Dean - College of Liberal Arts
Office: Flowers Hall 313
Ph.D. - Miami University
M.A. - Xavier University
B.A. - Edgecliff College of Xavier University
Recent Research Topics
Modern Conservativism and Pat Nixon
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Mary C. Brennan attended Edgecliff College of Xavier University for her undergraduate degree before moving onto received a Ph.D. from Miami University of Ohio in 1988. Her dissertation on the development of conservatism in modern America was a natural outgrowth of her interest in how politics affects "normal" people. Over the years, she has continued to investigate conservative politics in its various manifestations. Turning Right in the Sixties (UNC Press, 1995) evolved from her dissertation and examined the conservative "capture" of the GOP through the Goldwater campaign. Since then, she has focused on women's roles within conservatism in general and the anticommunist movement in particular. Her book, Wives, Mothers, and the Red Menace, (Colorado 2008) evolved from her curiosity about Joe McCarthy’s wife. Her most recent monograph, Pat Nixon: Embattled First Lady, (2011) appeared as part of the Modern First Ladies Series published by the University Press of Kansas.
In 1990, Brennan joined the History faculty at then Southwest Texas State University. During her tenure in San Marcos, she has served as both undergraduate and graduate advisor as well as College of Liberal Arts representative on the Faculty Senate for seven years. In 2007, she won the Mariel Muir Mentoring Award. In 2011, she became chair of the department of history.
Brennan is married to Alan Apel and has one daughter, Riley.
Pat Nixon: Embattled First Lady, University Press of Kansas, 2011.
Wives, Mothers and the Red Menace: Conservative Women and the Crusade Against Communism, University of Colorado Press, 2008.
“Winning the War / Losing the Battle: The Goldwater presidential Campaign and Its Effects on the Evolution of Modern Conservatism,” in The Conservative Sixties David Farber and Jeff Roche, eds., Peter Lang, 2003.
Turning Right in the Sixties: The Conservative Capture of the GOP, The University of North Carolina Press, 1995.
Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching (2009)
Mariel Muir Mentoring Award (2008)
HIST 1310 HISTORY OF THE US TO 1877
History 1310 is an introduction to American civilization from the age of exploration and colonization through the Civil War and Reconstruction. The course focuses on central themes and issues in the development of American growth, institutional change, cultural development, and political democracy as Americans faced them in the past. Themes treated in the course include: exploration and colonization; early America and the British Empire; the American Revolution; establishing the new nation; the era of Andrew Jackson; technological, industrial, and transportation revolutions; social and cultural life in 19th century America; expansion and sectional crisis; the Civil War and Reconstruction.
HIST 1320 HISTORY OF THE US SINCE 1877
History 1320 is an introduction to American civilization from the end of the Reconstruction period to the recent past. The course seeks to have students gain a perspective on the position of the United States among the nations of the world and on the controversies and agreements among Americans concerning the desired attributes of their own culture and government. The course focuses on central themes and issues in the development of American society and institutions by raising questions about human values, economic growth, institutional change, cultural development, and political democracy as Americans faced them since 1877. Themes treated in the course include: industrialization and its effects on the American society, economy, and political processes; immigration and urbanization; Progressivism; women's suffrage and feminism; World War I; Twenties prosperity, the Great Depression, and the New Deal; foreign policy between the world wars; World War II; post-war affluence, the Cold War and anti-communism; minorities and civil rights; and the Vietnam era.
HON 2391G THE SIXTIES
The lyrics from this Buffalo Springfield song are as apt today as they were in 1967. After thirty years of brooding, analyzing, and arguing, the "sixties" remain as controversial and intriguing as they ever were. People sense that something cataclysmic happened, but no one seems certain what that "something" was. Even when the intensity waned, Americans had a difficult time coming to grips with the decade. For those who lived through it, the events were too personal; for their children, the events became enclosed in myth. Americans born during and after the 60s could not grasp the full meaning of pre-60s society any more than they could know what it was to be caught up in the transformation taking place during those crucial years from 1955 to 1975.
Throughout the course of the semester, we will attempt to examine the 60s both on its own terms and with the advantage of hindsight in order to discern what actually did happen and what, if anything, changed. We will examine the decade through its political framework always realizing how intimately politics is intertwined with economics, society and culture. American politics both reflects and refracts the surrounding atmosphere. In the process we will examine the various governmental foreign and domestic policies as well as the numerous grass-roots movements which challenged those policies. The obvious and subtle cultural changes will be addressed throughout.
