Listen: A Nation Engaged – America’s Role In The World

THINK KERA

Originally Posted- August 29, 2016

If you think this year’s presidential campaigns seem more divisive and acrimonious than ever before, you’re not alone. And the political rhetoric is making waves – not just here at home but abroad as well. This hour, as part of a NPR’s “A Nation Engaged” conversation project, we’ll talk about how the election and the next president will affect America’s role in the world. Our guests are writer Ben Fountain, who’s been reporting on the election forThe Guardian and Jeffrey Engel, who directs the Center for Presidential History at SMU. LISTEN

Drone video footage of Malawi dig site

YouTube
Originally Posted: August 22, 2016

American archaeologists of their field areas in Malawi, where Louis Jacobs is now. He is working with Dr. Elizabeth Gomani Chindebvu, former SMU graduate student.  The Mwakasyunguti valley is below the red layer where the archaeologists were digging.  The dinosaur beds are the light colored beds.

SMU Clements Center awards top book prize Sept. 27

SMU News

Originally Posted: August 15, 2016

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies will present its annual book prize on Tuesday, Sept. 27, to historian Andrew J. Torget forSeeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850 (University of North Carolina Press, 2015).

The David J. Weber-William P. Clements Prize for the Best Non-Fiction Book on Southwestern America honors both the Center’s founding director and founding benefactor.

Torget, a former Clements Fellow, will be honored Sept. 27 at a 5:30 p.m. reception, followed by a 6 p.m. lecture and book-signing at McCord Auditorium in Dallas Hall, 3225 University, SMU. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. To register, call 214-768-3684 or click here.

Andrew TorgetIn Seeds of Empire, Torget, associate professor of history at the University of North Texas, explores the roles that cotton and slavery played in fomenting the Texas Revolution, which was in part a reaction against abolitionists in the Mexican government, and in shaping Texas’ borderlands into the first fully-committed slaveholders’ republic in North America.

In selecting the book from a large field of entries, judges wrote: “Torget’s deep archival work brings a fresh perspective to the conflicts over slavery in Texas on the eve of the Civil War. The book’s most notable accomplishment is the emphasis on cotton and slavery as a world-wide system that bound Texas history to larger economic and political forces in the U.S., Mexico, and Europe. He challenges the traditional interpretation that the westward movement in the early nineteenth century was primarily motivated by ideologies of racial supremacy that characterized Manifest Destiny. Instead, Torget demonstrates that, although westering Americans felt superior to the people whose lands they invaded, they mainly migrated to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in the trans-Atlantic cotton economy that the Mexican government had established by offering them free land.”

Finalists for the Weber-Clements Book Prize are Emily Lutenski for West of Harlem: African American Writers and the Borderlands; and former Clements Fellow John Weber for From South Texas to the Nation: The Exploitation of Mexican Labor in the Twentieth Century.

This is the eighth major book prize Seeds of Empire has won.

The $2,500 Weber-Clements Book Prize, administered by the Western History Association, honors fine writing and original research on the American Southwest. The competition is open to any nonfiction book, including biography, on any aspect of Southwestern life, past or present. The William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies is affiliated with the Department of History within SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. The center was created to promote research, publishing, teaching and public programming in a variety of fields related to the American Southwest.  READ MORE

Trump smartly ditches Manafort. Is this the pivot?

SMU NEWS

The following is an excerpt from an SMU news release.

CUTTING TIES INSULATES TRUMP, BUT MORE IS NEEDED

Matthew WilsonMATTHEW WILSON:
jmwilson@smu.edu

Friday’s announcement that Trump had accepted the resignation of former campaign chair Paul Manafort was a wise move, says Wilson, but more action than that will be needed to turn the election around.

“Bringing Manafort on board has not seemed to fix any of the Trump campaign’s problems. It’s bad optics for a campaign that emphasizes themes of patriotism, nationalism and American pride to have a guy so deeply involved in Russian and Russian-allied dictators in such a prominent role,” Wilson says “Cutting ties now, from Trump’s standpoint, should make the story go away, but Trump has many other things to worry about.”

