LISTEN: A Conversation With Laura Wilson


Originally Posted: September 16, 2015

A Conversation With Laura Wilson

Throughout her career, Dallas photographer Laura Wilson has been taken by the imagery of the American West. This hour, we’ll talk to her about why she’s drawn to the West, her work with the late Richard Avedon and “That Day: Laura Wilson,” an exhibition of her work on display at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. LISTEN

SMU faculty to assist area history teachers in tackling immigration

DALLAS (SMU) — Immigration has rarely been so controversial or prominent a topic as it is today, which makes it all the more challenging to teach it to middle-and high-school students. SMU and the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture are partnering with Humanities Texas and the Texas Historical Commission to present a conference at the museum on the history of U.S. immigration from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, to help area teachers tackle this hot-button topic in the classroom. READ MORE

Andrew Graybill, William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, photographer Laura Wilson’s work showcases American West

Guide Live

Originally Posted: August 28, 2015

Laura Wilson’s rare photographs showcase the American West

Hollywood actor Owen Wilson has in his home “a great picture that my mom took of Donald Judd. He’s a great artist, and it’s in Marfa. It may have been one of the last photographs of him that was taken before he passed away.”
Owen pauses and says, “I think of her as my mom, and my mom is an artist.” The picture of Judd “is an artist taking a picture of an artist. Maybe that’s why she’s able to get such good photographs. She has the eye of an artist.” READ MORE

Joshua Rovner, Tower Center, Dealing with Putin’s strategic incompetence

War on the Rocks

Originally Posted: August 7, 2015

Vladimir Putin is a bad strategist: He does not understand the relationship between military violence and political objectives. In the last two years, he has all but ruined his aspiration to return Russia to the ranks of the great powers. His ham-fisted annexation of Crimea, along with his transparent support for secessionists in the ongoing civil war in East Ukraine, has been disastrous for Russian interests. Putin’s adventurism led to stock market chaos, a major currency crisis, and staggering levels of capital flight — all of which have compounded the problem of collapsing oil prices. The loss of revenue is damaging Russia’s conventional military power because the government will struggle mightily to modernize its forces. Meanwhile, Putin has breathed new life into NATO, an alliance that had been searching for common purpose and sagging under the weight of the war in Afghanistan. READ MORE

Clements Foundation Gifts to SMU-in-Taos Cap Legacy of Giving From William P. Clements, Jr.

WILLIAM_P_CLEMENTS_JRDALLAS (SMU) – When friends and supporters of SMU-in-Taos gathered at the New Mexico campus in July to celebrate the opening of the Carolyn and David Miller Campus Center, the event also underscored more than four decades of visionary support from the late Bill Clements, Jr. ‘39 and the Clements Foundation.

Clements and his wife, Rita, contributed more than $7.5 million toward development of facilities and programs for the Taos campus before his death in 2011. Now, a $1 million gift from the Clements Foundation will support the position of the William P. Clements, Jr. Endowed Executive Director of SMU-in-Taos, currently held by Mike Adler, SMU associate professor of anthropology. The Clements Foundation also honored Clements through its support of the Miller Campus Center and the naming of the center’s William P. Clements, Jr. Great Hall.  READ MORE

Edward Countryman, History, How Textbooks Can Teach Different Versions Of History


Originally Posted: July 13, 2015

This summer there’s been an intense debate surrounding the Confederate flag and the legacy of slavery in this country.

In Texas that debate revolves around new textbooks that 5 million students will use when the school year begins next month.

The question is, are students getting a full and accurate picture of the past?

Eleventh-grade U.S. history teacher Samantha Manchac is concerned about the new materials and is already drawing up her lesson plans for the coming year. She teaches at The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, a public school in Houston.

The first lesson she says she’ll give her kids is how textbooks can tell different versions of history. “We are going to utilize these textbooks to some extent, but I also want you to be critical of the textbooks and not take this as the be-all and end-all of American history,” she imagines telling her new students.

She doesn’t want to rely solely on the brand-new texts because she says the guidelines for the books downplay some issues — like slavery — and skirt others — like Jim Crow laws.

She says it’s “definitely an attempt in many instances to whitewash our history, as opposed to exposing students to the reality of things and letting them make decisions for themselves.”

You might be wondering how Texas got these books in the first place, so here’s a quick history lesson:

In 2010 the Texas State Board of Education adopted new, more conservative learning standards.

Among the changes — how to teach the cause of the Civil War.

One side of the debate: Republican board member Patricia Hardy said, “States’ rights were the real issues behind the Civil War. Slavery was an after issue.”

On the other side: Lawrence Allen, a Democrat on the board: “Slavery and states’ rights.”

Ultimately the state voted to soften slavery’s role, among other controversial decisions, and these standards became the outline for publishers to sell books to the Texas market — the second-largest in the country.

The final materials were approved last fall after the state board did some examination and said the books get the job done.

Brian Belardi from McGraw-Hill Education, the publisher of some of the new material, agrees. “The history of the Civil War is complex and our textbook accurately presents the causes and events,” he said, adding that the Texas books will not be used for the company’s clients in other states.

History professor Edward Countryman isn’t so sure the materials do a good job.

“What bothered me is the huge disconnect between all that we’ve learned and what tends to go into the standard story as textbooks tell it,” says Countryman, who teaches at Southern Methodist University near Dallas and reviewed some of the new books.

He thinks the books should include more about slavery and race throughout U.S. history.

“It’s kind of like teaching physics and stopping at Newton without bringing in Einstein, and that sort of thing,” he says.

“The history of the United States is full of the good, the bad and the ugly, and often at the same time,” says Donna Bahorich, the current chairwoman of the Texas Board of Education.

While she admits the state standards didn’t specifically mention important things like Jim Crow laws, she says she’s confident students will still get the full picture of history if teachers, and the new books, fill in the blanks. LISTEN

Jeremy DuQuesnay Adams, History, No Mere “Boob,” This SMU Professor Was Immortalized in “Yellow Submarine”

Dallas Observer

Originally Posted: June 3, 2015


A longtime professor at Southern Methodist University, Jeremy DuQuesnay Adams has dedicated his life to education and writing. By his own admission, he knows very little about music. He was only involved with something music related on one occasion, but it just happened to do with the Beatles. In 1968, the group released the animated film Yellow Submarine to great critical and commercial success. The film is now recognized as a widely influential classic. And a major character in it was based on Adams. READ MORE

Alexis McCrossen, History, history of the wristwatch

The Atlantic

Originally Posted: May 27, 2015

On July 9, 1916, The New York Times puzzled over a fashion trend: Europeans were starting to wear bracelets with clocks on them. Time had migrated to the human wrist, and the development required some explaining.

“Until recently,” the paper observed, “the bracelet watch has been looked upon by Americans as more or less of a joke. Vaudeville artists and moving-picture actors have utilized it as a funmaker, as a ‘silly ass’ fad.”

But the wristwatch was a “silly-ass fad” no more. “The telephone and signal service, which play important parts in modern warfare, have made the wearing of watches by soldiers obligatory,” the Times observed, two years into World War I. “The only practical way in which they can wear them is on the wrist, where the time can be ascertained readily, an impossibility with the old style pocket watch.” Improvements in communications technologies had enabled militaries to more precisely coordinate their maneuvers, and coordination required soldiers to discern the time at a glance. Rifling through your pocket for a watch was not advisable in the chaos of the trenches. READ MORE