Weber-Clements Prize celebrates new name, first repeat winner

Clements Book Prize

Weber-Clements Prize celebrates new name, first repeat winner

'A Great Aridness' book coverSMU’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies celebrates the new name – and the first repeat winner – of its prestigious annual book prize with a lecture and booksigning by author and conservationist William deBuys on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 in the University’s DeGolyer Library

DeBuys will discuss A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest as the 2012 winner of the renamed David J. Weber-William P. Clements Prize for the Best Non-Fiction Book on Southwestern America. The evening begins with a 6 p.m. reception and lecture at 6:30 p.m. A book-signing will follow immediately after the lecture.

Learn more about William deBuys

In A Great Aridness, deBuys paints a vivid picture of what the Southwest might look like when the heat turns up and the water runs out. This semi-arid region – vulnerable to water shortages, rising temperatures, wildfires and many other environmental challenges – is poised to bear the heaviest consequences of global environmental change in the United States.

Examining factors such as vanishing wildlife, forest die-backs and the over-allocation of the Colorado River (upon which nearly 30 million people depend for water), the author tells the stories of the climatologists and others who are helping to untangle the causes and effects of global warming. What happens in the Southwest, deBuys suggests, will provide a glimpse of what other mid-latitude arid lands such as the Mediterranean Basin, southern Africa and the Middle East will experience in the coming years. A 2008-09 Guggenheim Fellow, deBuys spent his fellowship year working on the book.

A Great Aridness is deeply researched, engagingly written, powerful in its arguments, and of urgent importance to anyone interested in the Southwest,” wrote the Weber-Clements Book Prize judging committee upon its selection. “This is clearly the work of a mature scholar and writer at the top of his game, and with a story to tell of critical importance.”

Clements Center Director Andrew Graybill added: “A Great Aridness is easily one of the best books about the single most pressing environmental issue of our time. And it’s written with Bill deBuys’ typical clarity and grace, making it accessible to anyone interested in the future of the American Southwest, and the planet more broadly.”

One of deBuys’ six books, Salt Dreams: Land and Water in Low-Down California, won the first Clements Prize in 1999. (DeBuys was the Carl B. and Florence E. King Senior Fellow in Southwest History at the Clements Center in 1999-2000.) Another work, River of Traps: A New Mexico Mountain Life, was a finalist for the 1991 Pulitzer Prize in general non-fiction. He has also written Enchantment and Exploitation: The Life and Hard Times of a New Mexico Mountain Range, The Walk, and Seeing Things Whole: The Essential John Wesley Powell.

An active conservationist, deBuys was the founding chairman of the Valles Caldera Trust (2001-04), which manages the 89,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico. He has helped protect more than 150,000 acres in New Mexico, Arizona and North Carolina. He lives and writes on a small farm in northern New Mexico.

Since 1999, the Clements Center for Southwest Studies has presented the award as the William P. Clements Prize for the Best Non-Fiction Book on Southwestern America. The prize was named for the former Texas governor and the Center’s founding benefactor, who passed away in May 2011.

In spring 2012, the Center approached the Western History Association (WHA) about taking over the administration of the prize as a way to honor both Governor Clements and David J. Weber, the Center’s founding director and past WHA president, who passed away in August 2010. The Weber-Clements Book Prize is now presented by the WHA Council and the Clements Center and is now administered by the WHA.

The $2,500 Weber-Clements Book Prize 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.

> Visit SMU’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies online

February 11, 2013|Calendar Highlights, For the Record, News|

2009 Clements Book Prize winner to speak at SMU Nov. 8, 2012

Louise PubolsLouise 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.

> SMU Forum: Pubols’ family saga wins 2009 Clements Book Prize

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.

Book cover for 'The Father of All' by Louise Pubols

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.”

> Visit SMU’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies online

November 7, 2012|Calendar Highlights, News|

Hernández’ Border Patrol history wins 2010 Clements Book Prize

Kelly Lytle HernandezThe untold history of the U.S. Border Patrol will be honored with SMU’s William P. Clements Prize for Best Non-Fiction Book published in 2010 in a series of campus events Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011.

Kelly Lytle Hernández (right) earned this year’s Clements Book Prize for Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol (University of California Press), which presents the Border Patrol’s story from its beginning in 1924 to its emergence as a professional police force.

The public is invited to a reception at 6 p.m., with an award ceremony, lecture and book signing at 6:30 p.m. in SMU’s DeGolyer Library.

Migra! greatly expands our knowledge of the formation, imperatives, and internal architecture of the U.S. Border Patrol, a surprisingly understudied organization,” says Andrew Graybill, director of the Clements Center for Southwest Studies in SMU’s Dedman College. “But Professor Hernández’s book does far more than merely fill a gap in the historical literature – rather, Migra! revolutionizes our understanding of the Border Patrol by exploring its evolution from an ad hoc collection of federal officers to a professional constabulary that had profound (and in many cases, unintended) effects in shaping both policy and perception along the U.S.-Mexico border.”

