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.
Bearing witness to Poland’s deep physical and emotional scars that linger long after World War II – when the Nazis made the country the epicenter of the Holocaust – is the focus of a new book by SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program.
No Resting Place: Holocaust Poland (Terrace Partners, $39.95) combines more than 200 contemporary photos of occupied Poland’s deadliest Holocaust sites with historical vignettes and poignant observations from those who have experienced one of the most comprehensive, longest-running Shoah study trips offered by a U.S. university.
Each December, the two-week “Holocaust Poland” trip – led for more than 20 years by SMU Prof. Rick Halperin – exposes students and lifelong learners to the Third Reich’s genocidal “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.” Both the trip and book are meant to ensure historical remembrance and “history as warning,” says history professor and co-author Halperin. “In our increasingly polarized world, where hate crimes against Jews and Muslims are on the rise, the need for tolerance and understanding has never been greater.”
Dallas philanthropist and SMU alumna Lauren Embrey (’80, ’06) couldn’t agree more. Embrey’s life would be profoundly changed by the 2005 “Holocaust Poland” pilgrimage she took while pursuing a Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) degree at SMU. In 2006, Lauren, her sister Gayle, and their Embrey Family Foundation funded the pioneering Embrey Human Rights Program, led by Halperin, within SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. In 2012, enthusiasm for the program allowed SMU to go from offering a human rights minor and MLS concentration in human rights and social justice to providing a Bachelor of Arts degree in the field, making SMU one of only five U.S. universities to do so. (Since then, two others have followed suit.)
Since Halperin began leading SMU study trips to Poland in 1996, the number of participants has grown from a handful to more than three dozen who went on the 20th anniversary pilgrimage in 2016 (including two dozen students able to travel thanks to a gift from SMU alumnus Mike Disque ’64 and his wife, Cherri). To commemorate the program’s 10th anniversary and trip’s second decade, Halperin teamed up with SMU colleagues Sherry Aikman and Denise Gee to create No Resting Place.
The trio’s primary objective was to produce a book sensitively depicting “the last places ever seen by millions of innocent people who didn’t want to die in such horrific places,” Halperin says. “And unlike most other Holocaust books we wanted this one to be produced in color – because the Holocaust happened in color.”
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.
A new book edited by SMU Art Chair Noah Simblist will have its official launch at the 2015 New York Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1, Sept. 18-20.
Places of a Present Past brings together three exhibitions, all showcasing the work of international video artists, that were presented at the Meadows School of the Arts’ Pollock Gallery in 2014. All of them were curated by Simblist and the Pollock Gallery’s 2014 curatorial fellow, Sally Frater. Each shared a common theme: addressing the traces of trauma on particular sites and paying close attention to the lasting impacts of war.
The exhibitions explored in the book include Jin-me Yoon’s Extended Temporalities, which invoked the colonial relationship between Japan and Korea in the first half of the 20th century; the group show Where Are You From?, which included artworks by Aissa Deebi, Kamal Aljafari and Dor Guez recounting the story of the Israeli occupation of Palestine; and the Sarah Morris film 1972, alluding to the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, during which 11 Israeli athletes were kidnapped and murdered by a Palestinian terrorist group, pointing to the legacy of the Holocaust in Germany and beyond.
“The artworks in the book are bound together by a historiographical impulse,” said Simblist, chair and associate professor of art in the Meadows School. “In some sense, these artists act as historians. However, they are less interested in the truth than the way we feel through the legacies of past traumas. They reveal the oblique ways that we repress historical trauma, burying it in the very sites of their origin. Places of a Present Past is filled with an archaeological ethic, metaphorically digging down, both spatially and psychologically, into the depths of transnational grief.”
Faculty, staff, students and alumni: Did you publish a general-interest book in 2014? SMU News is seeking information on your publications for possible inclusion in its end-of-year holiday book list.
Director of Online Communications Gary Shultz has made it easy: Just fill out this web form and click. Include your name and title, e-mail address, the title of your new book, month and year of its publication, and a brief description. Please include a web address where News and Communications can find more information. The deadline is Friday, Dec. 12, 2014.
After you send in your information, please email a high-resolution copy of your book cover to SMU Books.
Economics SeminarSeries: The Department of Economics presentsDenis Nekipelov from the Departments of Economics and Computer Science at the University of Virginia. Dr. Nekipelov will share his recent work on advertising Friday, Sept. 19, 2 p.m. in 303 Umphrey Lee. For more information about the seminar series, click here.
Friday Night Stampede: Celebrate the 100th season of SMU Athletics and the first home football game by joining SMU for a special Friday Night Stampede on Sept. 19. Put on your red spirit attire and head out for the dedication of the new Mustang Band Hall at7 p.m. Stick around for a block party starting at 7:30 p.m. on Mustang Mall. Then at 8:30 p.m. enjoy a Mustang Band concert and pep rally Doak Walker Plaza. For more information, visit the SMU Stampede homepage.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Book Signing: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand presents Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the WorldSunday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Theater.Off the Sidelines is New York Senator Gillibrand’s call to action encouraging every woman and girl to make their voice heard on issues they care about. This event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase.
World Peace Day: Celebrate World Peace Day with live music, poetry, food and special guest speakers from Human Rights Initiative, Dallas Peace Center, and other local organizations. The event will take place Sunday, Sept. 21,4-7 p.m. on the Quad in front of Dallas Hall. For more information, e-mail Amber Jackson.
Jason Mellard’s Progressive Country: How the 1970s Transformed the Texan in Popular Culture (University of Texas Press, 2013) won the Texas State Historical Association’s 2013 Coral Horton Tullis Memorial Prize for Best Book on Texas History. He completed his Ph.D. in American studies at the University of Texas-Austin in 2009 and was a 2010-11 Clements Fellow. He is currently the assistant director at the Center for Texas Music History at Texas State University in San Marcos.
Ph.D. graduate Alicia Dewey won the Robert A. Calvert Book Prize for the best manuscript on the history of the American South, West or Southwest submitted in 2013 to Texas A&M University Press. Her book, Pesos and Dollars: Entrepreneurs in the Texas-Mexico Borderlands, 1880-1940, is scheduled for publication in summer 2014. Dewey earned her Ph.D in history at SMU in 2007 and is currently an associate professor of history at Biola University in La Mirada, California.
Established in fall 1996, the Clements Center in SMU’s Dedman College is internationally known as an incubator for research and writing and an organizer of public programming, all related to the American Southwest.
The center annually provides post-doctoral fellowships for scholars studying the American Southwest and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, allowing them to focus on additional research and to further develop manuscripts, leading to publication by prestigious presses in cooperation with the Center.
Fellowships to emerging and senior scholars have resulted in 38 books published by 17 major university presses. Nine more Clements Center Fellows have publications forthcoming.