Wilson points out that Trump made a smart follow-up move by travelling to the flooded regions of Louisiana, which could indicate his new advisors are getting their unruly candidate pointed in the right direction.

“The fact that Trump perceives this is a major disaster and that people down there could use some support and attention – that speaks well for him and that’s a real contrast from Obama vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard,” Wilson say. “If his new team advised him to do that … It shows him being thoughtful, empathetic, presidential.”

Wilson is an SMU associate professor of Political Science. He can discuss:

  • religion and politics
  • political psychology
  • voting behavior of religious voters
  • public opinion and politics

Dedman College 2016 Election Experts

SMU NEWS

Need insightful perspectives and accurate interpretations of all things election relation? See Dedman College experts below:

POLITICS

Jeffrey A. Engel

Jeffrey A. Engel, Director of the Center for Presidential History
He is an award-winning American history scholar and an expert on the U.S. presidency and American diplomatic history. He has authored or edited six books, including Into the Desert: Reflections on the Gulf War

Cal-Jillson-lg

Cal Jillson, Professor of Political Science
One of the nation’s foremost political experts, he regularly provides journalists thoughtful insight on Texas and U.S. politics. He is the author of the political classic Pursuing the American Dream, as well as Lone Star Tarnished: A Critical Look at Texas Politics and Public Policy and American Government: Political Development and Institutional Change

Joshua-Rovner

Joshua Rovner, Tower Distinguished Chair in International Politics & National Security Policy
He writes extensively on strategy and security. His recent book, Fixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence, is a wide-ranging study about how leaders use and misuse intelligence. His research interests also include international relations theory, nuclear weapons, grand strategy, and U.S. defense policy.

Matthew-Wilson-lg

Matthew Wilson, Associate Professor of Political Science
He specializes in religion and politics, as well as public opinion, elections and political psychology.

ECONOMY and UNEMPLOYMENT

Tom-Fomby-lg

Tom Fomby, Professor of Economics
He can discuss the Texas economy vs. the rest of the nation, what the unemployment rate means for Texas and political promises about the economy.

IMMIGRATION

Pia-Orrenius

Pia Orrenius, Fellow at SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies
A senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, her research focuses on the border region and the causes and consequences of Mexico–U.S. migration, illegal immigration, and U.S. immigration policy. She is the author of Beside the Golden Door: U.S. Immigration Reform in a New Era of Globalization.

READ MORE

David Meltzer, Anthropology, mammoth mystery solved

Smithsonian Magazine

Originally Posted: August 3, 2016

Until recently, Alaska’s St. Paul Island was home to a mystery of mammoth proportions. Today the largest animals living on this 42-square mile speck of earth are a few reindeer, but once, St. Paul was woolly mammoth territory. For more than 4,000 years after the mainland mammoths of Asia and North American were wiped out by environmental change and human hunting, this barren turf served as one of the species’ last holdouts.

Only one group of mammoths lived longer than those of St. Paul: the mammoths of Wrangel Island, a 2,900-square mile island located in the Arctic Ocean, which managed to survive until about 4,000 years ago. In this case, scientists suspect we played a hand in the tenacious beasts’ demise. Archaeological evidence suggests that human hunters helped pushed already vulnerable populations over the edge.

But the mammoths of St. Paul never encountered humans, meaning they were shielded from one of the main destructive forces that likely killed their kin. So how did they meet their final end some 5,600 years ago?

Scientists finally think they have the answer. This week, an interdisciplinary team of researchers reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the mammoths essentially died of thirst. Using mammoth remains and radiocarbon dating, researchers found that dwindling freshwater due to climate change caused populations to dry up. Their results—which also show that the St. Paul mammoths persisted for longer than originally thought, until about 5,600 years ago—pinpoints a specific mechanism that may threaten other coastal and island populations facing climate change today.

