Graduate Student Research Showcase

Friday, September 13, 2019 1:00pm– 5:00pm
Stephen F. Austin Building, 1700 Congress Ave. Room 170

Christopher MenkingChristopher Menking, University of North Texas - Conquered Frontier: How the US Army Helped Change the Geography of the US-Mexico Borderlands This presentation will demonstrate how the U.S. Army Quartermaster Department left a lasting impact did the presence on the Lower Río Grande Borderlands, especially the region of South Texas, during the interwar period of 1848-1860. The results of the war on South Texas and the presence of the Quartermaster Department along the Río Grande served as a catalyst for economic, geographic, social, and demographic changes along this borderland region. Combining primary source analysis of the wartime logistical efforts with a synthesis of divergent military and social histories of the Lower Río Grande Valley borderlands will demonstrate the clear influence of the Department on the development of South Texas during the mid-nineteenth century. The presence of the Quartermaster Department, with lucrative Army contracts, created an economic environment that favored Anglo-American entrepreneurs allowing them to grow in wealth and begin to supplant the traditional Tejano/Mexican-American power structure in South Texas. This Anglo-dominated outcome shaped South Texas for decades to follow. The most visible result being the numerous new towns that appeared on the borderlands map north of the Río Grande.

About Christopher Menking: Christopher Menking is a PhD student at the University of North Texas studying the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands during the Mexican-American War Era. His dissertation is titled: Catalyst for Change in the Borderlands: U.S. Army Logistics during the U.S.-Mexico War and the Post-War Period, 1846-1860. Currently he is working full time at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth as an Associate Professor of History. Other projects he is working on include a concert of Mexican-American War Music, a book chapter in Battlefields and Homefronts: Expanding Boundaries in Food and Warfare, 1840-1990, for the University of Arkansas Press discussing United States Soldiers’ first interactions with Mexican food, and an article on women during the Mexican-American War. He is expected to graduate from UNT in December of 2019.

Jackson PearsonJackson Pearson, Texas Christian University - Borders, Commerce, and Intrigue: The Neutral Ground Agreement and the Environment of the Louisiana-Texas Borderland, 1803-1821 On November 6, 1806 American General James Wilkinson and Spanish Lieutenant Colonel Símon de Herrera averted a potential conflict by negotiating the Neutral Ground Agreement. The agreement declared the region between the Sabine River and Arroyo Hondo as outside the sovereignty of either Spain or the United States pending an international treaty. My research explores how these officers defined the Neutral Ground’s borders through nature. These “natural borders” divided the region from the sovereign influence of either nation-state’s influence. However, the conception of borders and local realities could not have been more divergent. The nature of this region created a haven for both commerce and intrigue which linked the region with the larger Atlantic world. Traders, revolutionaries, and bandits competed with Native Americans and political officials to define the contours of daily existence. This paper will explore the interconnected relationship between the nature of borders, commerce, and intrigue in the Louisiana-Texas borderland. The papers aims to enhance our understanding of the historical processes which occurred as individuals interacted with the environment in the Louisiana-Texas borderland between 1803 and 1821.

About Jackson Pearson: Jackson Pearson is a PhD Student at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. His research examines the Neutral Ground Agreement and the Louisiana-Texas Borderland beginning with the Louisiana Purchase and concluding with the implementation of the Transcontinental Treaty of 1819. His scholarship focuses on how nature and the environment defined the imperial struggle to establish sovereignty in the Louisiana-Texas Borderland. Prior to arriving at TCU, Jackson earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama.

