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News 2011

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Students Celebrate Eid Festival

Students Celebrate Eid Festival 2011Texas State students celebrated their "Eid Festival" on Friday 18 November 2011. The Muslim Students' Association organized this evening of entertainment and learning, celebrating the Abrahamic faiths with comedy, music, food-- and a fashion show.

The MSA gratefully acknowledges the support of the History Department, the Anthropology Department, and the Multicultural Programming Committee. Pursuing our mission as a university, we value diversity of people and ideas, a spirit of inclusiveness, a global perspective, and a sense of community as being essential elements of campus life.

History Department faculty member Dr. Elizabeth Bishop is advisor for the Muslim Students' Association. For information on future events, you can email her at eb26@txstate.edu.

Frederick "Fritz" Hanselmann Lecture | Thursday November 10, 2011 at 6 p.m.

Real Pirates of the Caribbean: Shipwrecks in Panama and the Dominican Republic

Pirates fill a romantic niche within popular culture and media, but what were they really like? Join us for tails of adventure on the high seas exploring the shipwrecks of real pirates Henry Morgan and William Kidd. Captain Morgan was the scourge of the Spanish Main and for years, pillaged the Spanish colonies and was one of the few pirates able to retire and enjoy his spoils. Captain Kidd was a tragic figure in an international scandal, which resulted in his unjust infamy as one of the most cutthroat pirates of all times. Throughout their respective exploits, both men lost ships to the sea, for which archaeologists are searching and investigating today. By studying the material remains of our past, maritime archaeology can provide further insight into the activities of real pirates through sunken cities, ships, and other archaeological sites and historical documents. Through careful research of both the archaeological and historical records, we can acquire a greater understanding of what real pirates were like. We will hear from the underwater archaeologist who leads these expeditions in search of shipwrecks throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.

Piracy Through the Ages | Presentation by Bryan Glass on Oct. 25, 2011

The Jolly Roger, peg legs, parrots, eye patches, walking the plank, Johnny Depp, Blackbeard, and Long John Silver. All of these images and names immediately bring to mind a romanticized vision of pirates. But in recent years, mere mention of piracy off the coast of Somalia brings a darker vision into our collective consciousness. Glass’s talk will investigate global piracy from the sixteenth century to the present and seek to separate romantic notions from the harsh reality of life as an outlaw on the open seas. Join us as we explore the history of piracy through the men and women who both practiced and fought it, the states that supported and attacked it, and the authors who chronicled it. Bryan S. Glass, BA, MPhil, ABD, is the Founding Member and General Editor of The British Scholar Society, an international non-profit educational organization dedicated to investigating Britain’s interactions with the world from the seventeenth century to the present. He serves as an Editor of the Britain and the World book series with Palgrave Macmillan and is currently teaching a class at Texas State entitled “Pirates of the Mediterranean.” This event is co-sponsored by Texas State’s Alkek Library and Department of History.

This is also available on the Wittliff Gallery website at: http://www.thewittliffcollections.txstate.edu/exhibitions-events/events.html.

Dr. Rebecca Montgomery Awarded Mary C. Neth Prize

Congratulations to Dr. ebecca Montgomery. Her article, "’With the Brain of a Man and the Heart of a Woman’: Missouri Women and Rural Change, 1890-1915,” which appeared in the April 2010 Missouri Historical Review, has been selected as the 2011 winner of the State Historical Society of Missouri’s Mary C. Neth Prize. The prize is given biennially to the author of the best article on women or gender issues appearing in the preceding two volumes of the Missouri Historical Review.

Public History Alumni Share in Award for Work at the Texas Historical Commission

The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) recently announced that the Texas Historical Commission's (THC) Texas in World War II Initiative, one of whose lead participants was Texas State Public History alumnus William McWhorter, will receive a Leadership in History Award for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. Another Public History alumna, Lara Newcomer of the Austin cultural resources firm Ecological Communications Corporation, was also a member of the award-winning team.