Scientists had known previously that climate change must have played a role in the St. Paul mammoth extinction, but they had few clues as to the specifics. “This is an excellent piece of research, well-evidenced and well-argued,” says David Meltzer, an archaeologist at Southern Methodist University who was not involved in the study. “It’s just the sort of species- and region-specific work that needs to be done to fully understand the causes of extinction for this and other animals in the past.” READ MORE

Joe Kobylka, Political Science, participated as a distinguished scholar in a history conference for public school teachers in Houston

Your Houston News

Originally Posted: August 3, 2016

Two Spring ISD teachers were selected to attend “America from Jefferson to Jackson,” a professional development institute sponsored by Humanities Texas and the University of Houston.

Robert Mallory, who teaches U.S. History at Dekaney High School, and Crystal Parliament, who teachers U.S. History at Bailey Middle School, were among of 54 Texas public school teachers invited to attend the Houston institute, which took place from June 6-9.

The program consisted of three days of dynamic presentations and small-group seminars, studying central topics in early American history, including the development of political parties; Thomas Jefferson’s, James Madison’s, and Andrew Jackson’s presidencies; the Marshall court; slavery; the American economy in the 1820s and 1830s; the Monroe Doctrine; the displacement of Native Americans and the rise of sectionalism.

Daniel Walker Howe, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian emeritus of the University of California, Los Angeles, delivered the institute’s keynote presentation on economic issues of the 1820s.

Other faculty included Denver Brunsman of George Washington University; Jesus de la Teja of Texas State University; Daniel Feller of the University of Tennessee; Todd Kerstetter of Texas Christian University; Angela Pully Hudson of Texas A&M University; Joseph F. Kobylka of Southern Methodist University; Nikki Taylor of Texas Southern University; Jennifer Weber of the University of Kansas and Jeremy Bailey, Matthew Clavin, and Eric Walther of the University of Houston.

“I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of life in the early nineteenth century through the office of the President. The valuable information I gained will be passed to my students and colleagues,” said Parliament.

Mallory stated that he will “use the information learned at the institute to go past just the TEKS” with his students, which will “help them have a true understanding of history.”

“Humanities Texas was pleased to cosponsor ‘America from Jefferson to Jackson,’” said Executive Director Michael L. Gillette. “Giving talented teachers the opportunity to interact with their peers and leading scholars will enable them to engage students with exciting new perspectives on our nation’s history.”

“America from Jefferson to Jackson” was made possible with support from the State of Texas and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Howe’s lecture was supported by a generous grant from the Pulitzer Centennial Campfire Initiatives.

Humanities Texas is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Its mission is to advance education through programs that improve the quality of classroom teaching, support libraries and museums and create opportunities for lifelong learning for all Texans.

For more information about Humanities Texas, visit www.humanitiestexas.org. For information about the University of Houston, visit www.uh.edu.

Tower Center for Political Studies, Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center name new executive director, Luisa Del Rosal

SMU News

Originally Posted: August 10, 2016

Luisa-Del-RosalThe Tower Center for Political Studies and the recently announced Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center found a new executive director in a familiar face at SMU – Luisa Del Rosal, currently the director of strategy and international affairs with the Cox School of Business’ Latino Leadership Initiative.

“The centers will help shape important regional and national conversations on topics such as education, trade and energy – topics that impact our communities every day,” Del Rosal says. “As research policy centers, they’ll be places not of rhetoric, but of facts and idea sharing. The unique missions of each will influence policy questions and carry out the critical goals of engaging and mentoring the students who will become our next generation of leaders.”

Del Rosal will assume her new leadership role at the helm of the two centers on Aug. 10.

“I am honored to return to the Tower Center for Political Studies as its executive director and to serve as the founding executive director of the newly established Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center,” Del Rosal says. “Leading these centers enables me to contribute to the regional, national and global reach of SMU.”

In this new position, Del Rosal will have strategic and operational responsibility for both centers, including staff oversight, programming strategy and execution, board coordination and ensuring all activities are aligned with the centers’ missions.

“Luisa will add a great deal to the knowledge base of those two centers,” says Thomas DiPiero, Dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. “She has tremendous international experience, she’s worked a great deal with people in public policy and in Mexico, and she has the diplomaticskill setthat will allow the two centers to thrive under her leadership.”

The primary mission of the Tower Center is to promote the study of politics and international affairs and to stimulate an interest in ethical public service among undergraduates.

Announced earlier this year, the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center is an action-oriented, research policy center looking to understand and explore the dynamic political, cultural, economic and business relationship between Texas and Mexico. The center focuses on the following key areas of research and policy: border issues, energy, human capital and education, immigration and trade.

“Luisa del Rosal is a leader in higher education with the ideal background and combination of skills to build the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center,” says Jim Hollifield, director of the Tower Center. “An SMU graduate and dual national, Luisa has a deep and intuitive understanding of the vital relationship between Texas and Mexico in all of its dimensions and complexities. We are delighted that she has returned to the Tower Center and Dedman College to assume this critical leadership role.”

Prior to working for the Cox School, Luisa was director of programs and external relations for the Tower Center. READ MORE

Three Dedman College faculty members present at conference on history of conflict

SMU NEWS

Originally Posted: August 11, 2016

Texas, United States and global perspectives on conflict will be the topics of the second annual New History at Old Red Conference for teachers Saturday, Sept. 17, at the Old Red Museum in Dallas.

“The topic of conflict is extremely relevant in today’s intense geopolitical climate,” says Brooke Creek, education and programs director at the Old Red Museum. “Understanding how the past dealt with unprecedented issues impacting our society allows us to focus on creating a better future. This conference will provide educators with an interesting and factual foundation from noted scholars to structure their lesson plans in the classroom.”

Cohosting the conference are SMU, the Texas Historical Commission and Humanities Texas with additional support from Dallas Independent School District’s Region 10 Education Service Center.

Conference participants can choose to hear three of six speakers presenting during the morning session, and a catered lunch will be provided to all participants. The afternoon breakout sessions will provide teachers with lesson plans, materials and strategies to help them make history come alive for students at all grade levels. Participating organizations include the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, the El Paso Holocaust Museum and the Museum of South Texas History. Teachers attending both sessions may earn 6 Continuing Professional Education Credits.

history

Topics and speakers include:

The First American Civil War
Edward Countryman
University Distinguished Professor, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, SMU.

Myth, Memory and Monument: Rethinking the Texas Revolution
Sam Haynes
Director of the Center for Greater Southwestern Studies and Professor of History at University of Texas at Arlington.

The Other Texas Revolution: A Forgotten Borderlands Revolt in the Early Twentieth Century
Benjamin Johnson
Assistant Professor in History at Loyola University Chicago.

Overcoming Apartheid
Jilly E. Kelly
Assistant Professor of African history and South African history, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, SMU.

First World War and the Making of the Modern Middle East
Sabri Ates
Associate Professor of History (modern Middle East), Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, SMU.

Home Away from Home: American Women and Military Entertainment
Kara Dixon Vuic
Associate Professor and Schmidt Professor of War, Conflict, and Society in 20th Century America, TCU.

Conference participants also will have access to the Old Red Museum’s temporary exhibit, Dallas on the Home Front, which examines the everyday lives of women and men on the home front during World War II. The exhibit runs through September 30, 2016.

Registration, which includes a continental breakfast, lunch, parking, materials and access to the exhibit area, is $25 and can be made a http://www.oldred.org/. For additional information, call Brooke Creek at 214-757-1927 orbrookec@oldred.org.

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The mission of the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History and Culture is to inspire and educate people with the rich cultural, economic, political and social history of the Dallas County area, showcasing the main cultures that, together, have formed the Dallas of today.  The museum, located at 100 S. Houston in downtown Dallas, is housed in the historic red sandstone Dallas County Courthouse.

SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls approximately 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.

Human Rights, Rwanda (Summer 2016)

SMU Adventures

robyn-600x400A group of 13 SMU students, faculty and staff are in Rwanda from August 4-13, 2016 with SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program. After the country’s 1994 genocide, in which as many as a million people were killed in 100 days, “history lives on,” says group leader and program director Rick Halperin. The group are visiting genocide sites and meeting with survivors, government representatives and representatives of NGOs, They are also carrying donated books, classroom supplies, toys and clothing to share with the schools and orphanages they are visiting. READ MORE