Book cover of 'Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol' by Kelly Lytle HernandezHernández, associate professor of history at UCLA, is also co-director of K-12 programs in its National Center for History in the SchoolsMigra!, her first book, received honorable mention from the American Studies Association’s 2011 Lora Romero First Book Prize and John Hope Franklin Book Prize.

The $2,500 Clements Book Prize 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.

> Read more about the 2010 Clements Book Prize from SMU News

November 8, 2011|Calendar Highlights, News|

Pubols’ family saga wins 2009 Clements Book Prize

Louise PubolsLouise Pubols (right), chief curator of history at the Oakland Museum of California, has won SMU’s William P. Clements Book Prize for the best nonfiction book on the Southwest published in 2009. Pubols’ winning entry is 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.

Pubols’ work explores the history of the de la Guerras of Santa Barbara, a powerful California family that adapted to economic and political upheavals that included the U.S.-Mexican War. Pubols traces the de la Guerras’ political, business and family relationships to illustrate how patriarchy functioned from generation to generation in Spanish and Mexican California.

The story of this influential extended family opens vistas onto larger debates about patriarchy, Mexican liberalism, intermarriage, and the economic and social transformations of Mexican California, says Benjamin Johnson, professor in SMU’s William P. Clements Department of History in Dedman College and director of its Clements Center for Southwest Studies.

“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 sleepy backwaters in comparison to the dynamic young United States. Pubols’ close study of politics and society in Mexican California really demolishes this view,” Johnson says. “She shows how Mexican liberalism, unleashed by that young nation’s independence, transformed California’s economy, family life and politics. Mexican California’s elites were adaptive and clever.”

Book cover for 'The Father of All' by Louise PubolsJohnson hails the prize-winning book as “gracefully written and deeply researched.” Perhaps most impressively, “Pubols both draws on and contributes to a generation of historical scholarship on the U.S. West and Latin America alike,” he adds.

The quality and number of Clements Book Prize entries prompted the judges to name two finalists for the second year in a row, Johnson adds. Those honors went to Katherine Benton-Cohen of Georgetown University for Borderline Americans: Racial Division and Labor War in the Arizona Borderlands (Harvard University Press) and Patrick Ettinger of California State University-Sacramento for Imaginary Lines: Border Enforcement and the Origins of Undocumented Immigration, 1882-1930 (University of Texas Press).

Past Clements Book Prize winners have also won awards from the American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Western History Association, and Southern Historical Association, as well as the Bancroft Prize awarded by Columbia University.

The deadline for submissions for the 2010 prize is Feb. 5, 2011. For more information, visit the Clements Center website.

September 29, 2010|News|

Former Fellow Hämäläinen receives Clements Book Prize Nov. 3

 Pekka HamalainenFormer Clements Center Fellow Pekka Hämäläinen will receive SMU’s William P. Clements Prize for Best Non-Fiction Book on Southwestern America during ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 3 in SMU’s DeGolyer Library.

His award-winning book, The Comanche Empire (Yale University Press, 2008), is about the nation-changing power of the Comanche Indians. He honed the work during his 2001-02 fellowship in Dedman College’s William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies.

The $2,500 Clements Book Prize 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 Comanche Empire' book coverHämäläinen is the second former Clements Center Fellow to win the Clements Book Prize. Juliana Barr received the honor in 2008 for Peace Came in the Form of a Woman: Indians and Spaniards in the Texas Borderlands (University of North Carolina Press, 2007).

The Comanche Empire is a landmark study that will make readers see the history of southwestern America in an entirely new way,” said David Weber, Robert and Nancy Dedman Professor of History and director of the Clements Center. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Larry McMurtry has called The Comanche Empire “cutting-edge revisionist western history in every way.” The book has received numerous other awards, including a 2009 Bancroft Prize awarded by Columbia University.

McMurtry wrote in the New York Review of Books that Hämäläinen’s work spelled out a convincing argument that Comanche power is the missing link in the historical sequence that led to Spain’s failure to colonize the interior of North America and, ultimately, the decay of Mexican power in what is now the American Southwest. Citing Hämäläinen’s description of the political, economic and social organization of the Comanches, McMurtry wrote, “Blink a time or two and the reader might forget that the book at hand is about Comanches, rather than Microsoft.”

Hämäläinen, a native of Finland, received his Ph.D. in general history at the University of Helsinki and has been associate professor of history at the University of California-Santa Barbara since 2004. He notes in the acknowledgment section of The Comanche Empire that the book would not exist without the counsel and encouragement of Weber and the Clements Center manuscript workshop that brought together prominent scholars to discuss his project.

Read more from SMU News
Visit the Clements Center for Southwest Studies online

November 3, 2009|Calendar Highlights, News|
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