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New issue of Life and Letters newsmagazine features history professors' research

Posted: January 26, 2009

Prof. Juliet E.K.Walker, the author of two novels and the director of the Center for Black Business History, Entrepreneurship, and Technology, traces back through history to unearth the essentials of the African American identity. She boldly brandishes a deeply rooted confidence in this identity despite what any genetic ancestry tests might reveal.

Debuted on the Back Page is the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies and the work of Robert H. Abzug, the Oliver H. Radkey Regents Professor of History and American Studies and director of the center. Abzug explores the cultural meanings of psychotherapy in America and is currently working on a biography of Rollo May, an American psychologist. His research also focuses on the Jewish experience in the Western Hemisphere, including the history, culture, and society of Jews in the Americas.

Pulitzer prize-winning author David Oshinsky tells the story of a race for the cure to polio as well as describes his ideals of the American “big picture” that he feels is essential to all students of today. Public Broadcasting Service will be airing a polio documentary on its show, American Experience, Feb. 2, based in part on Oshinsky's Pulitzer-prize winning novel, Polio: An American Story.

And all horror film and Halloween aficionados will want to read the article on Brian Levack, the John E. Green Regents Professor of History, which traces the history of demonic possession. "The activities of demoniacs should be studied as performances that reflect the religious culture of early modern Europe," Levack says. And studying it can be beneficial to understanding and resolving age-old theological disputes between Catholics and Protestants.

Speaking of religion, find out how Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor of History and Religious Studies Howard Miller uses popular culture to teach his course, "Jesus in American Culture." He has compiled a huge collection of images of Jesus for this class and has them available as video recordings online.

Download an electronic version of the magazine (PDF, 5.03MB).

By Trevence Mitchell and M.G. Moore

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