Maria VallejoMaria Vallejo, University of Texas at El Paso - On the Rio Grande: The Mapping of San Vicente del Llano Grande and its Lasting Effects
Often the value and importance of land are overlooked, yet my research places it at the forefront by analyzing how race, class, gender, and citizenship played an integral role in land ownership through the Spanish, Mexican, Texan, and U.S. eras. San Vicente del Llano Grande land grant, in the Rio Grande Valley, offers a complex and rich history that is an essential contribution to borderlands history through its assessment of the politics of land use over the Spanish, Mexican, Texan, and U.S. eras while analyzing the ways in which empires, nation-states, families, and individuals reshape their identities over time. The Spanish land grant policies and mapping the Llano Grande are to be the focus of my presentation, if selected, since many of these practices and markers were contested or disputed after the U.S-Mexico war when the Texas government took over the public lands of the new state. Using a rope to measure, known as a cordel, mesquites or other physical markers were used to map the Llano Grande's boundary.  Located along the Rio Grande, this particular grant offers a view not only into water concerns but the bureaucracy and the systematic fashion that Spain granted land to its residents along the northern frontier colonies.

About Maria Vallejo: María G. Vallejo is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of Texas at El Paso. Vallejo is a first-generation Mexican American student who received both her bachelor’s, in Social Studies composite in 2009, and master’s degrees, in History in 2013, from the University of Texas-Pan American, now University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley. She entered the Borderlands History Ph.D. program in 2014 and is currently writing her dissertation titled “On the Rio Grande: A Struggle for Land and Citizenship in San Vicente del Llano Grande, 1749-1930.” Deriving her inspiration from her hometown and family history, her research centers on the history of Spanish land grants, gender, class, race, and citizenship throughout the Spanish and early American period in South Texas. Her publications include two book chapters on Rio Grande Valley history and the Llano Grande, as well as an article on Nuevo Santander for the Journal of South Texas.

Alejandra GarzaAlejandra Garza, University of Texas at Austin - Broncos, Brush, and Celebration: Vaqueros and Memory in South Texas, 1900-Present At twelve years of age, Horacio Evers left school to work on a ranch outside Hebbronville, Texas where he learned bronco busting, participated in cattle round-ups, and branded livestock. From then on, he was a vaquero , a cowboy. Evers was a part of a group of men, mostly Mexican American, who lived and worked on ranches well into their later years and knew the brush like the back of their hand. Studies of Texas ranches have indicated that the cattle industry declined at the turn of the twentieth century, however, they often ignore the cultural element that this industry left behind.“Broncos, Brush, and Celebration: uncovers vaqueros’ individual histories, as well as a communal history of how they came to be revered and celebrated in our times. This research focuses on public festivals that acknowledge the importance of vaqueros , against the backdrop of the ranching industry in the twentieth century. In order to uncover the full impact of this history, we must understand the people who created and curated vaquero culture.

About Alejandra Garza: Alejandra C. Garza is a PhD candidate in the History Department at the University of Texas at Austin and American Historical Association Career Diversity Fellow . Her research centers around twentieth century South Texas ranching communities. She is interested in how gender, masculinity, environmental and cultural histories intersect in this region’s history. She examines these communities as sites of memory against the backdrop of the ranching economy. Alejandra is a Texas native and grew up in South Texas. In 2014 she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Texas A&M University-Kingsville with a B.A. in History and a minor in Journalism. She began her graduate career at UT-Austin in Fall 2015 under the direction of Dr. Emilio Zamora. She is also a portfolio student in the Mexican American Latina/o Studies Department.

Ron DavisRon Davis, University of Texas at Austin - Before the Cattle Run: The Lives of Enslaved Cowboys in Tejas, the Republic of Texas, and the Lone Star State Between 1866 and 1895, approximately one quarter of all cowboys on the cattle trail were black. These men learned their trade as slaves. My Project, “Before the Cattle Run” investigates the lived experiences of enslaved cowhands in Texas in the nineteenth century.  Through an examination of personal accounts, business records, newspapers, and legal documents, I explore how black cowboys performed labor, forged community, and resisted enslavement. Since the scholarship on enslaved labor in the United States centers on the cash crops of cotton, sugar, and rice, the work of enslaved cowboys is often overlooked. This study contributes to scholarship on slavery studies and Texas history. It highlights the importance of the work of enslaved cowboys to the expansion of slavery in Texas in addition to the evolution of the American cattle industry. My research opens a window into a seldom examined history, black cowboys in Texas, during the nineteenth century.