HIST 4360 HISTORY OF THE US 1945-1968
At the end of World War II, the United States was the super power in the world. Economically strong, militarily superior, and politically stable, Americans assumed that they had finally achieved their rightful place as guardians and leaders of the world. Ironically, just as they reached the pinnacle of their power, changes and challenges to American omnipotence developed both within the United States and throughout the rest of the world. By 1968, Americans still held a pre-eminent place in world affairs, but many different sources had begun to question the correctness of that position.
During the course of this semester, we will attempt to examine the years since 1945 both on their own terms and with the advantage of hindsight in order to discern what actually did happen and what impact this had on the American people. We will examine the era through its political framework always realizing how intimately politics is intertwined with economics, society, and culture. American politics both reflects and refracts the surrounding atmosphere. In the process, we will examine the various governmental foreign and domestic policies as well as the numerous grass-roots movements which challenged those policies. The obvious and subtle cultural changes will be addressed throughout
HIST 4361: HISTORY OF THE US 1968 TO THE PRESENT
In 1968, America seemed to be coming apart at the seams. Fighting a war abroad that was increasingly expensive and unpopular, the US government also had to defend itself against attacks from its own citizens. People of various ages and races disliked the war, the president's policies, and, apparently, everything "American"; minorities vented their frustrations at the gradual pace of the civil rights movements; and young people challenged the values and cultures of their parents. Even the institutions--political parties, churches, families--which traditionally provided structure and stability found themselves under assault from Americans demanding reassessment and change. Over the course of the next two decades, the American government and people would have to deal with the fallout of that cataclysmic year.
Throughout the course of this semester, we will attempt to examine the years since 1968 both on their own terms and with the advantage of hindsight in order to discern what acutally did happen and what impact this had on the American people. We will examine the era through its political framework always realizing how intimately politics is intertwined with economics, society, and culture. American politics both reflects and refracts the surrounding atmosphere. In the process, we will examine the various governmental foreign and domestic policies as well as the numerous grass-roots movements which challenged those policies. The obvious and subtle cultural changes will be addressed throughout.
HIST 5351B: MODERN AMERICAN HISTORY--COLD WAR
The Cold War which existed between the United States and the Soviet Union after the Second World War affected more than the foreign policy of the day. It influenced domestic affairs, played a role in political campaigns and elections, and even influenced morals and manners. The Cold War mindset and the containment policy followed by the US State Department became such an integral part of American life that, for several generations, few people questioned its basic assumptions. When some people did begin to challenge the status quo, they were castigated and ostracized. Ironically, many of the objectors were themselves caught up in the same mindset as those they were criticizing. It is only now that the Cold War is over (is it?) that scholars can begin to examine this era from a different perspective.
HIST 5351D MODERN AMERICA SINCE 1945
What a difference half a century makes! In 1945 American pictured themselves as the most powerful, the luckiest, people in the world. Proud of their defeat of Hitler and the Japanese, determined to enjoy the newfound prosperity after years of deprivation, Americans looked to the future with hope and optimism. Forty-five years later, the American people are still proud and most still think they are the luckiest people on earth, but their optimism has been dampened by questions that won’t disappear or remain answered. How does majority protect the rights of minorities, be they peoples, ideologies or lifestyles? How can a democratic people retain such anti-democratic elements? How can the world’s richest country continue to tolerate poverty? How can the technology which makes life so much easier almost make us more vulnerable? Over the years, scholars have attempted to answer these questions themselves and to examine the differing ways Americans have answered them at various points in their history. Now it is your turn to try. This course will give students an opportunity to examine modern America [post 1945] from numerous perspectives.
HIST 5360 AMERICAN HISTORIOGRAPHY
This course can be divided into two parts. The first will be an intellectual exploration of history as a discipline and a profession. We will explore answers to the following questions: What is history? What do historians do? What have they done in the past? How has that changed history, historical writing and the historical profession?
The second part of the course covers the practical aspects of the historians= role. We will discuss and then practice the following tasks: building an historiographical essay; writing a book review; analyzing an article; finding a research topic; and creating a thesis proposal.