University of Texas at Austin

Author Archive


Friday, February 20, 2009

What’s on Your Nightstand, Juliet Walker?

History Professor Juliet E.K. Walker knows first-hand the power of a book to shape history.

Earlier this year, the site of New Philadelphia, Ill., a town founded in 1836 by her great-great grandfather Frank McWorter, was named a National Historic Landmark, based on research she published in “Free Frank: A Black Pioneer on the Antebellum Frontier” (1983, 1995).

In the book, Walker documented the historic significance of McWorter’s life and New Philadelphia, which is the first known town platted and officially registered…

Friday, February 20, 2009

Symposium Celebrates Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”

The Department of Philosophy will host the symposium “Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged: Celebrating the Best Within Us,” from 4 to 6:30 p.m., March 4. Presenters will offer perspectives on the Russian-born philosopher’s magnum opus, both as philosophy and literature.

Each session will include a question-and-answer period, and a reception with the speakers will be held immediately afterward. The event is free and open to the public.

Speakers and topics include:

4 p.m. “Ayn Rand: Evidence of a Life” by Jeff Britting, associate producer…

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mayor Picks “The Septembers of Shiraz” for Book Club

Mayor Will Wynn has chosen “The Septembers of Shiraz” (HarperCollins, 2008) by Dalia Sofer for the 2009 Mayor’s Book Club. The club is cosponsored by the Austin Public Library and the Humanities Institute at The University of Texas at Austin.

Sofer’s debut novel is based on her childhood in Iran during the revolution and flight from the country after her father was imprisoned. It was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 2008.

The Humanities Institute invites all of…

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Amazing Rare Maps in the Benson Collection

In 1577, Spain’s King Phillip II ordered a comprehensive survey of the New World. Questionnaires sent to Spain’s territories in the Americas requested information about population, languages, terrain and vegetation.

Of the more than 200 hand-drawn responses, called the relaciones geográficas, one-fifth reside in the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection at The University of Texas at Austin. The relaciones geográficas are just a few of the many priceless artifacts acquired by the library since its establishment in 1926.

Today, the Benson Collection is the…

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Burnt Orange Britannia

British studies scholars from around the globe will converge on campus Feb. 20-21 for the 2009 British Scholar Annual Conference to be held at the Harry Ransom Center.

Wm. Roger Louis, professor of history and director of the university’s British Studies Program was instrumental in bringing the conference to the university.

A renowned scholar of British history, Louis is the author or editor or more than 30 books on the history, literature and politics of the British Empire. The latest is “Burnt…

Monday, February 16, 2009

Irish Studies Reading List

Are you one of more than 35 million Americans who can claim Irish ancestry? If so, two recent books about Ireland’s robust literary tradition might catch your eye. Both books are by alumni of the university’s Department of English.

Texas Ex Karen Steele (Ph.D. English, ’96) is the author of “Women, Press and Politics During the Irish Revival” (Syracuse University Press, 2007), a study of female voices who helped launch the 1916 Easter Rising, which ultimately led to Ireland’s independence from…

Monday, February 16, 2009

Review: “Diplomats in Blue” by William Braisted

What does a navy do when it is not at war? From 1922 to 1933, the U.S. Navy kept the peace in the volatile western Pacific.

In “Diplomats in Blue: U.S. Naval Officers in China, 1922-1933” (University Press of Florida, 2009), Professor Emeritus of History William R. Braisted depicts a bygone world in which admirals played almost as important a role as ambassadors in representing American interests abroad.

During peace-time, high-ranking naval officers worked first to protect American citizens and American…

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Philosopher’s Treatise on Love

“My thesis is, in a nutshell, that love is in fact even more profound and basic to our being than most of our talk about it would suggest,” writes the late philosopher Robert Solomon in the preface to “About Love: Reinventing Romance For Our Times” (1988, 1994, 2006).

Solomon, the former Quincy Lee Centennial Professor of Business and Philosophy and a distinguished teaching professor, passed away in 2007 at the age of 64. But his ideas about life, love, relationships and sex,…

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Literary Marriages from Hell

“Why does some of the best poetry emerge from the charred ruins of a tortured relationship?” asks Betsy Berry, lecturer in the Department of English.

That’s the question students tackle in her popular course, “Literary Marriages from Hell,” which examines the lives of doomed literary couples and the masterpieces of literature they produced.

Students read books such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Tender is the Night,” which immortalized his relationship with his wife Zelda (who suffered from schizophrenia), and analyze poems such as…

Monday, February 9, 2009

Is Narcissism Destroying Your Marriage?

In Greek mythology, Narcissus’ obsession with his reflection in a pool of water ultimately led to his death. For thousands of years, the cautionary tale has served as rich fodder for artists and philosophers, and even became the basis for Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of narcissism.

UT alumna Lisa Leit (Ph.D. Human Ecology, ‘08) further explores the psychological concept in “Conversational Narcissism in Marriage “ (VDM Verlag, 2008), which examines how narcissistic attention-seeking behavior in communication affects marital stability.

Central features of narcissism…