About Ron Davis: Ron Davis is a fourth-year graduate student in the History Department at the University of Texas at Austin. He is studying under the direction of Dr. Daina Ramey Berry. His dissertation project examines enslaved cowboys, labor, and resistance in antebellum Texas. Davis received The University of Texas at Austin History Department Research Fellowship for the academic year 2019-2020. He is a twenty-two-year veteran of the U.S. military and served in various capacities through five deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Because of these experiences, his research interests also include exploring the lived experiences of black servicewomen and men from the Revolutionary War to Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. The U.S. Air Force honored Davis with a 4th Air Force Aircrew Excellence Award in 2010 for safely conducting air-to-air refueling with an F-16 Falcon, at night, during a complete loss of electrical power in his aircraft, among other commendations and medals.

Christina VillarrealChristina Villarreal, University of Texas at Austin - The Shape of Sovereignty: Native American Territoriality in the Texas Borderlands Texas was never Spanish. Throughout the seventeenth century, indigenous peoples of North America were responding—offensively and defensively—to European colonialism in different ways. Some tribes reinforced their geopolitical positions while others migrated away from colonizing forces. During this period, modern-day Texas had yet to become a site of Spanish settlement. Nonetheless, it was a diplomatic center for Native American affairs. 1 “The Shape of Sovereignty: Native American Territoriality in the Texas Borderlands” examines the impact of Native American territoriality on Spanish colonialism in Texas. Specifically, it analyses how Caddo, Karankawa, and Apache conceptualizations of domain affected Spanish settlement patterns across the eighteenth century. It argues that Native spatial realities, or the ways in which indigenous people used space and divided it politically, continued to influence land use in Texas into the nineteenth century. By limiting the movements of Spaniards, indigenous people mapped the internal and external frontiers of Texas throughout its history.

About Christina Villarreal: Christina Villarreal is a PhD candidate in the field of Latin American history at the University of Texas at Austin. She studies desertion, sanctuary, and asylum in the Spanish Gulf Coast borderlands during the late-eighteenth century. Her work theorizes the relationship between colonial domination and anti-colonial politics and examines how those dynamics played out with different groups of people, specifically in relation to different/shifting racial identities. Villarreal has received support from the Ford Foundation, Fulbright, SSRC Mellon-Mays, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. When she is not working on her dissertation, she enjoys traveling and breaking out into spontaneous song.

Penelope L. JacobusPenelope L. Jacobus, University of Texas at El Paso - The Scramble for Texas: The Republic of Texas, European Diplomatic Relations, and Imperialism in the North American Southwest, 1836-1846 Throughout the nine years of its independence, Texas became the subject of diplomatic correspondence of European states, including Britain and France, as well as Prussia and the Hanse Towns. Behind each of these European parties stood commercial interests that dovetailed with imperial motives. The Adelsverein, led by Carl Count zu Castell-Castell, Friedrich Prince of Prussia, and Karl Fürst zu Leiningen, hoped that colonisation projects in Texas would enable the German Bund, and Prussia in particular, to participate in the imperial game dominated by Britain and France. Hanseatic representatives hoped that their commercial relations with Texas would establish the Hanseatic cities as more powerful entities in the Bund dominated by Prussia, which sought to gain supremacy over this federation. Through trade with Texas, the Hansa aspired to contest Prussia’s expansion of power within the Bund and secure their status as independent Miniaturstaatswesen (miniature state entities.) Given that Texas was desperate for foreign recognition, French and British statesmen believed that they could assert more influence there and acquire cotton from a raw material producer unlikely to develop significant industry. For Britain, an independent Texas also provided an opportunity to halt the westward expansion of the U.S. and protect Mexico from U.S. imperialism.

