Skip to Content

News & Events

Plague, COVID-19, and Empire: 1720, 2020
Thursday, November 12, 2020 | 4:00 pm | Online via Zoom

Le Chevalier Roze à la Tourette Ensevelissement des cadavres par les forçats Gravure de Thomassin (1727) copyThe ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has left many scrambling for historical analogues. Historians have looked primarily to the 1918 “Spanish” Flu and even the Black Death of the 14th century for comparisons, for lessons, and for answers, as people around the globe confront the COVID-19 pandemic. But there are parallels to another, much lesser-known epidemic, one for which we mark the tricentennial this year. Historian and disaster studies specialist Cindy Ermus (UTSA) is finishing her project on the global implications of the 1720 Great Plague of Marseille (Plague of Provence), which over two years, killed as much as half the population of the city of Marseille, and 20% of the population of Provence, France. Reactions to the threat of plague from France thus stretched across Europe, as well as the colonies in the Atlantic and Asia. Ermus will reflect on the 1720 plague, and on the lessons that it can offer, as we face a new public health crisis—one that continues to unfold and yield more questions than answers.


CSSW Spotlight
Free-Tailed Bat Award Winner

This year's winner of the Free-Tailed Bat Award for Excellence in Criticism goes to Dr. Brett J. Derbes for his review of Stephen Harrigan's Big Wonderful Thing. Dr. Derbes has been a member of the Texas State Historical Association since 2008, and he has worked as the Managing Editor of the Handbook of Texas since 2015. We congratulate Dr. Derbes and his continuous support for Texas history and scholarship.


Farm Labor and Migrant Citizenship in the New Deal
Monday, October 19, 2020 | 4:00 pm | Online via Zoom

Verónica Martínez-Matsuda, photo 2020During the 1930s and 1940s, stringent state and local residency laws, combined with deep-seated racial and class prejudice, left migrant farmworkers without a place to enact their basic rights. Even if they were formally U.S. citizens, farmworkers were regularly denied the right to vote, send their children to school, access public aid, and receive medical care because they were considered non-residents or non-citizens of the community and state in which they were seeking services. Labor Studies scholar Verónica Martínez-Matsuda, using federal archives, innovative oral history techniques and digital history methods brought out another story in the records – how farm working families and Farm Security Administrators pushed for enfranchisement through their daily participation as citizens (regardless of formal status) in a political and social community characterized by collective responsibility and behavior.


A Transnational Network of Anarcho-Feminists in the Gulf of Mexico
Monday, October 5, 2020 | 11:00 am | Online via Zoom

Sonia Hernandez, photo 2020Across the industrial Atlantic, young women and their families organized strikes, slowdowns and factory seizures during the WWI Era.  Dr. Sonia Hernandez traces another organized disruption, how Mexican and Mexican American women in Texas and Tamaulipas worked together through anarcho-syndicalist organizations to push conditions and politics that matched their experiences and desires. Working with archives and the Spanish language press, Dr. Sonia Hernandez, TAMU, tracks a transnationally connected labor movement organized by women and shares insight into the broader industrial, socio-political conditions that made this anarchist movement possible. While anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism declined by the mid-1930s, at least in this region, a transnational anarcho-feminist legacy remained forming part of the history and memory of the Texas-Mexico borderlands.


Outsourcing Migrant Control: 100 Years of Privatized Prisons
Thursday, September 24 2020 | 1:00 pm | Online via Zoom

David Hernandez, photo 2020Even before the Mexican Revolution, federal authorities started hiring local hotels and prison authorities to hold people they designated as strangers to American law.  Ethnic Studies scholar and sociologist David Hernandez has been tracing the transformation of an overlapping carceral state meant to keep migrants out of the realms of due process and civil rights.  With the recent intensification of physical outsourcing of kids, families and people in the Trump regime, Dr. Hernandez’ work on this process in the 80s, 90s and this millennia speaks to the difficulties in dis-embedding this desire to expel and contain migrant others from American political culture.


Texas Prisons and Post WWII Civil Rights
Thursday, September 17 2020 | 1:00 pm | Online via Zoom

Texas Prisons and Civil Rights Event ImageAfter World War II, imprisoned men and women used changes in civil rights law to have their shared humanity recognized. In his book We Are Not Slaves: State Violence, Coerced Labor and Prisoners’ Rights in Postwar America, Dr. Robert Chase analyzes the establishment of a civil rights understanding in U.S. prisons and how this victory was beaten back by lawmakers, labor unions, wardens and private corporations.  In this talk, Robert Chase, Ernest McMillan, Dallas activist, founder of Fifth Ward Enrichment and curator of community action at Cara Mia Theatre, and professor Mark Menjivar discuss the specific ways prisons, the prisoner’s rights movement, the civil rights movements and white backlash overlapped in Texas and share the hard lessons gained over 50 years of campaigns and struggle.


The Living Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Monday, September 14, 2020 | 11:00 am | Online via Zoom

Omar Vilerio Jimenez, photo 2020In 1846, President Polk ordered U.S. troops to into the disputed area between the Rio Grande and Nueces rivers catalyzing the U.S.-Mexico War of 1846.  In 1848, the United States Senate, after much debate and the highest casualty rate of any war fought by the United States, ratified the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo setting the border between the United States and guaranteeing citizenship and property rights to people who lived in the annexed lands. Omar Valerio-Jiménez explores the ways ethnic Mexicans remembered the war and the treaty.


Culture, Creativity, and COVID 19
Tuesday, September 1, 2020 | 4:00 pm | Online via Zoom

COVID 19 Event Art ImageTexas has become a global epicenter and a daily example of how structural racism shapes the COVID19 pandemic.  Responding to this crisis, Paul Saldaña and Sneha Shenoy have developed new ways of galvanizing people to push for a robust community / city response to COVID 19 in their communities.  High school senior Sneha Shenoy & Pledge to Distance designed a format to encourage masking, digitally and in public. Paul Saldaña and the Austin Latino Coalition have taken on the tasks of testing, mask distribution and political education in the zip codes where the pandemic reigns. Both Pledge to Distance and the Austin Latino Coalition reminds us of the creative and productive way community movements,  graphic design, social media and in person testing and mask distribution work together to face structural racism and the pandemic. Come discuss.


CSSW Spotlight

CSSW Director Interviewed by Tucson.com and USA Today

CSSW Director, John Mckiernan-González, was recently interviewed by the Tucson.com regarding the border wall and COVID19. He was also interviewed by USA Today to get his thoughts on how COVID-19 is impacting Latino communities in Austin and other locations. 


CSSW Spotlight

CSSW Affiliate Interviewed on NPR

Photo of Louie Valencia-GarciaCongratulations to Dr. Louie Dean Valencia-García who was recently interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition about the removal of Spanish conquistador statues.  Dr. Valencia-García is a faculty member in the History Department who specializes in Digital History, Queer Youth History, Fascism and the Radical Right, as well as European and Spanish History.