News

Ezra Greenspan’s biography of William Wells Brown a finalist for Frederick Douglass Book Prize

Acclaim continues for book about escaped slave

bookcover-William-Wells-Brown

SMU English Professor Ezra Greenspan’s acclaimed biography William Wells Brown: An African American Life (W.W. Norton) is a finalist for the prestigious Frederick Douglass Book Prize, one of the most coveted awards for the study of the African-American experience. READ MORE

Heather DeShon, Earth Sciences, Inspectors check for damage to shaken North Texas bridges

The Eagle

Originally Posted: July 30, 2015

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — When a big earthquake hits, the world often sees horrific images of collapsed bridges.

In 1989, during a 6.9-magnitude quake in the San Francisco area, the double-deck Nimitz Freeway pancaked, killing 42 people. Fifty-foot sections of the Bay Bridge also collapsed, killing a woman.
North Texas is unlikely to experience an earthquake of that scope, researchers say. But in recent years, the region has experienced dozens of smaller quakes, with the strongest having a magnitude of 4.0 — enough to potentially damage buildings and bridges.

Those in geology and engineering circles are increasingly concerned that the wave of seismic activity in Dallas-Fort Worth could damage the area’s transportation infrastructure — not only bridges but also tunnels, roadways and rail lines.

“We’re talking a lot about it,” Brian Barth, the Fort Worth district engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation, said. “It is important for us to make sure we’re covered. We’ve been discussing it statewide. This isn’t the only area where we’re having these issues.” READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Trump’s rise hurts Rubio, Carson, but helps Jeb Bush

The Hill

Originally Posted: July 29, 2015

Donald Trump’s explosive rise in the polls has come at the expense of every other GOP presidential candidate except for Jeb Bush and Scott Walker — who arguably have been helped by the businessman’s rise.

The media storm surrounding Trump is starving other candidates of oxygen — including major contenders such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has seen his polling numbers plummet 3.2 percentage points since Trump’s entry. READ MORE

Dean DiPiero on KERA’s “Think” with Krys Boyd

KERA
Originally Posted: July 29, 2015

The Return Of Harper Lee

CLHO4x-UsAAzfV9.jpg-largeEarlier this month, HarperCollins published Go Set a Watchman, the novel Harper Lee called the “parent” of To Kill a Mockingbird. This hour, we’ll talk about how the book has us reconsidering Atticus Finch and the rest of the Mockingbird universe with Thomas DiPiero, dean of the Dedman College of Humanities at SMU. DiPiero reviewed Watchman for the New York Post. LISTEN

David Haynes, English, the Kimbilio Retreat at SMU-in-Taos helps black writers hone their craft

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: July 21, 2015

Southern Methodist University is building a supportive relationship between black fiction writers and an SMU sister campus in Taos, N.M.

Black fiction writers are encouraged to consider attending future sessions of the Kimbilio Retreat at the SMU-in-Taos campus. Participants are winding up this year’s retreat, which began Sunday and ends Saturday. The campus, bearing low, adobe-colored buildings, is in Ranchos de Taos, about 10 miles south of Taos.

SMU creative writing director David Haynes began Kimbilio Retreat two years ago, drawing inspiration from Cave Canem, a similar retreat for black poets that has met in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Columbia, S.C. Kimbilio is Swahili for “refuge.”

“This is an ideal place to get away and just focus on writing,” Haynes says of Taos in promotional materials.

At the current retreat, 19 fiction writing fellows are focusing on refining their manuscripts. The fellows draw support from each other, get quiet time to write and receive guidance from published writers and faculty, including Haynes.

“Sometimes you just need to sit and think, and SMU-in-Taos is ideal for doing that,” Haynes says in the materials.

To learn more, visit kimbiliofiction.com/kimbilo or call 214-768-2945. READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, comparing governors and miracles

Bloomberg

Miracles are regular occurrences for governors who want to be president of the U.S.

Rick Perry’s supporters have talked about the “Texas Miracle” of job growth. Post-recession recoveries under John Kasich and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal are the “Ohio Miracle” and “Miracle on the Bayou.”

Politicians regardless of party put a supernatural gloss on economic cause and effect. Reality is more nuanced. Bloomberg News examined the records of 10 governors and ex-governors trying to occupy the White House in 2016, considering 11 economic indicators. Below is an interactive graphic that shows the numbers, and deeper discussions of governors prominent in the race. READ MORE.

Brad Carter, Political Science, to lecture on ‘politics of anger’ at Wilbur Public Library

Dallas Morning News

Wilmer Public Library will host a lecture on Tuesday (8/4/15) about politics as part of its annual summer series.

Brad Carter, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, will talk about what influences people’s views on government and the development of a “politics of anger.” He will explore the history of political parties and how they’ve changed.

The event is free and open to the public. It will be at 7 p.m. at Gilliam Memorial Public Library, 205 E. Belt Line Road. READ MORE

Matthew Keller, Sociology, The Evolution of U.S. Innovation Policy

In a volume issued by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Prof. Keller argues that since the 1980s, the U.S. government has been involved in innovative dynamism through decentralized programs that have often fallen beneath the radar of public debates. Understanding the programs is crucial to bolstering the U.S. innovation system, and to nations that seek to emulate the U.S. capacity for innovation. The book includes work from the former Chief Economists of the World Bank and ADB, academics and policy-makers. 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

Death of 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez to be remembered this Friday in Dallas cemetery

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: July 23, 2015

Family and friends will gather this Friday morning to quietly honor the life of 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez, who was killed by a Dallas police officer 42 years ago. The boy’s mother and others will gather for prayer and flowers at his grave in Oakland Cemetery at 9 a.m. just south of downtown.

“It seems like it happened yesterday,” said Bessie Rodriguez, his 71-year-old mother. “Poor thing, just a kid. I have dreams of him pleading for his life.”

The mother loves Elvis, the son loved Santana. The son told her he’d always protect her, the mother says. Memories like that give some balance to the brutality around her boy’s death. READ MORE