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Around the Courtyard

“Around the Courtyard” provides news of history faculty and students. In addition to publications and presentations, it also includes information about the community that makes up the history department.

Spring/Summer 2017

Dr. Ron Jager passed away Wednesday, July 26.  Ron was a full time faculty member in the History Department from 1967 to 1993.  Even after his retirement, he continued for several years to teach part time for the department.

Ron was a “renaissance man” in many ways. In addition to his PhD in History, he held a J.D. and worked as a geologist.  Always active in the Arts, he and his wife, Marie, spearheaded the restoration of the Old First Christian Church, turning it into the Price Center which, according to their website, currently serves as a “gathering place for stimulating cultural, social and intellectual opportunities.”

A Wake was held at the Price Senior Center, from 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, August 4th. Ron’s Life was celebrated at The Chapel at the San Marcos City Cemetery, 10 a.m., Saturday, August 5th, where he was laid to rest.

Congratulations to Dr. John Mckiernan-Gonzalez who has been named the Jerome H. and Catherine E. Supple Professor of Southwestern Studies beginning September 1, 2017. He succeeds Dr. Jesús F. “Frank” de la Teja, who is retiring as director of Texas State’s Center for the Study of the Southwest.

Congratulations to Jeremy Roethler!  His Conference Report: “Catholic Antisemitism and German National Socialism”  appears in the June 2017 issue of Contemporary Church History Quarterly available at

Bishop AIMS EventDr. Elizabeth Bishop recently co-chaired the Annual conference of the American Institute of Maghrib Studies (AIMS) in Djerba, Tunisia. Co chairs were Brock Cutler (Redford University) and Jacob Mundy (Colgate University). The annual AIMS conference is a signature event that brings together delegations of scholars-- in this particular case, architects as well-- from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and the US, as well as individual scholars from Egypt and Germany. We addressed "Making Space in the Maghrib" as our thematic.

Congratulations to Jason Mellard on the publication of "'These Are My People': The Politics of Country Music" in the The Oxford Handbook of Country Music edited by Travis Stimeling.

Congratulations to N’Deye Ndiaye who has been awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of States' Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to study or intern abroad during the Summer 2017 academic term. She has also been recently elected as president of the Model Arab League!  You can read more about N'Deye in the University Star.

Congratulations to Ron Johnson!  He has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Alumni Association’s Teaching Award of Honor!  He will receive the award at Convocation in August.

Congratulations to John Mckiernan-Gonzalez! He is one of five founders of a public conference and a virtual forum where journalists and academics bring their expertise to bear on matters of interest to/for/about Latinos.  ‘Cronicas: where academics and journalists meet.’: has now made its debut. 

The site includes several articles published by other as well.  A selection can be found here.

Congratulations to Nancy Berlage who learned that her book, Farmers Helping Farmers, was a Finalist for the Jon Gjerde Prize for the Best Book in Midwestern History given by the Midwestern History Association!

Congratulations to Peter Dedek!  LSU press just published his book, The Cemeteries of New Orleans: A Cultural History.  

Congratulations to Frank de la Teja whose article, “San Antonio Military Roots Go Back to the Presidio,”  appeared in the May 28th San Antonio Express-News.

Congratulations to Dan Utley, who not only has a new article, but also wins for the “catchiest article title of the year”!
“Flying an Outhouse to the Cajuns: Woodville’s Clyde E. Gray as Artist and Promoter,” The Texas Gulf Historical and Biographical Record (The Journal of the Texas Gulf Historical Society, Lamar University), Vol. 52.

Congratulations to Dr. McWilliams whose article on Walt Whitman appears in the current issue of The Paris Review.  You may read the article at

Congratulations to Dr. Ronald Johnson who was awarded the Outstanding Faculty Award, which is sponsored by the Black Student Alliance and voted on by members of student body. The award was presented to him by Jerrilyn Roberson, Texas State University '18, Black Student Alliance (BSA) President.