The Leadership in History Awards, now in its 66th year, is the nation's most prestigious competition for recognition of work associated with the preservation of state and local history, with winners representing the best in the field. The official awards will be presented at a special banquet in Richmond, Va. on September 16.

The THC's Texas in World War II initiative is a program that honors and preserves the memories of Texans who served in the armed forces during World War II and the contributions they made to the home front's war effort. The comprehensive initiative includes historical markers; a commemorative brochure; oral history training workshops; two National Park Service grant projects associated with Japanese, German, and Italian internment in Texas during World War II; and a statewide military home front sites survey.

"All of us at the Texas Historical Commission are very pleased to receive this prestigious award for our Texas In World War II initiative," said Commissioner Tom Alexander, who was instrumental in its development and progress. "This award serves to further underscore the major role the Lone Star State played in that epic conflict."

The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. They not only honor significant achievement, but also bring public recognition of the opportunities for organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions to this important arena.

"We're very proud of our team of experts who work diligently to record and share the real stories of the people and places that were part of this significant chapter of state, national, and world history," said THC Executive Director Mark Wolfe. "The Texas in World War II initiative is an ambitious effort that has met with great success, and this is yet another example."

The AASLH is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history and is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn.

For more information about the Texas in World War II initiative, and to download a free Texas in World War II brochure featuring key sites and historical information about Texas' contribution to the war effort, visit www.thc.state.tx.us.

Dr. Frank de la Teja Named Distinguished Professor

Congratulations to Dr. de la Teja for being named a recipient of the Texas State University University Distinguished Professor award. This award honors individuals whose performance in teaching, research, and service has been exemplary and recognized at the state, national, and international levels.

Texas State Offers History Courses in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos

 Texas State Students and Faculty at Wat Xieng Thong (Golden City Temple),  a Theravada Buddhist Temple in Luang Prabang, Laos
Texas State Students and Faculty at Wat Xieng Thong (Golden City Temple),
a Theravada Buddhist Temple in Luang Prabang, Laos
Department of History professors Paul Hart and Leah Renold led the first Texas State study abroad program in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos this year. Seventeen students participated in the program, which offered courses on the history of Indochina and on the history U.S. involvement in the area. The program included on-campus lectures prior to and after a two-week study tour in May 2011 of major sites related to the history of Indochina. In the study of the ancient and medieval history of the area, students learned of the major empires and the historical influences of India and China upon the region, of the practice of Confucianism, Hinduism and Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism, and of the relationship between these major religions and ancient monarchies of the area. In their study of the modern period, students learned of the history of US involvement and strategic and economic interests in the area, the rise of the Viet Minh during WW II, and of the diverse perspectives on the Vietnam War, including that expressed in Last Night I Dreamed of Peace, the diary of Dang Thuy Tram, a young female Vietnamese doctor during the war. Highlights of the tour included the Vietnam War Museum in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), the well-preserved ancient maritime silk route port of Hoian, and the sites of the ancient capitals of the Khmer Empire, including Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom in Cambodia.  The program will be offered again soon.
 Texas State students and faculty enjoying Vietnamese food in Saigon
Texas State students and faculty enjoying Vietnamese food in Saigon
 Visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor Wat. the vast Hindu temple complex constructed during the Khmer Empire

Visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor Wat. the vast Hindu temple complex constructed during the Khmer Empire

History Alumnus Obtains Graduate Degree at the University of Chicago

Nathan Hensley, who graduated with a B.A. in History from Texas State University in 2008, was accepted by the University of Chicago for graduate studies and completed an M.A. in May, 2011. His thesis, written for the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago, is titled, "Exclusion and the Definition in the Communist Party of India 1934-1965." Nathan plans to continue his graduate studies in order to pursue a doctoral degree in the history of India.

