On view at the Bullock Texas State History Museum from 4/14/18 through 01/02/19, Comanche Motion: The Art of Eric Teppeconnic is an exhibition of thirty-four works by contemporary Comanche artist Eric Teppeconnic, paired with historical Comanche artifacts.


Eric Tippeconnic, “The Chairman.” Acrylic on Canvas, Bullock Texas State History Museum.



Per the Bullock Museum’s description of the exhibition:

“Filled with symbolism and meaning, Tippeconnic’s paintings highlight the strength, beauty, and grace of the Comanche past and present. The paintings are rich with history and the unbroken connection the Comanche people have with their roots, but they are not romanticized or stagnant expressions of a bygone era. Rather, Tippeconnic’s art is full of movement, color, and life — a bold statement that Comanche culture is vibrantly alive in the modern world.”

More information about the exhibition can be found here.

Eric Tippeconnic is a visual artist whose father is Comanche, and whose mother is a first generation immigrant from Copenhagen. You can learn more about his work and biography here.

Steve Hoelscher, Shirley Thompson to Discuss late-19th C. “Visual Representations of Race and Ethnicity” at HRC

In conjunction with the exhibition “Vaudeville!,” Chair of the American Studies Department and Ransom Center Faculty Curator Steven Hoelscher will lead a conversation about visual representations of race and ethnicity from the late nineteenthvaudvillecentury to the present. The panel conversation will take place Tuesday, April 17th at 4:30 PM at the Harry Ransom Center.

Panelists will include Jacqueline Jones, Professor and Chair, Department of History; Leonard N. Moore, Professor, Department of History and Vice President of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (Interim); and Shirley E. Thompson, Associate Professor, Department of American Studies and Department of African and African Diaspora Studies.

You can RSVP for the event on Facebook.

Rapoport Center Hosts Event, 3/29: “The Role of Law in the Production of Inequality.” Shirley E. Thompson (UT AMS), Walter Johnson Among Speakers

The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice will host a major event entitled “The Role of Law in the Production of Inequality:  Anthropological and Historical Perspectives” this Thursday, March 29th from 4 – 7 PM in the Edelman Courtroom (CCJ 2.306) at the University of Texas Law School. Two guest speakers willdeliver lectures, followed by responses from members of the UT-Austin, New York University, and Harvard Law School faculties, including Dr. Shirley E. Thompson,johnson eventAssociate Professor of American Studies at UT-Austin.

Dr. Thompson will deliver one of the responses to Dr. Walter Johnson’s lecture, “‘No Rights Which the White Man is Bound to Respect’: The Removalist Strain in American Anti-Blackness.”  Dr. Johnson is the Winthrop Professor of History and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.  He is the author of Soul By Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Trade Market (2008, Harvard UP) and River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom (2013 Harvard UP).  Dr. Vasuki Nesiah (NYU) will deliver the other response to Dr. Johnson’s lecture.

Dr. James Ferguson is the Susan S. and William H. Hindle Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, Department of Anthropology, Stanford University. He will deliver the other keynote lecture, entitled “Rightful Shares and the Claims of Presence: Distributive Politics beyond Labor and Citizenship.” Dr. Sharmila Rudrappa (UT-Austin), and Dr. Lucie E. White (Harvard Law School), will deliver the two responses to Dr. Ferguson’s lecture.





TONIGHT: Siva Vaidhyanathan Speaks on “Antisocial Media”: BMC 2.106, 7 PM

Dr. Siva Vaidhyanathan will deliver a talk this evening at the Belo Center for New Media entitled “Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects People and Undermines Democracy.” A full description of the event, including a longer biography of Dr. Vaidhyanathan, can be found here.

siva v

Dr. Vaidhyanathan is the Robertson Professor of Media Studies and director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia. He is an acclaimed journalist, scholar, and speaker, and a graduate of the UT-Austin American Studies doctoral program. His research and writing has focused on the relationship between legal notions of intellectual property and the development of the digital sphere, and his books include Intellectual Property: A Very Short Introduction (2017 OUP) and The Googlization of Everything–and Why We Should Worry about It (2011 UCP), among others. Dr. Vaidhyanathan has written for journalistic publications such as The New York Times, Dissent, and The Nation, and has appeared as an analyst on BBC, CNN, and ABC, among other networks.

Below is the abstract for Dr. Vaidhyanathan’s talk; please stop by if you can!