Congratulations to Jessica Pliley.  Her chapter, “Protecting the Young and the Innocent:  Age and Consent in the Enforcement of the White Slave Traffic Act,” has been published in Child Slavery before and after Emancipation, edited by Anna Mae Duane (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

Our student worker, Joceline, is not only graduating, but she also has a new job.  She is set to begin her training later this month with the Department of US Customs and Border Protection!

Congratulations to  Nichole Saunders (MA ’96)!  Vikki Bynum recently caught up with Nichole at Lynchburg College, where Nikki is now a full professor! Nikki wrote her thesis under Gregg's direction and went on to earn her PhD from UC Irvine. She was just named Lynchburg College's John Franklin East Distinguished Professor of the Humanities. 

Mary Brennan Administrative AwardThe Center for International Studies presented Dr. Mary Brennan with the International Studies Administrator of the Year Award for the 2016-2017 academic year. Dr. Brennan has provided continued support for the Center and its students. She most recently was on the planning committee for the Obama Legacy Conference. The interdisciplinary conference hosted scholars from around the world to discuss the impact of the past administration with regards to both foreign and domestic policy. In addition to serving on the committee, Dr. Brennan participated in a panel discussing the impact of Michelle Obama and her role as First Lady.

Congratulations to Dr. Brennan and thank you for your continued support.

Congratulations to Sandra Smith Davidson (MA 1999) who will earn her PhD from the University of Houston this May!

Congratulations to Joaquin Rivaya-Martinez who has been notified that he has been awarded the Medalla de Acero al Mérito Histórico "Capitán Alonso de León" by the Sociedad Nuevo Leonesa de Historia, Geografía y Estadística.

Here are words I never thought I would write about our department:  we are a department of athletes!  I know that you all are academic rock stars, but now, I discover that many of you are out running marathons!  Alan Atchison and Jimmy had been our department runners for years.  The rest of us could accept a couple of healthy types, but now we are being overrun (pardon the pun!) with athletes.  Last week, Sara ran in the Boston Marathon and on Sunday, Carrie placed 5th among all the women in the Capitol 10K and first in her age category. John and Jeff are runners/bikers and Adam has the graduate students playing softball.  Dennis and Paul play basketball.

Congratulations to Nancy Berlage!  The Iowa State Historical Society named her book, Farmers Helping Farmers, one of the five best Iowa history books published in 2016.  As such, her work was named a Benjamin F. Shambaugh Award Finalist.

Congratulations to our newest tenured Associate Professor, Dr. Ellen Tillman, and our newest Full Professors, Drs. Paul Hart and Lynn Denton!!!

Congratulations to the Texas State Model Arab League Team!  Competing with students from over 20 universities around the globe at the National University Model Arab League held in Washington, D.C., Texas State students Daisy Jaimez, N'Deye Ndiaye, Coffey McCurdy, and Brittlin Richardson distinguished themselves by winning awards. In addition, Texas State’s Coffey McCurdy will also be an executive member of the NCUSAR Secretariat for the 2018 season.

Liberal Arts Award 2017Congratulations to Lindsey Wallenberg and Heather Marie Haley! Lindsey was named the Outstanding Graduate Student in Liberal Arts, and Heather won the Outstanding Master's Thesis Award in the Humanities and Fine Arts.


Congratulations to Elizabeth Bishop whose letter to the editor was printed in the Statesman on March 26th!

Congratulations to Josh Paddison whose essay, “Studying Gods and Monsters,” was recently published in a new anthology, Monsters in the Classroom: Essays on Teaching What Scares Us, edited by Adam Golub and Heather Richardson Hayton (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2017).

George Gentry, who taught in the department for 19 years during the 1980s and ‘90s, passed away last September.  George was a gentleman who loved history and his students.  After retiring from the military, he returned to then Southwest Texas State University to complete a graduate degree.  He was a kind man and a good teacher.  Margaret Vaverek found this obituary in the Houston Chronicle.

Congratulations to Lindsey Waldenberg, Outstanding Graduate Student in Liberal Arts!

Congratulations to Dr. Nancy Berlage! New York History, the journal of the New York State Historical Association and the State University of New York – Oneonta, published her article, "Plotting a Better Future for Agriculture, Women, and the Empire State: Historical Pageantry in the 1920s."