About Penelope L. Jacobus: Penelope L. Jacobus is a doctoral student in the Borderlands History Program at the University of Texas at El Paso. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Secondary Education in 2016 and a Master of Arts in History in 2018, both from UTEP. Her research interests include European socio-economic and political ties to the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, particularly the Republic of Texas (1836-1845) and Mexico (between 1821 and 1940), as well as nineteenth-century European imperialism.  Her dissertation focuses on Euro-Texan diplomacy and its impact on power relations in the American Southwest. In particular, she considers the imperial motives behind European state and non-state actors’ interest in Texas, such as those of British, French, and Prussian officials, Hanseatic merchants and statesmen, and the German Adelsverein (Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas,) as well as how their actions influenced Mexico and the United States.

Save Texas History Symposium & Reception

Saturday, September 14, 2019 8:30 – 5:00; 7:00 PM
Intercontinental | Stephen F. Austin Hotel, 700 Congress Ave.

Dr. Juliana Barr Dr. Juliana Barr - Mapping Indian Sovereignty in Spanish Archives
Professor Barr will discuss how European cartography reveals the unequivocal territorial power exercised by Indian people within the sovereign borders of their nations and shows how the Spaniards who sought to conquer Texas instead found they had to negotiate, and were subject to, the rules and controls of Native jurisdiction. 

About Dr. Juliana Barr: Juliana Barr is an Associate Professor of History at Duke University, whose research explores dynamics of Indian-European relations in North America especially as they relate to questions of gender, political economy, diplomacy, and Native sovereignty.  She is the author of Peace Came in the Form of a Woman: Indians and Spaniards in the Texas Borderlands (2007), and co-editor of Contested Spaces of Early America (2014) and of Why You Can’t Teach U.S. History without American Indians (2015).

Dr. Gene SmithDr. Gene Smith - “Americans aspire to supremacy over the future republics of the New World”: Manifest Destiny and the Adams-Onís Treaty
Frenchman Arsène Lacarrière Latour, working on behalf of the Spanish government in the Southwest during 1816, reported that the “Americans aspire to supremacy over the future republics of the New World.”  The American government works diligently “for this same end” and “the time will come, and unfortunately is not . . . far off, when the Americans  . . . will pour in myriads into Mexico.”  The author of this plan is Mr. Jefferson. The Jeffersonian presidents—Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe—wanted to acquire the Gulf region without waging war, and decaying Spanish power in the region made that possible.  The turmoil in the region during the early nineteenth century provided opportunities for ambitious Americans to exhibit an early form of “Manifest Destiny” and the Adams-Onís Treaty did little to prevent Texas from ultimately falling under “Star and Stripes.”

About Dr. Gene Smith: Gene Allen Smith is a Professor of History at Texas Christian University, in Fort Worth.  He is author or editor of ten books as well as numerous articles and reviews on the War of 1812, naval and maritime history, and territorial expansion along the Gulf of Mexico.  His most recent book is In Harm’s Way: The American Military Experience (Oxford, 2019).  He is also a prize-winning teacher, having received awards at TCU and at Montana State University-Billings, as well as having served the 2013-14 academic-year as the Class of 1957 Distinguished Chair in Naval Heritage at the United States Naval Academy.  Since 2002 he has also served as the Director of the Center for Texas Studies at TCU, and from 2007-14 was also a curator of history at a major Fort Worth museum.

Dr. Andrew TorgetDr. Andrew Torget - Stephen F. Austin: Mapping and Remaking the Landscape of East Texas Andrew J. Torget will discuss the efforts of Stephen F. Austin to explore, map, and remake the landscape of east Texas during the 1820s and early 1830s.  From the moment he entered Texas, Austin began surveying the region with plans to “transform” the wilderness into “productive” settlements.  The Anglo colonists who followed Austin enacted this vision by constructing new roads, making new boundaries, and creating new networks across the Texas territories as they redrew lines of commerce, trade, politics, and the movement of information in the Texas borderlands.  Torget will detail the efforts of Austin and his colonists to remap and reshape eastern Texas during these decades, examining their lasting impacts on the region.

