Looking for last-minute gifts? Cherri Gann of SMU News compiles an annual list featuring books published in 2017 by the SMU community – including faculty, staff, alumni, libraries and museum.
This collection always has something for everyone, whether their reading preferences are light or serious, ranging from nonfiction to novels and from scholarly to children’s titles. Some selections are available at the SMU Bookstore, and most are available via online booksellers.
Three Roads to Magdalena is a unique blend of oral, social and childhood history about a region of New Mexico that Adams fell in love with while serving as curriculum director at a Navajo Reservation school in Alamo, New Mexico. Thirty miles to the northwest was Magdalena, a once-booming frontier town where Navajo, Anglo and Hispanic people have lived in shifting, sometimes separate, sometimes overlapping worlds for well over a century.
Adams’ time as a Clements Center Fellow from 2005-06 afforded him the opportunity to hone several thousand pages of multi-faceted, highly personal research he had collected into what would become this 454-page book, published by University Press of Kansas.
Now professor emeritus of history and education at Cleveland State University in Ohio, Adams teaches courses about the American West and Native American history. He also is the author of the acclaimed 1995 book, Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928.
The Weber-Clements Award, overseen by the Western History Association (WHA), honors fine writing and original research on the American Southwest. The competition is open to any nonfiction book on Southwestern life published in the year prior to its selection. The winning author receives $2,500.
Three Roads to Magdalena “draws upon a precious trove of interviews to explain what it was like growing up in this multicultural borderland during the late 19th and 20th centuries,” WHA judges noted. “From the hazy, tactile memories of early childhood through the hot and precise recollections of adolescent adventures, people across the region shared moving and intimate stories of the kind historians are seldom privileged enough to hear. Balancing critical distance with insight, humor and compassion, Adams has woven these recollections together into a book that is wise, challenging, absorbing, ingeniously researched and beautifully written.”
SMU history professor Neil Foley recently made the book required reading in his graduate-level class, “Citizenship and Transnational Identity.” When Foley learned that two of his assigned books had been considered for the Weber-Clements Prize, “I decided to ask the students, ‘If you were on the prize committee, which one of these two finalists do you think should win?’ After a straw poll, the students unanimously agreed Three Roads to Magdalena should take the prize. And to everyone’s delight, Foley informed the class that Adams’ book did win.
“That just goes to show you don’t have to be a professional historian to write good history [Adams has a doctorate in education] – and you don’t need to be a professional historian to know when you’re reading good history,” Foley says.
More than a typical travelogue, the book would bring the reader into the minds of explorers, missionaries, and travelers as they encountered and then wrote about memorable places both manmade and naturally formed, becoming the first non-natives to do so. From impressions of 15 sites in Arizona, New Mexico, southern Utah and southern Colorado, readers would gain present-day as well as historical perspectives. The destinations would range from the gracefully sculpted rock formations of Canyon de Chelly, to the mesa fortress of Acoma Pueblo, to the conflict-ridden village of Santa Fe, described by an 18th century Franciscan as, “A rough stone set in fine metal,” referring to, “The very beautiful plain on which it sits.”
But first the journey of the unfinished manuscript would have to continue. David’s widow, Carol Weber, who had served consistently as the final reviewer of all of David’s manuscripts, knew that this project deserved a place in her husband’s legacy of eloquent and inspired scholarship. As she considered who might complete the manuscript, Carol turned to their friend, author William deBuys. Like David, Bill had received a shower of honors for his creative and scholarly works. In addition, Bill had earned the distinction of being a fellow of the Clements Center for Southwest Studies, founded in 1996 by David at SMU, where he taught for 34 years.
Over a number of these years, David and Bill grew in admiration of each other’s work. David had revolutionized contemporary understanding of borderlands history. Bill had earned a national reputation for his analyses of environmental issues threatening the Southwest. They also grew as friends sharing a deep affection for the region, its people and places. “For both of us, the Southwest has been a source of lifelong fascination, and through the vehicle of this book we hope to share it,” Bill writes in the preface of First Impressions, published by Yale University Press in August.