Congratulations to Dr. Dennis Dunn, the LA nominee for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarly/Creative Activity!
Thank you to all of our nominees:  Ellen, Rebecca, Bryan M., Jessica, Nancy, and Jason.  We think you are all winners.

Everette Swinney passed away on March 1, 2017.  He joined the faculty in 1957 and retired in 2004.  He was a wonderful teacher; an innovator; a strong advocate for faculty; a dedicated historian who chaired the department for at least 10 years; and always a voice of calm reason. Visitation is at Pennington’s on Sunday, March 5th from 4 to 6.  Funeral service is also at Pennington’s on Monday, March 6th at 2 pm.  You can read his obituary here

Congratulations to Dr. Paul Chevedden whose chapter, “Pope Urban II and the Ideology of the Crusades,” appears in  Adrian Boas, ed,  The Crusader World (London: Routledge, 2016) which was just named one of the CHOICE list of Outstanding Academic Titles for 2016. 

Congratulations to Frank de la Teja!  His book, Faces of Bexar: Early San Antonio and Texas, won the  Summerfield G. Roberts award from the Sons of the Republic of Texas!

MAL AwardCongratulations to Dr. Elizabeth Bishop and the members of the Model Arab League!  They won honors as the Outstanding Delegation at the Bilateral Chamber Model Arab League in Houston this weekend!


Bishop Paws Preview AwardCongratulations to Dr. Elizabeth Bishop who has been nominated and chosen to have a Paws Preview “Den” named for her!


Congratulations to Elizabeth Bishop who has been awarded  one of Notre Dame's Global Religion Research Initiative (GRRI) competitive grants to develop a course on the Shi'a Muslim community of Najaf, Iraq-- in particular, how they understood nuclear non-proliferation during the Cold War.

Congratulations to Jimmy McWilliams whose latest essay appears in The Paris Review and is accessible at

Congratulations to Dan Utley who published a chapter titled "With the Yalies in the Deep Woods" in Eavesdropping on Texas History (UNT Press), edited by Mary L. Scheer, a Texas State (SWT) graduate.  The book also includes a chapter entitled 'The Loneliest Job in the World': The Day Lyndon Johnson Became President" by Michael Collins and chapters by SWT alumns Light Cummins and Patrick Cox. 

Congratulations to Ken Margerison on publication of his article, “Rogue Diplomacy:  Sartine, Saint-Lubin and the French Attempt to Recover ‘Lost India,’” French History, 30 (December 2016):  477-504.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Bishop who has succeeded in winning Texas State its second full-year resident Fulbright Scholar!  Dr. Gökser Gökçay, who trained within the Ataturk Institute for Modern Turkish History at Dokuz Eylül University, will be joining the department for the 2017-2018 academic year.   A historian of US economic assistance during the Cold War, Dr. Gökçay will be team-teaching a course with Elizabeth and will be available throughout the year for guest lectures.

Congratulations to Jeff Helgeson and Jessica Pliley who were awarded Supplemental Grants to extend their Faculty Development Leaves for the entire 2017-2018 academic year!

Congratulations to Dennis Dunn on the publication of his latest book, The Catholic Church and Soviet Russia, 1917-1939 (Routledge Press, 2017).

Jimmy McWilliam's Virginia Quarterly Review article was reprinted in Italian in an Italian literary journal called Internazionale. It's worth looking at for the images alone.  I strongly recommend looking through it.

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Model Arab League in DC

Texas State’s Model Arab League attended the National University Model Arab League from March 31- April 2. This was hosted by the National Council on U.S.- Arab Relations (NCUSAR) in Washington D.C. with over 20 other universities in attendance from around the globe.

Students from Texas State participated in councils that were directed at specific topics including: Joint Defense, Palestinian Affairs, Social Affairs, Political Affairs, Environmental Affairs, Economic Affairs, Heads of State, Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, and a Joint Cabinet Crisis simulator. These councils were all directed towards the ongoing development in the Arab world with an emphasis on Texas State’s ability to learn and build skills related to their respective topics.