About Dr. Andrew Torget: Andrew J. Torget received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and is a historian of nineteenth-century North America at the University of North Texas, where he holds the University Distinguished Teaching Professorship.  The founder and director of numerous digital humanities projects -- including the Digital Austin Papers, Mapping Texts, the Texas Slavery Project, and Voting America – he runs a digital scholarship lab at UNT.  His most recent book, Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, won twelve book prizes and honors and was hailed by Texas Monthly as “the most nuanced and authoritative rewriting of Texas's origin myth to date.”  He is currently writing a book on the rise and destruction of nineteenth-century Galveston.

Jay BuckleyDr. Jay Buckley - Zebulon Pike and His Contemporaries: Intrigues Surrounding the Exploration and Mapping of Texas, the Southwest, and the Southern Plains The secret Treaty of San Ildefonso (1800) and the Louisiana Purchase (1803) piqued American interests in Spanish Louisiana and Tejas. Thomas Jefferson’s well-known explorers like Freeman and Custis and Lewis and Clark and James Wilkinson’s covert explorers like Philip Nolan and Zebulon Pike forced the Spanish to take the necessary steps to thwart American incursions into New Spain’s domain in an attempt to hold onto their buffer province of Texas.

About Dr. Jay Buckley: Author of the award-winning book, William Clark: Indian Diplomat (2008), Jay H. Buckley has also co-authored By His Own Hand?: The Mysterious Death of Meriwether Lewis (2006), and Zebulon Pike, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West (2012). An Associate Professor of History at Brigham Young University, Buckley served as the President of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation in 2011-12. He directs the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies.

Dr. Adrienne CaughfieldDr. Adrienne Caughfield - Mary Austin Holley’s Emigrants’ Guide to Texas With Texas emerging into public view in the early nineteenth century, curious Americans wanted to know more about the region.  As a cousin of Stephen F. Austin, Mary Austin Holley had the perfect opportunity to provide insider knowledge to a wider audience. Her works served two purposes. Her description of an agricultural paradise served as a beneficial emigrant guide for interested parties, while simultaneously she described the Texas Revolution of 1835-36 in hopes of raising money for the war effort. At the same time, Holley had a goal of her own: to use Texas, and her books, for the financial well-being of her and her family. As a result, Holley’s writings became the intersection of public, private, and personal “utility,” leading to more American involvement in the new republic and eventual state.

About. Dr. Adrienne Caughfield: Adrienne Caughfield teaches United States and Texas history at Collin College in Plano, Texas. Her area of interest is American expansion and exceptionalism. Her doctoral dissertation for Texas Christian University dealt with women’s perceptions of expansion and “manifest destiny” in Texas prior to the Civil War; it also introduced Dr. Caughfield to the works of Mary Austin Holley. That dissertation was published by Texas A&M University Press as True Women and Westward Expansion.

Dr. Harriett Denise JosephDr. Harriett Denise Joseph - Alonso Álvarez de Pineda: Facts versus Fake News On the quincentenary of Alonso Álvarez de Pineda’s historic expedition(s), Dr. Joseph discusses the limited sources that exist about the first European to map the Gulf coast from Florida to Mexico, places the Spanish explorer in the context of the conquistador rivalry in North America at the time, and dispels some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding his accomplishments. Among questions to be examined are the following: Did Pineda head one expedition or two? Why was he long credited as the first European to set foot on Texas soil and to attempt to establish a settlement there? What evidence led to those claims being refuted? Is the so-called Pineda stone that is housed in a South Texas museum authentic or fake? What was the true historical significance of Pineda’s endeavors, and what questions remain unanswered about this significant Spaniard?

About Dr. Harriett Denise Joseph: Inspired by her high school Spanish teacher, Harriett Denise Joseph studied Spanish and history at Southern Methodist University. She then combined the two fields to pursue her Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Latin American history at the University of North Texas. A Professor of History at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Dr. Joseph has taught in higher education for more than forty years. She is a member of the Distinguished Speakers Bureau of the Texas State Historical Association and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Online Handbook of Texas. She is also co-author of three books on Spanish Texas and co-editor of three other volumes. Dr. Joseph’s most recent work, From Santa Anna to Selena: Notable Mexicanos and Tejanos in Texas History since 1821, received the 2018 Clotilde P. Garcia Tejano Book Prize Award and the 2018 Ottis Lock Endowment Best Book on East Texas History Award.