The production of First Impressions required some highly focused sleuthing and sifting through a bounty of materials in the three offices of David Weber – in SMU’s History Department and at the family’s homes in Dallas and in New Mexico’s Zuni Mountains, near the monumental El Morro, or Inscription Rock, so called because it bears the signatures of early explorers etched into its sandstone façade. Each of David’s offices was filled to capacity with books, research notes, correspondence, manuscripts, drafts, and computers holding the contents of David’s prolific research and writing. Carol found a hard copy of David’s table of contents and a number of chapters in different states of completion. She and Bill worked with Center for Southwest Studies staff, especially Ruth Ann Elmore, to download and decipher David’s computer files.
The Center had awarded Bill a second fellowship to work on the project.
“I chose Bill because I knew he was a sensitive and wonderful writer, and David felt the same way about him,” Carol said. “I couldn’t imagine any other historian finishing David’s work in a way that would have pleased David because it would be so beautifully written.”
In the preface to First Impressions, Bill recalls cherished conversations with David about “the general business of making good sentences, paragraphs, and pages. David was a naturally gifted writer.”
Aside from representing his admiration for David, Bill said he took on the project because he “thought the concept of the book was brilliant and offered a truly exciting and informative way to explore the great places of the region. David, ever the professor, had a wonderful pedagogical purpose: He wanted to present primary sources — original historical documents and images — to people who otherwise might be unlikely to encounter them. In this I completely concurred. It is a form of stealth teaching — and wonderful fun at the same time.”
David’s works include 27 books, many of them recognized as path-breaking in the field by such organizations as the American Historical Association. The Mexican Frontier, 1821-1846: The American Southwest Under Mexico itself won six awards. Two governments gave David the highest honor they can bestow on foreigners. King Juan Carlos of Spain named him to the Real Orden de Isabel la Católica, the Spanish equivalent of a knighthood. Mexico named him to the Orden Mexicana del Águila Azteca (the Order of the Aztec Eagle). He was one of a few U.S. historians elected to the Mexican Academy of History. Closer to home, in 2007 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Upon release of First Impressions, Carol told Bill: “It was my love for David that prompted me to ask you if you would finish the book, and it was such an act of love for David, I think, that you willingly took so much time out of your life to finish it for David and our family. Somehow David’s life now seems complete.”
Complete – but not finished. Now, First Impressions, with William deBuys, adds to the lasting legacy of David J. Weber and the rich literary resources of their beloved Southwest.
Still shopping for the holidays? Complete your gift list with books published in 2016 by the SMU community, including faculty, staff members, trustees, alumni, libraries and museum.
From history to art to science to the Southwest, this year’s compilation by SMU News’ Cherri Gann has selections to please readers of poetry, personal and spiritual enrichment, young adult fiction and celebrity memoir. There’s a southern-themed cookbook for foodies, an uproarious card game based on the language of the Bard, and an arty crime caper filled with mystery and intrigue.
Some selections are available at the SMU bookstore, but all are available via online booksellers unless otherwise noted. Authors are listed alphabetically.
The national protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline have drawn thousands to rallies throughout the country, including Dallas. What is Standing Rock and its history, and what is the basis of the dispute over the pipeline?
An invited panel moderated by Ben Voth, associate professor of corporate communications and public affairs in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, will take on these questions and more at SMU.
The panelists include the following experts, who will each bring a different perspective to the discussion:
Archaeology – Kelly Morgan is president of Lakota Consulting LLC, which provides professional cultural and tribal liaison services in field archaeology. She works to protect cultural and natural resources alongside other archaeologists and environmentalists in North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota and on the island of Guam. Currently she is the tribal archaeologist for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Morgan received her PhD. in American Indian studies from the University of Oklahoma.
Energy – Craig Stevens is a spokesman for the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN), a partnership aimed at supporting the economic development and energy security benefits in the Midwest. MAIN is a project of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council, with members in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Illinois – the states crossed by the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. Previously Stevens served as a spokesman for two cabinet secretaries, a surgeon general, and a member of Congress. He also worked on two presidential campaigns.
