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Life & Letters newsmagazine for spring released

Magazine highlights College of Liberal Arts community of scholars, students, alumni, and as always the History Department.

Posted: May 31, 2011
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The spring 2011 edition of Life & Letters features stories on the Department of History’s new website — Not Even Past, professors’ books and awards, stellar students and staff, and the new excellence fund in history established by alumnus Stuart W. Stedman.

Those individuals who have been awarded the college’s highest honor for their service to the college, the Pro Bene Meritis award, included two former history majors and now members of the department’s Visiting Committee: Carolyn Townsend and Peyton Townsend. Recently retired Associate Distinguished Teaching Professor Howard Miller also received the award this year. Miller taught American religious history for more than 30 years at the university.

The department launched a new website in January — Not Even Past — taking its name from William Faulkner who wrote in his 1951 novel, Requiem for a Nun, “The past is never dead, it’s not even past.” It draws on the expertise of its award-winning faculty and graduate students to contribute features on history from all areas, podcasts, videos, book recommendations, and more.

And this time, Bill Gates just didn’t mention Distinguished Teaching Professor David Oshinsky’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Polio: An American Story, as he did when he launched the Living Proof Project in 2009, he invited him along with other global leaders to discuss the eradication of polio on Jan. 31 in New York City. The panel discussion was moderated by ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer.

Life & Letters story on Not Even Past websiteMoving onto stellar students, the department was very proud of two of its majors who received the Dean’s Distinguished Graduate Award for 2011. Lindsey Carmichael has been a two-time Paralympian and majored in English and history. Stephen Mercer also attended the rigorous United States Marine Corps' Enlisted Commissioning Education Program, while completing his history degree in less than four years.

Professor Richard Pells published Modernist America: Art, Music, Movies, and the Globalization of American Culture (Yale University, March 2011). He recently retired in December after teaching 20th century American cultural and intellectual history for 30 years.

The Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies, directed by Professor Robert Abzug, matched a $6 million grant from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation, ensuring the continued growth of Jewish studies at The University of Texas at Austin.

History alumnus Stuart W. Stedman of the Stedman West Foundation gifted both the department and the Plan II Honors Program each $500,000.

The department will establish the Stuart W. Stedman Excellence Fund in History, which will provide the opportunity for faculty and graduate students to attend conferences and travel for research. Additionally, it will facilitate faculty in the creation of new courses or hiring graduate assistants.

Associate Distinguished Teaching Professor Michael Stoff is the director of the Plan II Honors Program in the college. The gift will be used to create the Stuart W. Stedman Forty Acres Scholarship for Plan II.

Awards and Honors
Administrative Associate Courtney Meador is the 2011 winner of the COLA Staff Excellence Award.

Associate Professor Charters Wynn received the President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award for the 2010-11 academic year.

Professor Julie Hardwick received the college's Raymond Dickson Centennial Endowed Teaching Fellowship.

Professor Juliet Walker received the Carter G. Woodson Scholars Medallion for 2010 by the Association for the Study of Afican American Life and History.

Professor Wm. Roger Louis was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Book Awards
Assistant Professor Benjamin Brower was awarded the Middle East Studies Association’s Albert Hourani Book Award for his book titled A Desert Named Peace: The Violence of France’s Empire in the Algerian Sahara, 1844-1902 (Columbia University Press, 2009).

Professor Neil Foley's book Quest for Equality: The Failed Promise of Black-Brown Solidarity was selected by the Texas Institute of Letters as the most significant scholarly book for 2010.

Associate Professor Huaiyin Li’s book Village China Under Socialism and Reform: A Micro-History, 1948-2008 won one of four runner-up prizes in the annual Hamilton Book Awards sponsored by the University Co-op.

In Memoriam
The department and college along with many students mourn the loss of renowned American history Professor Emeritus William Goetzmann at age 79. He taught for more than 40 years at the university. He won both the Pulitzer and Parkman prizes in 1967 for his seminal book Exploration and Empire: The Explorer and the Scientist in the Winning of the American West.

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