Students participating in the Texas State Faculty-Led Study Abroad in India this summer (July 10-28) will visit three strikingly different locations. Students first arrive in New Delhi, the modern capital of India. The day after arriving, the group will travel by train to the bottom of the Himalayas and then take taxis up a winding road to a small, peaceful town in the foothills of the Himalayas that offers hiking, and beautiful views, monkeys, and time to get acquainted with local people. After spending a week in the mountains, we will travel to the center of India to the ancient city of Varanasi, located on the banks of the Ganges rivers, where millions of religious pilgrims come each year to bath in the sacred waters of the river and to pray. While in Varanasi, we will also visit a major Buddhist pilgrimage site where the Buddha gave his first teaching. The trip to India also includes a day at the beautiful Taj Mahal and a visit to the home where Mahatma Gandhi spent his last days.
Krista Pollett is an undergraduate studying history at Texas State University. Studying history is necessary to her understanding of different domestic/foreign cultures and political and social views; perspectives that are increasingly important to consider in the increasingly globalizing modern world. She hopes to incorporate and utilize this knowledge in a position in curation or advising. Krista also participated in the 2015 study abroad program in Chester, England. Traveling is one of the easiest ways to begin to understand a society’s culture, and being abroad in England was a great way to be fully immersed in diverse history 24/7. Her experience not only validated her decision to study History at the undergraduate level but also further set her on the path towards a graduate degree. Krista’s experience with the study abroad program provided focus for continuing her education at Texas State pursuing a master’s degree in Public History.
Liddle Graduate Teaching Fellow Heather Haley serves as President of Sigma Zeta Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta. Her historical research focuses on military history, specifically the American military presence in Vietnam and Korea. Her research and analysis of Agent Orange dispersal during the Vietnam War, with forthcoming publication in the Texas Oral History Association’s Sound Historian, serves as a chapter of her thesis and was awarded Top Master’s Paper at Texas State’s Seventh International Research Conference. In the summer of 2015, she interned at Fort Ticonderoga as the inaugural Edward E. Pell Fellow in Education, helping educators incorporate the fort’s history into their curriculum. In addition, she catalogued, processed and transcribed the Philip Skene Papers housed within the fort’s archive. Currently, Heather is completing work toward her Master’s degree in History, with a concentration in public history, and has applied to doctoral programs for admittance in the Fall of 2016.
Thirteen Texas State students competed at the Bilateral Chamber Model Arab League competition held in Houston TX. Two pairs of delegates brought home honors from this year's competition, and the entire team was recognized with the "Outstanding Delegation" award.
Carlos Ituarte and Daisy Jaimez received their own "Outstanding" for representing the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on the Economic Affairs council and first-time delegates Lauren Schmidt and Geoff Sloan were recognized as "Honorable Mention Delegates." As the award indicates, Lauren and Geoff proposed a vital amount of draft language for the resulting resolutions.
More information on the Bilateral Chamber Model Arab League competition can be found in our news section.
Chris Simons serves as Liddle Graduate Teaching Fellow and Vice-President of Sigma Zeta Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta. His historical research focuses on early American history, Native American history and borderland studies. His Master’s Thesis, “A Longhouse Divided: Oneida Agency, Iroquois Disunity, and the Oneida-American Alliance,” examines the cultural, political, and religious considerations that led the Oneida Indians to break with their Iroquois brethren and side with the Americans during the American Revolution. Currently, Chris is completing work toward his Master’s degree in History and has been accepted to doctoral programs at Rutgers University, University of Oklahoma, and the University of Houston.
Michael Naumann received his bachelor’s degree at Texas State in December 2012 and his Master’s degree (with a special emphasis in public history) in December 2015. His concentration within public history was conservation and how the National Park Service (NPS) understood their duty. His interest in the NPS, Conservation, and Early American history led him to an internship at Colonial National Historical Park in Summer 2015, and to present a paper entitled "Community, Conflict, Culture: An In-depth Examination of the Decisions that Impact the National Park Service" for the 7th Annual Texas A&M History Conference, using Yosemite National Park as a case study. This paper examined the conflicting nature of the National Park Service Organic Act of 1916 as it applied to Yosemite.
Last month he was offered a paid seasonal position as a Park Guide at Colonial National Historical Park, and begins his new job April 18.
I was raised in Austin and decided to go to Texas State because of its closeness to my hometown and therefore my family. I was initially undecided and went in as a math major, but after a while I realized that I was unhappy with that. I explored lots of other options but history really spoke to me because I have always enjoyed it. It's particularly the storytelling aspect of history that I enjoy, because there are so many stories to be told, so many viewpoints, and so many ways to tell them. It is an endless pool of stories and storytelling has always been a passion of mine, whether I'm writing the story, reading it, interpreting it, etc. When I found out there were scholarships specifically for history majors, I jumped at the opportunity, because it is no secret that college is not a cheap endeavor. I was shocked and elated to learn that I was given the Alton G. Brieger scholarship, and I am very honored to have been chosen. It is not something I take for granted and any chance to further my goals and my education is one I will gladly take.