Environmental – Andrew Quicksall is the J. Lindsay Embrey Trustee Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering. His research focuses on aqueous metal enrichment and water contamination in the natural environment by probing both solution and solid chemistry of natural materials. He received his Ph.D. in earth science from Dartmouth College.
Tribal history – Cody Two Bears, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Councilman and tribal member who represents the Cannon Ball district of the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota.
Law – Eric Reed (Choctaw Nation), J.D., is a Dallas lawyer who specializes in American Indian law, tribal law and international indigenous rights. Reed received a B.S in economics and finance and a B.A. in anthropology from SMU and his J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law.
Mechanical – Tayeb “Ty” Benchaita is a managing partner of B&G Products and Services LLP, a consulting company in Houston that specializes in products quality control and assurance, products manufacturing and operations for the oil, fuels petrochemical, oil refining, lubricants, re-refining, and environmental industries. He holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and executive management training from the Harvard Business School.
Public policy – Michael Lawson is president of MLL Consulting which provides historical research and analysis for government agencies, Native American tribes, law firms and other private clients. Additionally, he is of counsel to Morgan, Angel & Associates, L.L.C. in Washington, D.C., where he formerly served as a partner. Lawson received his Ph.D. in American history and cultural anthropology from the University of New Mexico and is author of Dammed Indians Revisited: The Continuing History of the Pick-Sloan Plan and the Missouri River Sioux (South Dakota State Historical Society: 2010).
Torget will be honored Tuesday, Sept. 27 at a 5:30 p.m. reception, followed by a 6 p.m. lecture and book-signing in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. To register, call 214-768-3684 or visit the Clements Center website.
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. The $2,500 prize, administered by the Western History Association, is given for fine writing and original research on the American Southwest and is open to any nonfiction book, including biography, on any aspect of Southwestern life, past or present.
Torget, associate professor of history at the University of North Texas and the Clements Center’s inaugural David J. Weber Fellow, has won nine major book awards for Seeds of Empire, including the Weber-Clements Prize. The book explores the roles 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 included 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.
Free Valentine’s Day Piano Duo Concert: Internationally acclaimed pianists and SMU alumni Liudmila Georgievskaya and Thomas Schwan will give a two-piano recital, featuring works of Mozart and Otto Singer’s rarely performed and brilliant transcription of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3. The concert is Sunday, Feb. 14 beginning at 7:30 in Caruth Auditorium.
TEDxSMU Live 2016: Beginning Feb. 15 and running through Feb. 19, TEDxSMU will host live simulcast talks of the TED 2016 conference. Free and open to the SMU community, you are invited for one talk, one session or the whole week! Viewing will be held in 253 Caruth Hall on the SMU campus.
Walter Horne’s “Triple Execution” Postcards:Death on the Border: Using photographer Walter Horne’s “Triple Execution” images of the Mexican Revolution, Claudia Zapata, SMU Ph.D. candidate in Rhetorics of Art, Space and Culture, examines the pattern that Horne used to portray the role of Mexico and Mexican identity in the picture postcard format. The event is sponsored by the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies and will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at noon in McCord Auditorium.
Tower Center Monthly Seminar: On Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 11 a.m., James C. Garand, the Emogene Pliner Distinguished Professor and R. Downs Poindexter Professor of Political Science at Louisiana State University, will speak on “Is it Documentation, or is it Immigration? Exploring the Effects of Attitudes Toward Documented and Undocumented Immigrants on Immigration Policy Attitudes.” Garand will examine the effects of attitudes toward documented and undocumented immigrants on immigration policy attitudes. The event will be held in the Tower Center Boardroom, 227 Carr Collins Hall. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. Please RSVP to email@example.com.