Former Department Chairman Gene Bourgeois Named Provost

Prof. Gene Bourgeois, a member of the Department of History since 1990 and chairman 2000 through 2004, has been named to succeed Dr. Perry Moore as university Provost beginning July 1, 2011. In making the appointment, Texas State President Denise Trauth commented,

As we prepared to initiate a national search for our new Provost, I began consulting with many individuals about this search. During these conversations, I discovered a recurring theme as person after person asked me why I was initiating a search when they believed we had an extraordinarily well-qualified individual already in the Provost's office.

Prof. Bourgeois has been serving as associate provost since January 2005. Before that he chaired the Department of History, and before that he served as director of the university Honors Program, served as founding faculty coordinator of the Residential College Program, and was founding director of the Texas State in England Study Abroad Program. He is the author of two books and a number of articles on Tudor era English history, and he regularly teaches both advanced undergraduate and graduate classes in that field.

Texas State Delegation Again Takes Honors at South Carolina Model Arab League

Model Arab League TeamTen Texas State students and Model Arab League participants at South Carolina Meet History Department faculty member returned from the Southeast University Model Arab League event with an award. At a competition organized by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, delegates debated in eight councils: Arab Court of Justice, Arab Cultural Summit, Economic Affairs, Environmental Affairs, Joint Defense Council, Palestinian Affairs, Political Affairs, and Social Affairs. Twenty-two universities were represented at the competition which took place in Spartanburg SC from 11-13 March 2011, among them Georgia State University, Northeastern University, the United States Air Force Academy, the University of North Carolina/Charlotte, and the Virginia Military Institute.

Maria Cortez and Nickolas Spencer were recognized with an "honorable mention" for their representation of Yemen. This Texas State team presented two resolutions before the Joint Defense Council (JDC). The first created a transboundary agency under the aegis of the JDC in order to address multi-state issues, and prevent these (included refugee crises) from erupting into wars. Instigated by the weekend's extraordinary events in the Arab League, Texas State's second resolution created a Libyan Emergency Task Center to direct the flow of international humanitarian aid to people on the ground. This second resolution further modified the UN request to freeze Libyan assets, in order to account for the Arab League's own assets. In addition, students Alana Torrez, Alexandra Hamilton, Andrew Nelson, Caylie Hoffmans, Hakim Husein, Jenny Hart, Nora Cavazos, and Samuel Hillhouse enjoyed seeing their own resolutions and amendments at the Summit Conference--where Texas State was represented by Head Delegate Daniel Burrow.

With only twelve days to brief on Yemen for this Model Arab League event, students researched this country's political priorities; nevertheless, by the time of the event, they were in a position to sharpen their skills in diplomacy and public speech. Dr. Elizabeth Bishop, a member of the Department of History, mentors Texas State University's program.

The MAL program would like to acknowledge the assistance of the College of Education, the College of Liberal Arts, University College, the International Studies program, the Anthropology Department, the History Department, and the Political Science Department. The MAL program is grateful to the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania to the United Nations and the Embassy of Qatar in Washington DC for their financial support.

For more information, contact Dr. Bishop at 512.245.3747 or eb26@txstate.edu.

Prof. Elizabeth Bishop Wins University Excellence Award

Congratulations to assistant professor Elizabeth Bishop, who has been honored with Texas State University’s Student Foundation's "Foundations of Excellence" award. As Caleb Hudgens (past "Foundations of Excellence" committee chair) explained, “the Foundations of Excellence is when the Student Foundation gets to recognize faculty and staff who are truly foundations of the university.” Since 2005, this award has been given to faculty members and administrators who show exceptional commitment to the quality of students' experience at Texas State.

At Texas State, Student Foundation is devoted to the development and sustainability of student leaders from across campus. In pursuit of that goal, the group serves as liaison between students, administration and alumni within the university, as well as promotes Texas State's positive image off-campus.

The "Foundations of Excellence" ceremony is an annual gathering of current and prospective Student Foundation members and their honorees, who are presented with a plaque commemorating their hard work and dedication to the student body.