During the National University Model Arab League, awards were presented to Texas State students among a handful of students from other universities. These recipients include Daisy Jaimez, N'Deye Ndiaye, Coffey McCurdy, and Brittlin Richardson. In addition, Texas State’s Coffey McCurdy will also be an executive member of the NCUSAR Secretariat for the 2018 season.


Each student had a unique experience within their council and attacked the council’s task with their own creative solutions. Catherine Wicker of the Environmental Affairs Council stated “I represented the delegation of Qatar with Madeline Machlab in the environmental council. In session with worked with other countries to make resolutions fixing the problems of lack of water and environmental problems such as oil spills and overfishing.” Kele Isibor of the Economic Affairs Council stated that “I was on the economic affairs council along side Devin Barrett. My experience in session strengthen my public speaking skills and awarded me an in depth knowledge on the Arab region. Especially the connections between Qatar and other Arab states. As a council we were able to acknowledge ties between economic and social issues and respond appropriately. Most of all I was happy with the diplomatic interactions between my fellow delegates and I throughout NUMAL.”

The Model Arab League acknowledges support from the Assistant Vice President for International Affairs; from Texas State University Crowdfunding; and from the Dean of Students' Office, Student Government "Rising STAR" travel grants; as well as from the the College of Liberal Arts; from the Departments of Anthropology, Geography, History, Modern Languages, and Political Science. In addition, two personal donations from friends of the University and friends of the Model Arab League made travel to NUMAL possible.

Texas State's 'Outstanding' Model Arab League Team Returns from Houston with Awards

Seventeen Texas State students and a faculty member returned from the Bilateral Chamber Regional Model Arab League event at the University of Houston-Clear Lake with awards. The Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce and the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations organize these events at which students debate in five councils: Economic Affairs, Joint Defense, Palestinian Affairs, Political Affairs, and Social Affairs.  Six universities (among them Houston Community College – Honors, Texas A&M University – College Station, University of Houston Downtown and Clear Lake campuses, as well as the Honors College) were represented at the competition, which took place 18-19 February 2017.

At such competitions, students sharpened their skills in diplomacy and public speech, and ten Bobcats-- as well as the entire Texas State team-- brought home honors.  At this year's competition, students took the added challenge of representing Qatar's government. The entire Bobcat delegation was recognized as "Outstanding Team." In addition, Sarah Marshall was recognized as "Outstanding Chair;" of her experience, Ms Marshall said: "as chair of the council on Palestinian Affairs, I brought leadership and experience." Head Delegate Daisy Jaimez received the competition's "Distinguished Chair" award as well. 

For their contributions to the Joint Defense council, Coffey McCurdy and Keeley Dorman were awarded Outstanding Delegation  Regarding her representation of Qatar, Ms McCurdy observes: "Participating at Model Arab League allowed me to enhance my public speaking skills through giving short thirty seconds to two minute speeches throughout the day. I also improved my writing skills by contributing a substantial amount of draft language. Overall I gained impeccable teamwork skills because I worked closely with my partner along with every person in the room to come up with creative and realistic solutions to some of the world's most challenging problems." Bobcats Mohammad Al-Rousan and Kierah Shirk won Outstanding Delegation for their representation of Qatar on Political Affairs as well.

On the Economic Affairs council, N'Deye Ndiaye and Kele Isibor were recognized as a Distinguished Delegation  Regarding their contributions to the debate, Ms Isibor notes: "in council we proposed an incorporation of an ethical perspective when examining the given topics and advocated that we not solely view from a financial/monetary standpoint, but the also consider the overall implications of any given action." Geoffrey Sloan and Aaron Gaul were recognized as a Distinguished Delegation for their representation of Qatar on the Palestinian Affairs council as well. Finally, Eman Saleh and Christine Gian won Distinguished Delegation for their contribution to Social Affairs.