“If you wanted to build a machine that would distribute propaganda to millions of people, distract them from important issues, energize hatred and bigotry, erode social trust, undermine respectable journalism, foster doubts about science, and engage in massive surveillance all at once, you would make something a lot like Facebook. Facebook grew out of an ideological commitment to data-driven decision making and logical thinking. Its culture is explicitly cosmopolitan and tolerant of difference and dissent. Both its market orientation and its labor force are global. Facebook also indulges a strong missionary bent, one that preaches the power of connectivity and the spread of knowledge to empower people to change their lives for the better. No company better represents the dream of a fully connected planet “sharing” words, ideas, images, and plans. No company has better leveraged those ideas into wealth and influence. No company has contributed more to the global collapse of basic tenets of deliberation and democracy. How did the mission go so wrong? Facebook’s leaders believed that good intentions were enough, and that blind faith in technology could generate a better world.”

“Heart of the Mission”: An Interview with Dr. Cary Cordova

This past year, Dr. Cary Cordova, Associate Professor of American Studies at UT-Austin, published her first book, The Heart of the Mission: Latino Art and Politics in San Francisco with University of Pennsylvania Press. To celebrate the release of Heart of the Mission, Sarah Carlson, a doctoral student in UT-Austin’s American Studies program, sat down with Dr. Cordova to discuss the genesis of the project as a dissertation; the various pools of inspiration from which Dr. Cordova drew her research questions; the writing process and its relationship to teaching and community engagement; and much, much more. Please read on!

Cordova book cover

SC: Can you tell us generally just a little about the book, the project, and how you came to it initially?

CC: I’m originally from San Francisco, and I had come to graduate school here at the University of Texas at Austin in American Studies. It was around the time for me to figure out what my dissertation was going to be about and I was struggling. I knew that I had come here specifically to work in Latino Studies, but I had somewhat initially thought that my interests were going to be literary. But, because I had a background in art history and because a lot of things were happening in the Mission District in San Francisco at that time in terms of gentrification, I suddenly started thinking about the possibility of writing about where I came from. I had travelled a lot and I had seen the ways in which there is the influence of geography and economic demographics on how people understand Mexican Americans or Chicanos or Latinos. And I had never seen work that represented San Francisco in that conversation in a meaningful way.  So that became the project.

SC: So it started as your dissertation. All projects inevitably change, so how did this change from when it started as a dissertation and also, when did you know it was time to shift gears. How do you know when you just have to say, “this is different from what I started with?”

CC: Okay, so there are a couple of gears in there, because there are a couple ways in which it finally became a dissertation, and then it finally became a book. In terms of a dissertation and the process of it coming alive, I had help and support from archives and fellowships that made it possible to write. That’s important. But also I think that I had gotten to a point where I just needed to be done. And I think that it’s a really important, transformative moment, mentally for a scholar, when you are so committed to being done. That was incredibly helpful for putting words on a page.

In terms of how the project changed: I think the project was always perhaps overly ambitious. I sometimes counsel students now to bring it down a notch. I learned that there were some things I just wasn’t going to be able to do. Those things are on shelves in my mind. And so there was some level of acceptance for that.

The hardest part about transforming the project into the book was that I had to both expand it and cut it a lot.

SC: Okay, can you talk about that? Simultaneously writing for expansion and concision?

CC: Basically, I had to cut probably 20,000 words or something. Like a lot of words. Thousands of words. And probably more than that because there were also spaces that needed clarification. In terms of a transition from the dissertation to the book, there were at least three new chapters that were added.

So there were more chapters but less space. Which was maybe a good thing for me, because it made every word excruciatingly important. I think it’s really helpful in a way in a book that you realize that you don’t have to be as repetitive or redundant as you do in a dissertation. There’s some way in a dissertation in which you have to constantly affirm your argument. In a book you have some level of fluidity and maybe also hope that people have been reading along with you and that these things you’re pointing out are not necessarily coming out of the blue. You can focus on the really necessary parts.

I think there’s a huge learning curve to writing a dissertation. None of us has ever done it before. Some of us have maybe seen it done by others, but that’s quite different from trying to figure out:  “How do I structure things? Am I going to be chronological? Am I going to be thematic? How do I integrate my sources? How do i have an argument? What is my argument?” And so for the dissertation, those are just basic fundamentals, and then for a book its important to reach out much more to other scholars and hopefully other people in the community in the world that have an interest in the topic. Trying to make it legible and accessible and teachable are some of the things that go into transforming a dissertation into a book.

SC: You mention that no one has done a dissertation before they do one, and that you have to confront all these daunting questions. But of course, other people have done it, just not the way you do it. So who are people or what are other projects that, during your dissertation, you looked to or were inspired by? And then during your book, what or who informed the way you did things?

