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News 2008

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Moroccan Fulbright Scholar to Speak on Democracy in Africa and Middle East

"Challenges of Democratization in North Africa and the Middle East" is the topic Dr. Abdelilah al-Abdi has chosen for his visit to Texas State University next week under the Fulbright Occasional Lecturer program. He will offer a public lecture at 6:30 p.m Wednesday, November 19, in Taylor Murphy 101. Originally from the Department of Political Science at Mohamed V University (Rabat, Morocco), since August, he has been scholar-in-residence specializing in Comparative Government and International Relations at Radford University in Radford, Virginia. Sponsors for Professor al-Abdi's visit to Texas State include the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars, the Provost's Office, and the Bilateral US Arab-Chamber of Commerce.

Graduating MA Student Roque Planas Named Senator Gregory Luna Fellow

Graduating History M.A. student Roque Planas has been named a Senator Gregory Luna Fellow of the Texas Senate Hispanic Research Council. He will serve as a legislative aide for a Texas senator during the 81st session (January-May 2009).  His duties will include bill tracking and drafting legislative research summaries, constituent correspondence, floor statements, articles, and press releases.  Scholars and fellows in the program also design and implement a community service project. Roque recently completed his thesis, “The Politics of Crime, the Criminality of Politics: State Violence in Argentina, 1930-1938.” Soon after arriving in the History Graduate program here at Texas State he served as a research assistant on a video documentary project, “Mexican American Legislative Caucus: The Texas Struggle for Equality and Opportunity,” for which Drs. Jaime Chahin, Dean of the College of Applied Arts, and Frank de la Teja, Chairman of the Department of History, served as principal investigators. Roque spent this past summer in Argentina doing research for his thesis. Currently, Roque is applying to graduate programs in History and Journalism around the country.

Texas Blues: The Rise of Contemporary Sound by Alan Govenar

The Center for Texas Music History in the History Department at Texas State University is pleased to announce the publication of the second book in its new series, The John and Robin Dickson Series in Texas Music, published in collaboration with Texas A&M University Press.

Texas Blues: The Rise of a Contemporary Sound, by noted Texas music historian Alan Govenar, is the most comprehensive study to date on the history of blues in the Southwest. Texas Blues presents a detailed discussion of the development of blues music in the Lone Star State, and it looks at both famous and not-so-famous Texas artists, including Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Eddie Durham, Big Mama Thornton, Victoria Spivey, T-Bone Walker, Janis Joplin, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Texas Blues also examines the ways in which the blues cross-pollinated with other ethnic musical genres in the Lone Star State, including jazz, conjunto, country, and zydeco, to help create new musical sub-genres that give Texas a unique and dynamic musical environment.

Texas Blues is available through Texas A&M University Press, at most major bookstores, and through several online book vendors, including Amazon.com.

The John and Robin Dickson Series in Texas Music, which already has been recognized by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., is scheduled to publish a new book each year devoted to the study of Texas music history.

Jimmy McWilliams Surveys American War on Bugs

Congratulations to Dr. Jimmy McWilliams on the publication of American Pests: The Losing War on Insects from Colonial Times to DDT, which has just appeared from Columbia University Press. American Pests is Dr. McWilliam's third book and addresses a topic that, given recent environmental circumstances, is more than just a colorful story of often misguided efforts of well-intentioned people to conquor nature. The link to Columbia Press will also allow you to view a short video introduction to the bok by Dr. McWilliams.

Assistant Professor, Angela Murphy, wins Presidential Excellence Award in Teaching

In 2008 the university continued to recognize the outstanding teaching contributions of History faculty by naming Dr. Angela Murphy with the President’s Excellence in Teaching award at the lecturer/assistant professor level. Dr. Murphy, who holds the Ph.D. from the University of Houston, in only her second year at Texas State, has already demonstrated the qualities of a master teacher, engaging both undergraduate and graduate students with her rigorous but accessible style and earning their admiration. Dr. Murphy specializes in mid-nineteenth century social history and has developed new courses at the graduate level, including one on historical memory. For more information on Dr. Murphy, visit www.txstate.edu/history/people/murphy/index.htm.

Center for Texas Music History at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The Smithsonian Institution has selected three books that the Center for Texas Music History was directly involved in producing for the upcoming exhibit on Texas history and culture at the 2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC, June 25 – July 6, 2008. The History of Texas Music, by CTMH director Gary Hartman, is the first in the Center's new John and Robin Dickson Series in Texas Music with Texas A&M University Press. The Handbook of Texas Music, produced by the Texas State Historical Association, contains the work of Texas State University students and faculty, who researched and wrote approximately one-third of the entries. Dr. Hartman wrote the first chapter of The Roots of Texas Music, edited by Lawrence Clayton and Joe W. Specht for Texas A&M University Press. For more information on the center, visit www.txstate.edu/ctmh.

