit/index.php.

Jen has also worked on other projects at NARA, including traveling exhibits and general information leaflets (GIL), which are published for each region. The GILs are pamphlets designed to orient visitors, researchers, and the curious with the separate regional facilities. A traveling exhibit for NARA's Pacific Region in San Francisco, which will cover the 100th anniversary of San Francisco Earthquake and Fire in 1906, is being prepared. 

After graduating in December 2005 from the University of Maryland, College Park, Jenn will assume a full-time position with the exhibits staff at the National Archives.

Dr. Watson's Book on Houston Police Department Published

Dr. Watsons BookCongratulations to Dwight Watson, whose Race and the Houston Police Department, 1930-1990: A Change did Come has just been released by Texas A&M University Press. Based on extensive research in the archives of the Houston Police Department, this is the first monograph to explore the issue of race in shaping the Houston Police Department, both in terms of the deparment's role as an institution designed to preserve the status quo and as a vehicle for transformation of the institution in the Civil Rights and post-Civil Rights eras.

Dr. Watson is now associate professor of History at Texas State, and had a previous career in law enforcement. He has served as a correctional counselor, a county probation officer, and a state parole officer.

Department Chair Publishes Book on Social Control

Jesus de la Teja's BookHistory Department Chairman Jesús F. de la Teja is principal co-editor on Choice, Persuasion, and Coercion: Social Control on Spain's North American Frontiers, published by the University of New Mexico Press. He and co-editor Ross Frank, associate professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego, have worked on this project for over five years. It is a product of meetings at UC-San Diego and Southern Methodist University, where the Clements Center for Southwest Studies provided funding and support for the project. An effort to strenghten links between students of the eastern and western Spanish regions of North America, or borderlands, in the traditional terminology, the essays cover the entire chronological scope of Spain's imperial experience from the sixteenth through the early nineteenth century. The book also brings together established scholars with emerging leaders in the field and includes the area of northern Mexico within its scope of the region. Choice, Persuasion, and Coercion is intended for both classroom and scholarly use.

New History Faculty Books

Elizabeth Makowski and James McWilliams are the latest members of the History faculty to publish new books.

Professor Makowski continues her study of medieval religious women in "A Pernicious Sort of Woman": Quasi-Religious Women and Canon Lawyers in the later Middle Ages. Published by the Catholic University Press of America (2005). The book is a look at how medieval law tried to accommodate the organization of women's informal religious communities. A full description of the work is available at http://cuapress.cua.edu/BOOKS/viewbook.cfm?Book=MAPS.

Assistant Professor James McWilliams's first book is A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America (Columbia University Press, 2005). In this work, Prof. McWilliams traces how new foods and new attitudes toward food changed Europeans into North Americans. A full description is available at http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-12992-3/a-revolution-in-eating

Dr. Michael Heintze has been Named Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at Texas State University

Dr. Heintze comes to Texas State from Oklahoma State
University, Stillwater,where he served as Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing since 2003.

"Cheryl and I are very pleased to have the opportunity to return to the Hill Country and to be a part of the Texas State University family," said Heintze. "These are exciting times for Texas State and I look forward to working with Provost Moore and other campus leaders to achieve enrollment management goals and position the university for even greater success."

Dr. Heintze earned his B.A. in history from Texas Lutheran University in 1972, his M.A. in history from Texas State in 1974 and his Ph.D., also in history, from Texas Tech University in 1981.

"Dr. Heintze brings a wealth of experience in admissions, recruitment, enrollment management and marketing at excellent universities to Texas State," said Texas State Provost Perry Moore. "We look forward to his outstanding leadership at Texas State."

At Oklahoma State, he served as head of the Enrollment Management and Marketing Division, which was created in 2003. The division comprised five departments with more than 100 employees, and included the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the Office of the Registrar under the Enrollment Management group as well as Marketing Services and KOSU public
radio under the Marketing Services group. He also served as chair of the marketing and enrollment management councils for the Oklahoma StateUniversity System.

Prior to his time at Oklahoma State, Dr. Heintze served as vice president for enrollment management at Texas Tech from 1998-2003; director of admissions for Clemson University, Clemson, S.C., from 1985-87; associate director of admissions, from 1983-85, assistant director of admissions from 1981-83 and admissions counselor from 1978-81, all at Texas Lutheran

Whitney Blankenship is HEB Teaching Excellence Award Finalist

Whitney BlankenshipWhitney Blankenship, who earned a B.S. in Applied Sociology in 1987 and a M.A. in History in 1992 from Texas State University , has been named as a finalist in the prestigious H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards. Ms. Blankenship is among 48 finalists chosen from across Texas competing for 10 awards. At Texas State she wrote her M.A. thesis, "Pharisees and Scribes: The Use of Judaic imagery in the New Light Protest and the Old Light Response," directed by Dr. William Liddle of the Department of History. She also served as an instructor in the Department of History from 1991-1993. Currently she teaches History, Psychology, and Geography at Leander High School and the survey of United States History at Austin Community College.

Ms. Blankenship uses a number of techniques to engage her students in the study of history. For instance, she relies heavily on the use of historical documents: "We spend time analyzing documents . . . together as a class, then in smaller groups and slowly work to the point where students work on them independently." She finds "that emphasizing primary sources, along with the idea that history is a story, keeps students interested and connected to the material. They seem to have a better understanding of the interplay between social, intellectual, political and economic history. It also gives them a personal connection as they begin to see the historical figures as real people who lived, worked and were affected by the events that occurred during their lifetimes. Making that connection makes all the difference in their attitude toward the class."

In addition to the study of historical documents, Ms. Blankenship uses current events and films to stimulate student interest. When using films to teach history, she attempts to have the "students analyze the accuracy of the film's portrayal of the event." In studying films on historical topics, the students "have to research the event in question, as well as determine whether the director has an agenda or not. It seems to make them more aware of the variety of historical interpretations for any given event." Recognizing that the study of history involves interpretation, she makes clear that "I encourage all of my students to ask questions and to not accept my interpretation as the only one."

Ms. Blankenship has recently begun incorporating her own historical research into the classroom: "A few years ago I started interviewing WWII veterans and taping the interviews, some of which I use in class. I also have an interview with a local Holocaust survivor and a liberator that I show back to back. I then have the class compare what the veterans' remember with other written accounts, government propaganda and textbook interpretations. I really get a kick out of seeing them "do" history rather than just listening to me lecture."

The faculty of the Department of History congratulates Whitney Blankenship on her richly deserved recognition and wish her the best in the final competition of the H-E-B Excellence in Education Award.