Dr. Joaquín Rivaya-MartíneDr. Joaquín Rivaya-Martínez – Remapping la Comanchería: Spanish Cartography and Indigenous Territorialities in the Eighteenth-Century Borderlands This presentation offers a reconstruction of the territories that Comanche divisions occupied in the eighteenth century, considering Comanche notions of territoriality, with particular attention to the southward push of the Comanche frontier throughout the century. It is based on Spanish maps and documents, ethnographic material, archaeological data, and personal interviews with contemporary Comanches.

About Dr. Joaquín Rivaya-Martínez: Dr. Joaquín Rivaya-Martínez is an associate professor of history at Texas State University. He holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from UCLA and was a postdoctoral fellow at the SMU Clements Center for Southwest Studies. He specializes in the history of the indigenous peoples of the US-Mexico Borderlands and the Great Plains during the 18th and 19th centuries, his scholarship focusing primarily on the Comanches. Dr. Rivaya-Martínez is the author of numerous scholarly presentations and essays. His research, which incorporates documentary, ethnographic, archaeological, linguistic, and environmental evidence, as well as interviews with contemporary consultants, has been funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the Newberry Library, the Philips Fund for Native American Research, the University of California Institute for Mexico and the US (UC MEXUS), UCLA’s Institute of American Cultures, and Mexico’s CONACyT. He conducts his research in close contact with members of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma.

Dr. Deborah LilesDr. Deborah Liles - Texas Cattle, Texas Railroads, and the Closing of the Frontier The California gold rush spurred growth along the Texas frontier during the decade before the Civil War. Opportunity to make vast fortunes engaging in the cattle industry was open to men and women who were willing to risk isolation and Comanche raids. In the antebellum years, markets were established, trails were blazed, and cattle empires formed throughout the state, but primarily in the frontier counties. These paved the way for the post war cattle-boom that brought Texas wealth and fame. As with all things, it could not last forever. The coming of the railroads, barbed wire fences, and windmills ended the great era of driving cattle and closed the frontier.

About Dr. Deborah Liles: Dr. Deborah Liles is an assistant professor and the W. K. Gordon Chair of Texas History at Tarleton State University. She is the author of several book chapters and journal articles, as well as the co-editor of three books, African Americans in Central Texas: From Slavery to Civil Rights; Texas Women and Ranching: On the Range, at the Rodeo, and in their Communities, and Women in Civil War Texas: Diversity and Dissidence in the Trans-Mississippi, which won the Ottis Lock Award for book of the year and the Liz Carpenter Award for best book about women's history. Her current projects are Southern Roots, Western Foundations: Slavery and Livestock in Texas (LSU Press 2020) and Oliver Loving: Dean of the Cattle Trails (A&M Press).

Dr. H.W. BrandsDr. H.W. Brands - A Republic Despite Itself: Texas Between Three Empires
The proudest chapter in Texas history is one that never would have happened, had most Texans had their way. At the time of the Texas Revolution, the inhabitants of Texas were divided into three groups: those who wanted Texas to remain Mexican, those who wanted Texas to become American, and those who wanted both Mexicans and Americans out. Almost no one intended that Texas should become an independent republic. Yet so it became, on account of Texas’ strategic location where the American South met the Mexican North and both abutted the Native American West.

About Dr. H.W. Brands: H. W. Brands was born in Oregon, went to college in California, sold cutlery across the American West and earned graduate degrees in mathematics and history in Oregon and Texas. He taught at Vanderbilt University and Texas A&M University before joining the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, where he holds the Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History. He writes on American history and politics, with books including Heirs of the Founders, The General vs. the President, The Man Who Saved the Union, Traitor to His Class, Andrew Jackson, The Age of Gold, The First American and TR. Several of his books have been bestsellers; two, Traitor to His Class and The First American, were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize.