Louise Pubols (right), chief curator of history at the Oakland Museum of California, will visit SMU to discuss her award-winning work as an author. The University’s William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies hosts Pubols for a 6 p.m. reception followed by a 6:30 p.m. lecture Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, in DeGolyer Library.
Pubols won the 2009 Clements Book Prize, presented by the Clements Center, for The Father of All: The De La Guerra Family, Power, and Patriarchy in Mexican California, published by the University of California Press and the Huntington Library.
Her work explores the history of the de la Guerras of Santa Barbara, a powerful California family that adapted and thrived through several major economic and political upheavals, including the U.S.-Mexican War. Through the de la Guerras’ political, business and family relationships, Pubols illustrated how patriarchy functioned from generation to generation in Spanish and Mexican California.
In 2010, SMU Professor of History Ben Johnson hailed the prize-winning book as “gracefully written and deeply researched. Pubols both draws on and contributes to a generation of historical scholarship on the U.S. West and Latin America alike.
“Popular understanding and scholarly arguments alike treat the Mexican North – the area that now constitutes the U.S. states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California – as a sleepy backwater in comparison to the dynamic young United States,” Johnson added. “Pubols’ close study of politics and society in Mexican California really demolishes this view. She shows how Mexican liberalism, unleashed by that young nation’s independence, transformed California’s economy, family life and politics.”
“Using a micro-historical approach – in this case, the story of a single family – Pubols is able to tell a story that is at once both big and small, placing the experiences of the de la Guerras within the wider sweep of events that remade North America during the first half of the 19th century,” says Associate Professor of History and Clements Center Director Andrew Graybill. “The Father of All is a brilliant contribution to the literature on the American Southwest and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.”