CC: I think when I was initially processing what I wanted to do I was really inspired by by the work on the Harlem Renaissance, and I loved how a variety of scholars had pinpointed this moment in time when a lot of artists and writers and intellectuals were communicating with each other and forming an intellectual community. I couldn’t help but think about the ways in which that registered for me in terms of thinking about the artists and the activists that I knew from San Francisco, especially in the Mission District. So I think that scholarship was an inspiration and ambition.

SC: Where do you see this fitting in academic conversations, but also in a broader conversation beyond strictly scholarly writing?

CC: In terms of where the work fits, I have always thought of my work as some sort of an intersection between American Studies and Latino Studies, and I’ve gradually learned that I’m very historical. I always approach my work as an interdisciplinary scholar but I have come to realize and accept that there are a lot of ways in which my work has been deeply informed by historians and the techniques of historians.

I would also hope that it is readable. I did want it to be accessible to the people I was writing about. I think that that was a really important component for me.

SC: Speaking of the relationship between scholarly work and communicating with audiences besides scholars: how does your research affect how you teach? And how does your teaching inform what you’re doing as a scholar?

CC: A lot. I think one thing that I learned as a teacher was to try to simplify, to try to really find my priorities in terms of what I was going to lecture about or what I was going to focus on in classroom. And I started to think about the applicability of that as a writer and the ways in which I really needed to prioritize what was most important in my argument and allow for the fact that maybe not everything else was going to fit in perfectly, maybe it was okay to lose some information for the sake of streamlining and making something more cohesive.

That was really important. I think also teaching helped me think about chapters in a more helpful way, because I started to think about the relationship between lectures and chapters. Approaching chapters as lectures can allow you to think of a chapter as its own contained way of reaching people–still part of the book, but also including its own argument and its own life. I felt like that was helpful for me in terms of structuring my ideas.

SC: Related to teaching and writing, I have one last big question. What advice do you have for students, whether they are working on their undergraduate term papers, working toward a dissertation, or turning a dissertation into a book?

CC: So, if its about writing, then I think part of writing is allowing yourself to do research, enjoying the process of research, but writing as you go. You can build an endless archive of research, but if you’re not transforming it into your words, then you’re just creating a harder and harder situation for yourself to finally bring your words to the page. Do a little bit of research, a little bit of writing, a little bit of research, a little bit of writing.

Kimberly Hamlin Gives Talk TODAY at Noon: “Finding Sex and Gender in the (History of Science) Archive”

Dr. Kimberly Hamilin, Associate Professor of American Studies at Miami University of Ohio, will give a talk today at noon in Garrison 1.102. Hamilin’s lecture, entitled “Finding Sex and Gender in the (History of Science) Archive,” will consider the relationship between scientific study, gender, and the women’s rights movements of the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.

Hamlin is the author of From Eve to Evolution: Darwin, Science, and Women’s Rights in Gilded Age America (2014, University of Chicago Press). She received her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin.

Hamlin talk poster

Leif Fredrickson to Give Pubic Lecture this Monday (2/19) morning: “The Age of Lead: How Suburbanization Poisoned the Inner City”

Dr. Leif Fredrickson, Ambrose Monell Fellow in Technology and Democracy at the Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, will give a public lecture this Monday, February 19th at 9 AM. The lecture will be held in Burdine (BUR) 214, and will feature a question and answer period following the lecture.

Fredrickson will lecture on a key aspect of his research: the link between mid-century processes of suburbanization and the environmental degradation of inner cities. Specifically, Fredrickson’s talk will examine the history of lead poisoning in Baltimore and the nation, exploring how metropolitan development – especially suburbanization – produced or exacerbated unequal lead exposure to across racial, spatial, and class lines. Suburbanites and suburban development benefited from lead-related technologies, such as lead piping, lead-solder, lead-acid batteries and leaded gasoline. These benefits were often not shared by those in the inner city, however. Moreover, many of the pollution externalities of these technologies were foisted onto the residents of the inner city. This was particularly true of leaded gasoline used by suburban commuters. But the production and recycling of other lead products, such as lead-acid batteries, was also concentrated in the inner city, and so was the pollution from these products. In addition, suburbanization increased lead hazards in the inner city by accelerating housing deterioration, which exacerbated lead paint hazards. Some suburbanites even benefited more directly from this housing deterioration through their profitable ownership of slum housing in the inner city. Suburbanites, meanwhile, were able to carve out healthier, and wealthier, environments on the metropolitan periphery.