Dr. Bishop was specifically honored for "creativity and novel teaching methods" in the classroom, advising the award-winning Model Arab League student group, and general "friendliness and approachability." A scholar of modern Arab history, she is currently at work on a monograph about politics in Iraq.

For more information on the "Foundations of Excellence" program, contact Sarah Hadley (Executive Vice President, Student Foundation) at sarah.hadley@txstate.edu.

Texas State Delegation Again Takes Top Honors at Houston Model Arab League

TwelvModel Arab Leage Teame Texas State students and a History Department faculty member returned from a Model Arab League (MAL) event this past weekend with distinctions. At a competition organized by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, delegates debated in five councils: Economic Affairs, Joint Defense, Political Affairs, Social Affairs, and Palestinian Affairs. The Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce and the University of Houston Honors' Program sponsored the Bilateral University Model Arab League, in which fifteen different educational institutions from across the state of Texas took part.

Texas State was recognized as "outstanding overall delegation" for its representation of Saudi Arabia; in addition to this collective honor, the following individuals received additional recognition. Daniel Burrow was awarded "Outstanding Chair," and "honorable mention" recognition was extended to Nickolas Spencer and Andrew Nelson, who represented Saudi Arabia on the Joint Defense council. Alfredo González-Benítez and Samual Hillhouse were recognized as "outstanding" for representing Saudi interests in the Political Affairs council; Maria Cortez and Alana Torrez were "outstanding" for their work in Social Affairs; Alexandra Hamilton and Jenny Hart were "outstanding" in Economic Affairs. Finally, MAL emeritus Andrew Cotton's cameo performance as chair of Social Affairs was recognized with an "honorable mention."

Participating in MAL, students learn about the Arab world's political priorities, as well as sharpening their skills in diplomacy and public speech. Dr. Elizabeth Bishop, a member of the Department of History, mentors Texas State University's program. The MAL program is grateful for assistance from the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Education, University College, the International Studies program, the Anthropology Department and the History Department.

For more information, contact Dr. Bishop at 512.245.3747 or eb26@txstate.edu.

Immigrant America: A Public Symposium

This Three day program is about the past, present and future of immigration in Texas and the southwest. It is free and open to the public. It will include a reception and film screening on Thursday evening of the new documentary on the Bracero Program, “Harvest of Loneliness,” an afternoon of lectures and discussions on Friday, and a reception and the opening of the Smithsonian Institutions travelling exhibit “Bittersweet Harvest” on Friday night. We hope to see you there.

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Former Graduate Student Now National Archives Researcher

Sandy George, who completed her MA in History in 2006, recently moved to Washington, DC, where she obtained a position with the National Archives and Records Administration. What follows is a brief account of the work she does.

The National Archives recently started a digitization partnership with Ancestry.com. This is the first time in the history of the Archives that accessioned records have been permitted off-site for digitization. In order to have NARA records at an off-site location, Ancestry has to ensure that the facility meets all requirements for NARA holdings (I and my 6 colleagues are part of those requirements.) We are responsible for supervising the records in transit from Archives I and Archives II to the Ancestry office. We prepare the records for digitization, identify conservation issues, monitor Ancestry’s camera and microfilm operators while the records are imaged, perform archival quality assurance checks on Ancestry’s work, and track the imaging process and location of the records in spreadsheets. Additionally, I conduct research on a number of record groups and create detailed descriptions to be used to describe the collections once Ancestry releases them to the public on-line.

I also assist researchers in locating documents of interest, answer researcher questions, and actually conduct research for professors, researchers, writers, etc. who are abroad or for some reason unable to visit the Archives themselves (this is my favorite part!). So far, I have gotten to research the Enigma Code through declassified war diary entries for a professor in London; I researched a pirate attack on a US merchant ship in 1806 off the coast of present day Yemen; and I conducted research on a woman's mother who died mysteriously in Iran in the 1950s.

... Thanks again for the congratulations. D.C. is a WHOLE DIFFERENT WORLD. Please give hi-5s to all of the wonderful professors.... I wouldn't be here without all of their help and brilliance!