Jonathan Manion graduated summa cum laude in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in history and English. His honors thesis used memoirs to examine the civil rights philosophies of five civil rights activists in the 1950s and 1960s. Having been accepted into Texas State University’s graduate program for history, he will begin graduate studies in the fall of 2016. Before continuing his studies, Jonathan will serve for three months in the summer of 2016 as a volunteer at Mission Arlington in Arlington, Texas. While in graduate school, Jonathan’s historical research will potentially seek to determine the impact of Christian thought on the Civil Rights Movement in Central Texas.
Texas State's Model Arab League (MAL) team is outstanding in regional and national competitions. Under the leadership of MAL presidents Meghan Blizinski and Daisy Jaimez during 2016, students debate in five councils: Palestinian Affairs, Social Affairs, Political Affairs, Economic Affairs, and Joint Defense, and--each year--our team represents the policies of a different jurisdiction. The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations organize this series of events. At these, students sharpened their skills in diplomacy and public speech; over the past seven years, Texas State has received 6 team awards, and Bobcats have received 55 individual awards. The 2016 Nationals represent the culmination of the team's year-long preparations; during 2016, Bobcats represented the Republic of Djibouti as we interacted with students from across the US (California to Massachusetts), as well as other nations (from Cairo and Quebec).
Phi Alpha Theta is a national honor society and professional organization for undergraduate and graduate students as well as professors of history. The mission of Phi Alpha Theta is to “promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication, and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians.” At Texas State, Phi Alpha Theta’s Sigma Zeta Chapter serves as both a professional and social student organization. We organize multiple brown bags (professional work shops) each semester as well as provide students and professors the opportunity to present their latest work and research. In addition to the professional tools that Phi Alpha Theta provides, the organization also coordinates social events to bring members of the history department together in a friendly as well as academic environment. Every year Phi Alpha Theta organizes a history conference in which undergraduate and graduate students present their research as well as receive the opportunity to gain comments and insights from professors in their field of study. In the spring, Phi Alpha Theta holds a departmental banquet in which the past year’s accomplishments are highlighted as well as new inductees participating in their induction ceremony.
After a brief hiatus, the History Club has returned to Texas State! Our goal is to both educate and excite our members through learning about history. In their brief year back, the History Club has grown to over fifteen members. They are excited to finish the semester strong and start working on new ideas for meetings and events in the future. Come to their meetings every other Thursday at 5:30 pm in TMH 105 to meet the members and speak with someone about joining! You can also get History Club information from their website.
The Texas State University Oral History Project is a joint archival project of the Alkek Library, the University Archives, the Center for Texas Public History (CTPH), and university administration. Through funding generously provided by the library, the project objective is to build a broad-based collection of oral histories to complement and enhance the holdings of the archives. Over the past four years, CTPH staff members (students and faculty) have conducted multiple interviews with a wide range of participants, including past presidents of the university, as well as former students, staff and faculty members, and others who have unique perspectives on the recent history of the institution. CTPH students conduct background research for the interviews and then produce verbatim transcripts for housing in the University Archives and immediate use by researchers. The students also assist with transcripts from earlier oral histories of the 1970s and 1980s, in effect extending the range of the memoirs from the middle of the twentieth century to the present. As a result, the Texas State University Oral History Project is one of the most extensive collections of its type in the state and serves as a model for the systematic preservation of institutional histories via personal memories.
CTPH personnel for 2016 are Dan K. Utley, chief historian, Kent Hemphill, student director, and public historians Savanha Esquivel and Max Hall. Providing immediate institutional support for the project are Ms. Joan Heath, Associate Vice President and University Librarian; Kris Toma, University Archivist; Dr. Mary Brennan, chair of the Department of History; and Dr. Lynn Denton, CTPH director. Dr. Ronald C. Brown, Assistant Vice President for Academic Services, serves as technical advisor.
During the spring 2016 course Greater Southwest History, graduate students Savanha Esquivel, Simon McCurley, and Kristine Robb, under the direction of Dr. John Mckiernan-Gonzalez and Dr. Lynn Denton, conducted a study to inform decision making regarding the establishment of a Hispanic Heritage Research Center at Texas State University.
The project was organized into three parts. During the first part, the team completed an inventory of existing repositories, archives, museums, and centers with research or collecting components relating to overarching term "Hispanic Heritage." With the geographic focus for the inventory defined as the Southwest region, the team completed an extensive search of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Southern Colorado, and parts of Nevada for relevant institutions.