Historian, Paul Hart, Awarded Jones Professorship

Congratulations to Paul Hart, who was just named Jones Professor of Southwestern Studies. As part of a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant, the Houston Endowment funded the Jesse H. and Mary Gibbs Jones Professor of Southwestern Studies in Texas State’s Center for the Study of the Southwest. The Jones Professor of Southwestern Studies team-teaches the Southwestern Studies courses with Mark Busby, Director of the Center for the Study of the Southwest, works with Center publications, helps organize and present symposia, and assists the Center with other regional projects related to the professor’s discipline and the Center’s designation as the Southwest Regional Humanities Center. The professorship carries a three-year appointment, a reduced course load and a stipend.

As the Jesse H. and Mary Gibbs Jones Professor of Southwestern Studies, 2008-2011, Dr. Hart will be working on three main projects for the Center for the Study of the Southwest. Immigration stands out as one of the most important contemporary issues in Texas and the rest of the border region, and Dr. Hart will be writing a book tracing the immigrant experiences of various ethnic groups across the Southwest. He hopes that presenting that history and providing a comparative framework in which to consider current immigration will lead to greater understanding of this important process that is remaking the face of America. Dr. Hart will also be organizing a symposium on immigration in the Southwest that will bring scholars from across the region, as well as students and members of the local community to Texas State. That event will coincide with the opening of an interactive historical and cultural exhibit highlighting the history of Texas and Texas music.

Center for Texas Music History Launches New Show on NPR

The Center for Texas Music History at Texas State University is launching a new radio program entitled "This Week in Texas Music History," beginning on Monday, March 31, 2008. The 90-second show will air each Monday morning on Austin's KUT 90.5 FM during NPR's Morning Edition at 6:33 a.m. and 8:33 a.m., immediately after the bottom-of-the-hour NPR newscast. It will also be available 24/7 on KUT's web site. In addition, we expect many other NPR affiliate stations across the state to pick up the show and begin broadcasting it on a weekly basis. So, please tune in starting Monday, March 31st, to hear the debut of "This Week in Texas Music History," a program that no doubt will bring additional attention and recognition to Texas State University's Center for Texas Music History. For further information, please contact Dr. Gary Hartman, Director, Center for Texas Music History, Texas State University.

History Professor Organizes South Asian Students Group

The South Asian Students Association is a newly formed organization on campus. SASA is open to anyone interested in learning more about South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tibet.) The association will host educational and cultural events in an effort to promote awareness of South Asia. Leah Renold is the faculty advisor for the group. In March, the association organized a trip for students interested in attending the South Asian spring festival of color, Holi, which was celebrated at a Hindu temple in Austin. A traditional feature of the Holi celebration is the creation of rangoli, a floor drawing composed of colored powder. A member of the group, Kavita Khasa, created a rangoli in front of the LBJ Student Center on the day of the Holi festival.

History Chairman Frank de la Teja Honored by DAR

Professor and History Department Chairman Frank de la Teja was the recipient of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Americanism Medal, which recognizes "an adult, naturalized American Citizen, having displayed the requisite qualifications of Trustworthiness, Service, Leadership, and Patriotism." Dr. de la Teja is the author of various works on early Texas history, a coauthor of American Anthem, a high school U.S. history textbook, and Texas: Crossroads of North America, a college-level Texas history textbook. He is currently serving as State Historian and just finished a term as president of the Texas State Historical Association. His nomination came from the Three Missions Chapter, Cameron, Texas, of the DAR and was presented at the state convention in Dallas at the award banquet on Saturday, March 15, 2008.

Center for Texas Music History Publishes Essay on Women in Texas Music

Dr. Gary Hartman, director of Texas State University's Center for Texas Music History has just published an essay in a new anthology from the University of North Texas Press, "From Yellow Roses to Dixie Chicks: Women and Gender in Texas Music History." The volume, edited by John Storey and Mary Kelley, is called Twentieth-Century Texas: A Social and Cultural History and is directed at both the general public and academic audiences.

Gregg Andrews Receives Research Fellowship in Texas History

Professor Gregg Andrews of the Department of History at Texas State is the recipient of the Mary M. Hughes Research Fellowship in Texas History from the Texas State Historical Association. The award will allow Professor Andrews to travel to Chicago in summer 2008 to conduct research on Thyra Edwards, a nationally and internationally prominent African American activist of the 1930s. He is preparing an article, and possibly a biography, on this important but little known Texas.

Dr. Mary Brennan has just published: Wives, Mothers, and the Red Menace: Conservative Women and the Crusade Against Communism, with the University Press of Colorado

In the Cold War years following World War II, many Americans saw communism as a real danger to domestic security and the family. Consequently, millions of women expanded their notions of household responsibilities to include the crusade against communism, engaging in activities that ranged from writing letters and hosting teas to publishing books and running for political office. In the process, they discovered their power to effect change through activism. Brennan's book details the anti-communist activities of prominent conservatives Jean Kerr McCarthy, Margaret Chase Smith, Freda Utley, Doloris Thauwald Bridges, Elezabeth Churchill Brown, and Phyllis Stewart Schlafly, revealing how the willingness of these deeply conservative women to leave the domestic sphere and engage publicly in politics evinces the depth of America's postwar fear of communism. Brennan argues that these women pushed the boudaries of traditional gender roles and challenged assumptions about women as political players by entering political life to publicly promote their ideals.