Who We Are
In 2018 the UT History proudly celebrated its 130th anniversary. Over the years the department has earned a national and international reputation for excellence in scholarship and teaching. Our program in Latin American History has consistently been ranked Number One in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. With a large, diverse, and productive faculty of sixty, the department teaches thousands of UT students every year, and boasts colleagues who have won major book prizes, prestigious post-doctoral fellowships, and lifetime achievement awards in their fields of specialty. Our majors go out in the world to pursue many different careers, jobs that require good writing, analytical, and critical-thinking skills.
What We’re Fundraising For
The department is sponsoring three initiatives—funding for undergraduate research, for graduate student stipends, and for faculty support. We recently revised our major to emphasize undergraduate research. Now all students are required to take a course called “Thinking Like a Historian” to learn about the historian’s craft—how to analyze a monograph, how to document with footnotes and read a primary source critically. In the capstone course, seniors learn how to navigate the archives and “do” history. In addition, our History Honors students are engaged in major, year-long research projects that often require them to visit the archives. In some cases these projects take them out of Austin, and we would like to be able to pay the travel expenses of all who qualify for funding. Likewise, our graduate students often travel to archives outside the United States; these research trips can be costly and time-consuming. To ease the financial burden on students, we would like to enhance the summer fellowships they receive in their first year of study here at UT. (These stipends are also effective recruiting measures, as we vie for the very best applicants in the country.) And finally, we need to support faculty who want to travel to conferences and to archives. By providing grants that offset the costs of books, travel, and meeting registration, we provide the necessary support for our outstanding faculty.
Julia Vastano, Honors grad 2019, writes “The opportunity to travel to an archive across the country was critical to my honors research. While there I analyzed unique documents that had never before been considered by scholars of looted Nazi art. Thus, not only did I gain a mature understanding of archival research, but I was able to produce totally new research for the field. This opportunity was the most satisfying experience in my academic career thus far.” Julia’s thesis is titled “Smoke over Rooftops and Nazi Looted Art in the U.S.” Her adviser is Professor Robert Abzug.
"Funding allowed me to travel to Paris, France, to conduct archival research. This opportunity was key in my analysis of the matrimonial reforms to the French Civic Code. From newspaper articles, to law reviews and comics, the immense source of knowledge I acquired from studying in the archives allowed me to bring my thesis to completion. Research further developed my curiosity as well as my thirst and love for the field of History." Pauline Hodencq, History Honors graduate 2019. Pauline’s thesis was titled thesis: "Reforming the Civic Code (1804) in Third Republic France: Matrimonial Regimes and Women's Civic Capacity." Professor Judy Coffin was her supervisor.
Departmental research funding allowed me to visit the National Archives of South Africa in Pretoria, Killie Campbell Africana Library in Durban, Pietermaritzburg Archives Repository in Pietermaritzburg, Gandhi-Luthuli Documentation Centre in Durban and the Local History Museum in Durban. This support gave me crucial resources for finding core material for my dissertation "Aftertaste of Empire: Amandiya and Ethnic Violence in South Africa 1860-1949.”
-Abikal Borah, History graduate student
Departmental research funding has allowed me to visit cities that would have otherwise been out of reach if I had to pay for these trips by maintaining part-time employment or accumulating more student loans. My dissertation centers on social movements that shaped politics today, and as a result, I have traveled to places such as New York City where I examined the ways in which community-based organizations provided services to people with disabilities during the AIDS crisis. My upcoming trip to San Francisco using these funds will allow me to expand on my findings and provide a framework for public health that could be useful in the future.
-John Carranza, History graduate student
With support from the Department of History at The University of Texas at Austin, I have conducted research over the course of four years that has significantly contributed to my dissertation. This invaluable support permitted me to spend critical time in eight different archives across the United States, Mexico, and Vatican City. Continued funding enabled me to spend additional time in these countries, networking with local scholars, presenting at regional universities, and attending critical conferences in my field. I am deeply grateful to be part of a department and university that values and supports their graduate researchers.
-Madeleine Olson, History graduate student
Departmental research funding allowed me to visit ten archives in 7 cities in Spain, the Caribbean, and the United States. In Spain, I explored the Archive of the Indies, the National Archive, the National Library, and Segovia's Military Archive. In the Caribbean, I researched in the National Archive of Cuba, the National Library of Cuba, and the General Archive of Puerto Rico. I also examined sources in The New York Public Library and the Historical Society of New Orleans. Departmental funding has been vital for developing a transnational project such as mine. I trace the fate of the thousands of loyalist exiles that abandoned Spanish America during the Wars of Independence and developed an imperial alternative in the Caribbean vis-à-vis the rise of Spanish American and the American republics. Departmental research gave me crucial resources for exploring the above mentioned archives and finding core material for my dissertation.
-Nicolás González Quintero, History graduate student