The team began by conducting a digital inventory of archives and collections with an indication of Hispanic content throughout the Southwest. They searched research collections in relevant universities, colleges, cultural centers, research centers, public libraries, museums, diocese, and archdiocese. Google was the primary search method to locate different research collection sites.
All research collections with at least one collection that pertained to Hispanic heritage were included in the final inventory. Institutions with only single items but not a specific collection that pertained to Hispanic heritage were not included. Local history collections and exhibits in cities with more than 25% Hispanic population (based on 2010 census data) were included. This effort meant to identify local history sites holding potentially important Hispanic collections in collections with vague, incomplete, or inconclusive descriptors. The final inventory drew from individual and collective knowledge from each member of the team and the professors to identify institutions not revealed via the initial google searches. Every attempt was made to compile a comprehensive resource inventory.
Throughout the search for relevant repositories, Dr. McKiernan-Gonzales provided academic literature to help the team better understand the changing temporal and geographic use of terminology such as heritage, Latino/a, Hispanic, Mexican American, and Hispanic.
The second part of the project included a gap analysis. The team used institutions in the inventory to identify areas of existing focus and areas of omission. This analysis provided insights into different regional research emphasis and interests, shifting academic topics and trends, and resources utilized in publication endeavors.
The final phase allowed the team to refine the raw data captured in the inventory into a final spreadsheet and complete the report narrative and recommendations. State-by-state maps of repositories were created as additional resources and analytical tools.
The data and analysis in the final report pointed to opportunities in support of the proposal for a Hispanic Heritage Research Center at Texas State.
Students graduating from the History Department are required to take a Senior Seminar course where they get the chance to do original research on topics related to the faculty members field of study. This final undergraduate course tests students ability to synthesize primary and secondary sources and use the information gained to formulate and defend their own arguments. Our February Student Spotlights would like to highlight the accomplishments of the students in Dr. Elizabeth Makowski's and Dr. Ana Romo's seminar courses.
Dr. Makowski's students examined the natural and man-made tragedies which occurred from around 1310 to the start of the Early Modern era, while Dr. Romo had her students focus on all aspects life and cultural of modern Latin America. Each course requires a roughly twenty-page research paper where the students demonstrate the ability to formulate a thesis and use numerous sources to defend their arguments related to their topics of choice. The work students do in these courses prove they have what it takes to earn a history degree from Texas State.
Students graduating from the History Department are required to take a Senior Seminar course where they get the chance to do original research on topics related to the faculty members field of study. This final undergraduate course tests students ability to synthesize primary and secondary sources and use the information gained to formulate and defend their own arguments. Our April Student Spotlights would like to highlight the accomplishments of the students in Dr. Caroline Ritter's.
In Dr. Ritter's seminar, "Politics, Society, and Culture in Britain, 1914-1997," students examine the central questions that propel the study of modern Britain examining the understanding of modernity, national identity, and security during this period. The range of their topics include the role of radicalism in 1920s feminism, the relationship between celebrities and the media, the role of race in British conservatism, professionalism of sport and the policing of football fans, and how the Thatcher government responded to challenges to its imperial rule. All together, the projects reflect the current trends in modern British history; therefore, Texas State students join scholars in the field in explaining the role of Britain in the world today.
This History Department awards several scholarships each year to our outstanding undergraduate and graduate students. These scholarships serve to recognize the hard work and dedication our students have to their academic careers and the larger field of History. Four our May 2017 Student Spotlight we would like to recognize the excellent work of our scholarship winners!
Alton G. Brieger Scholarship | Awarded to an outstanding undergraduate History major
Taylor-Murphy Scholarship | Awarded to an undergraduate student for achievement and potential in the field of History
Elizabeth Carl & Rebekah Pircher
Dennis and Margaret Dunn Scholarship | Awarded to an outstanding student majoring in History or International Studies
FitzPatrick-Clayton-Kissler Scholarship | Awarded to a History Major, preferably one who is seeking teacher certification
Minnie Knispel Scholarship | Awarded to a graduate student in History, preferably one who is seeking or who already has teacher certification
James W. Pohl Scholarship | Awarded to an outstanding graduate student who is working on a thesis
This month the History Department would like to honor Lindsey Waldenberg for our Student Spotlight.
During the spring semester, Lindsey was chosen by the History Department faculty as one of our Outstanding Graduate Students. She was chosen for this honor due to her outstanding performance in her program and for maintaining at least a 3.75 GPA. From here, her name was submitted to the College of Liberal Arts where she was named the Liberal Arts Outstanding Graduate Student for 2017. This is a huge honor for both Lindsey and for the History Department and shows just how amazing our students are.
Lindsey is Public History student working with Dr. Helgeson. She is currently studying segregation in African-American public housing, focusing on Rosewood Courts and Booker T. Washington Terrace, tracing their creations and changing conditions over the past eighty years. She is also looking at the public housing's role and relevance in contemporary Austin.