The Life and Times of George McGovern:The Rise of a Prairie Statesman, The Life and Times of George McGovern is the first major biography of the 1972 Democratic presidential candidate who became America’s most eloquent and prescient critic of the Vietnam War. In it, Thomas Knock, SMU Associate Professor and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor in the William P. Clements Department of History, traces McGovern’s life from his rustic boyhood in a South Dakota prairie town during the Depression to his rise to the pinnacle of politics at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago as police and antiwar demonstrators clashed in the city’s streets. The book will be available for purchase and signing after the event.
The event, sponsored by the Center for Presidential History, will be on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. in McCord Auditorium and is free and open to the public. Registration is required, and seating is not guaranteed. For more information visit SMU.EDU/CPH.
Stagger Lee: The Dallas Theater Center production of SMU Artist-in-Residence Will Power‘s new musical Stagger Lee will come to an end on Sunday, Feb. 15.Originally premiering in January as part of Will Power’s Meadows Prize residency, Stagger Lee was partially developed in workshops in collaboration with the Meadows School of the Arts. Tickets for Stagger Lee are available for purchase online.
Faculty Chamber Music Recital: SMU Meadows School of the Arts presents Liudmila Georgievskaya in the Faculty Chamber Music Recital on Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m., in Caruth Auditorium. Acclaimed pianists Georgievskaya and Thomas Schwan will give a two-piano recital with Otto Singer’s rarely performed transcriptions of two of Mozarts great works, the Symphonies No. 40 and 41. For more information, call 214.768.2787.
From Columns to Characters: The Presidency and Press in the Digital Age: Scholars and journalists experienced in the effects of today’s digital reality will visit SMU to examine the evolving nature of the presidency and the press in all-day conference on Tuesday, Feb. 17. While the conference is free and open to the public, guests are encouraged to register online. For more information regarding the conference and conference participants, click here.
Meadows Opera Theatre: The award-winning Meadows Opera Theatre, directed by Hank Hammett, presents the two-act opera Susannah. Tickets are $7 for students, faculty and staff and are available for purchase online. The production will run from Thursday, Feb. 5 through Sunday, Feb. 8, in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center. For more information, call 214-768-2787.
Meadows Museum Symposium: Co-organized by the Meadows Museum and Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History, the Meadows Museum Symposium presents “Curating Goya,”Saturday, Feb. 7, 10 a.m., in the Bob Smith Auditorium, Meadows Museum. Curators of recent and upcoming shows on Francisco Goya will discuss how different approaches to exhibiting Goya’s work invite new paths for understanding his art. While this is a free event with no registration required, seating will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, call 214-768-4677.
Public Debate: SMU Debate Team vs. National Debate Team of Rwanda: Sponsored by the Meadows School’s Division of Communication Studies, SMU hosts a one-hour debate with the Rwandan national debate team Wednesday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m., in Umphrey Lee Center, Room 241. The topic for the evening debate is “The United States has an obligation to take the international lead against global instances of genocide.” The SMU debate team will take the affirmative and Rwanda will take the negative. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, email Dr. Ben Voth or call 214-768-2787.
Christmas Worship Services: The annual Christmas Worship Services will take place Thursday, Dec. 4, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., in Perkins Chapel. These services reflect the liturgical context of the Advent season, the musical traditions of Perkins School of Theology and Meadows School of the Arts, and the muliticultural environment of SMU. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 214-768-2091.
Houston Faust Mount II Book Signing: The SMU Central University Libraries present a book signing for Oilfield Revolutionary: The Career of Everette Lee DeGolyer with author Houston Faust Mount II Thursday, Dec. 4, 6 p.m., in the DeGolyer Library. The novel explores DeGolyer’s influence on oil exploration through national politics, geology and philanthropy. For additional information, visit the CUL News blog.
Meadows Symphony: Meadows School of the Arts presents Meadows Symphony Orchestra: Mozart, Weber and StraussFriday, Dec. 5, 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 7, 3 p.m., in the Caruth Auditorium. The performance will feature Meadows Associate Professor Carol Leone as a soloist for Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D minor, as well as Weber’s Overture to Der Freischutz and Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra. Tickets are $7 for students, faculty and staff. For more information, call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).