As Head Delegate, Ms Jaimez said, "At my third Bilateral, I had the privilege of chairing the Economic Affairs. Serving as Chair was a huge responsibility... not only did I assist my delegation preparing for their own councils, I also ensured my parliamentary procedure skills were to the expected level. With this ability, I lead a successful and productive council, earned recognition as Distinguished Chair, and assisted Texas State in receiving the Outstanding Delegation award at the Bilateral Conference."

The MAL program acknowledges support from the Student Service Fee committee, the Rising STAR program, the College of Liberal Arts, and the History Department.  History's Dr. Elizabeth Bishop mentors Texas State University's program. For further information, you can email her at

Fall 2016

Congratulations to Jose Carlos on the following publications:

Congratulations to Josh Paddison whose essay, "New Directions in the History of Religion and Race," appears in the current issue of American Quarterly 68 no. 4 (Dec. 2016): 1007-1017; here's the link:

Congratulations to Joaquin who had two book chapters published this week.

  • “Tras la huella de los bárbaros: Itinerarios comanches a través de México, 1821-1875.” Chapter in the book Los caminos transversales, edited by Chantal Cramaussel and Guadalupe Rodríguez, 189-216. Zamora, Michoacán: El Colegio de Michoacán, Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango.
  • “De ‘salvajes’ a ‘imperialistas’. Una revisión crítica de la historiografía sobre los comanches durante el período anterior a la reserva (1700-1875).”  In Visiones del pasado. Reflexiones para escribir la historia de los pueblos indígenas de América, edited by Ana Luisa Izquierdo, 153-192. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Congratulations to Ana Romo, recipient of an NEH Award for Faculty for 2017! 

Congratulations to Dennis Dunn who has had an extraordinary week.  He was named Regents’ Professor by the Texas State Board of Regents and published his sixth book, The Catholic Church and Soviet Russia, 1917-39 (Routledge Religion, Society and Government in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet States)!

Congratulations to Sara, Jose Carlos, Jeff, Ken, Jessica, and Joseph on winning REP awards!  Of the 13 grants awarded in Liberal Arts, History earned 6.

Congratulations to Frank de la Teja who was one of several historians interviewed by KUT concerning the State Board of Education’s rejection of the Dunbar textbook on Mexican Americans.  You can find the interview at the following link:

Congratulations to Frank de la Teja!  His book, Faces of Bexar; Early San Antonio & Texas won the Presidio La Bahia Award given by the Sons of the Republic of Texas.

Congratulations to Adam Clark, who successfully defended his thesis on November 3rd.

Congratulations to Heather Haley, MA’16, (and her advisor, Ellen Tillman), for winning The Graduate College’s Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award in the Humanities and Fine Arts!

Congratulations to Lynn Denton whose article, “’They are Hauling Off bits of Texas’:  James E. Pearce and the Effort to Establish a State Museum,” appears in the October 2016 edition of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly.

Congratulations to Angie Murphy whose chapter, “Wendell Phillips and the American Indian,” appears in Wendell Phillips, Social Justice, and the Power of the Past, eds. A J Aiséirithe and Donald Yacovone, Louisiana State University Press, 2016.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Makowski, whose chapter “The Curious Case of Mary Felton,” will appear in Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, published by the Vatican.

Congratulations to Frank de la Teja who participated in a BBC World Service program entitled “Hispanic in Texas.”  His contribution begins about minute 6 of the 18-minute piece.  Here is the link to the program:

Congratulations to Jason Mellard, whose the chapter "'Gettin' Tough': Steve Earle's America" appears in Craig Clifford and Craig Hillis, eds. Pickers & Poets: The Ruthlessly Poetic Singer-Songwriters of Texas (Texas A & M Press)!

Jimmy’s latest essay can be found at

Congratulations to Dennis Dunn. His latest book, A History of Orthodox, Islamic, and Western Christian Political Values, is now available from Palgrave Macmillan.  There is a copy on the table the office.  Dennis’ work will be included in the first spring book reading.

Congratulations to Angie Murphy, whose article, Slavery & Abolition: "'This Foul Slavery-Reviving System': Irish Opposition to the Jamaica Emigration Scheme,” appears in Slavery & Abolition, 37:3, 578-579.  You can also find the article at the link below:

Congratulations to Elizabeth Bishop and Ellen Tillman who have been chosen to guest edit an issue of the Graduate Journal of Social Sciences.  The theme for the issue is “New Military Histories of the 20th Century."  The CFP has gone live and the new submission deadline is February 20, 2017.  Please bring this to the attention of your graduate students.

Congratulations as well to Jeff Helgeson who has been named the subject matter expert on the winning bid for the National Park Service's museum development team at the Pullman National Monument.

Congratulations to Jimmy McWilliams whose article, "The Examined Lie," from Summer 2015 American Scholar was just named a Notable Essay of 2015 in The Best American Essays 2016 (edited by Jonathan Franzen).

Congratulations to Dan Utley.  Texas A&M University Press published his edited collection of oral histories entitled Archie P. McDonald: A Life in Texas History.

Congratulations to Jessica Pliley. Cambridge University Press published her co-edited volume (along with Robert Kramm-Masaoka and Harald Fischer-Tiné), Global Anti-Vice Activism, 1890-1950: Fighting Drinks, Drugs, and “Immorality.”  In addition to editing, Jessica also wrote the introduction and one of the chapters.    

Congratulations to Frank de la Teja on the publication of Texan Identities:  Moving beyond Myth, Memory, and fallacy in Texas History.  This book, published by the University of North Texas Press, is a compilation of essays written by former Texas State graduates and presented at a symposium organized by Frank.

Congratulations to Jeff Helgeson whose article, “American Labor and Working-Class History, 1900-1945,” has been published in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History. As editor Jon Butler notes: The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History is a peer-reviewed resource that “combines the speed & flexibility of digital with the rigorous standards of academic publishing.” the article is available online at:
Helgeson, Jeffrey. "American Labor and Working-Class History, 1900–1945." American History: Oxford Research Encyclopedias. 1 Sep. 2016.

Congratulations to Margaret Menninger, whose edited volume, The Total Work of Art:  foundations, articulations, inspirations, was published this summer by Berghahn.  In addition to editing the volume, Margaret also wrote the Introduction and co-authored one of the chapters, “The Will to Heal: Gesanamtkunstwerk and Memorial Music since 1945.”

Congratulations to Dwight Watson, whose monograph, Race and the Houston Police Department, appears on The August 2016 New & Noteworthy list from the Legislative Reference Library.

Congratulations to Tom Alter [MA ‘08] who successfully defended his dissertation [University of Illinois at Chicago] in July--"Dirt Farmer Internationalists, The Meitzen Family: Three Generations of Farmer-Labor Radicals, 1848-1932."

Congratulations Elizabeth Bishop on the publication of her chapter, “Wearing Balmain, Dior, and Schiaparelli:  Foreign Escorts in Hashemite Iraq,” in Prostitution: A Companion of Mankind, ed. Frank Jacob, NY: Peter Lang, 2016.

John Mckiernan-Gonzales participated in an extended podcast that New Books in Latino Studies completed with Kellly Lyttle-Hernandez.  Dr. Lyttle-Hernandez discussed how her experience growing up black and politically conscious on the San Diego border shaped her sense that the border matters to everybody. She also discusses the joy of the hunt, the troublesome effort to find archives – and ultimately make archives – to begin a history of the border patrol, and to look at the ways actual people (with families) tried to govern and control movement between Mexico and the United States. 
- Link to podcast
- Link to the series, New Books in Latino Studies

Congratulations to Dr. McWilliams who had two articles, Black Oxygen: Suttree Reconsidered and Citizen Canine, Comrade Cow: Toward a New Kind of Animal Rights, published over the summer.

Congratulations to the Model Arab League who was named "Academic Organization of the Year" for 2016 by the Student Organizations Council!

Congratulations to the History Department's newest tenured faculty members!

New Tenured Faculty
Left to right: University President Denise Trauth, Dr. Ronald A. Johnson,
Dr. Jessica Pliley, Dr. Jeffrey Helgeson, Dr. José Carlos de la Puente,
Dr. Angela Murphy, Dr. John Mckiernan-González, University Provost Gene Bourgeois