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Liberal Arts to Reopen Garrison Hall, Home to Nationally Noted History Program

The College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin this week will mark the reopening of Garrison Hall, the recently renovated home of the university’s nationally recognized history program.

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The College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin this week will mark the reopening of Garrison Hall, the recently renovated home of the university’s nationally recognized history program.

The “Come Back to Garrison” celebrations include the opening of the Institute of Historical Studies and two days of tours, lectures, films and exhibitions, Jan. 31-Feb. 1.

Garrison Hall, built in 1926, is named for George P. Garrison, who joined the university as a history and English instructor in 1884 and was later head of the History Department. Garrison died in 1910.

During his 2006 installation address, President William Powers Jr. identified the Department of History as a strategic priority for the university, committing $1.3 million in new, recurring funds that will support research, teaching and the new Institute for Historical Studies whose inaugural programs will focus on “Global Borders.”

“In the great universities throughout civilization, the teaching of history has always been fundamental,” Powers said. “Historians and history teachers not only preserve the past, they enrich the long narrative of events and human interaction, so that we better understand who we are now and what the future holds.

“Every UT student, no matter his or her major, should study history in order to enjoy the full range of the intellectual experience.”


Randy Diehl, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and Alan Tully, chair of the Department of History, will host a reception, which is free and open to the public, Thursday, Jan. 31, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Main Building, Room 212.

During the reception, Diehl and Tully will provide an overview of the history program and the opening of the Institute for Historical Studies, which builds on the Department of History’s impressive publication record and competitive research funding from national agencies and research institutions each year.

As part of its 2008 rankings of America’s Best Graduate Schools, U.S. News and World Report ranked the university’s Latin American history program No. 1 in the nation and the department No. 19.

The historians have built strong research enterprises in the areas of empires and globalization, diaspora and migration, the borderlands, cultures, gender, religion and transnational history.

In addition to the faculty members’ impressive number of national book awards and fellowships, the department includes a Pulitzer Prize-winner and seven current and former Guggenheim Fellows.

Learn more about the Institute for Historical Studies.


As part of the “Come Back to Garrison” activities, the university’s historians will present lectures, which are free and open to the public, Friday, Feb. 1 from 10 a.m. to noon at classrooms throughout Garrison Hall. The discussions include:

10 a.m.

  • “Torture, Past and Present” with Brian Levack;
  • “The Secret Lives of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt,” with H.W. Brands;
  • “Spices and Global History” with Toyin Falola;
  • “The Evil Eye: What Muslims, Christians, and Jews All Feared and Why” with Denise Spellberg; and
  • “Buying Freedom from Slavery: An African-American Family Saga, 1777-1857” with Juliet Walker.

11 a.m.

  • “Bubble and Bust: Lessons from Japan” with Mark Metzler;
  • “The Salvation Army Archive of American Music, or How to Listen Like a Historian” with Karl Miller;
  • “The Global Cigarette: Tobacco and Politics during the Cold War” with Mary Neuburger;
  • “Finding Politics in Unexpected Places: Women in the Civil Rights Movement” with Tiffany Gill and Laurie Green;
  • “AIDS in Africa” with James Wilson; and
  • “The Wizard of Oz: A Parable of Populism” with Michael Stoff.

Throughout the afternoon, historians will lead visitors through the university’s library and museum resources, including:

1:30 p.m.

  • “Rewriting the Vietnam War: New Evidence from the Johnson Library” with Mark Lawrence;
  • “UT’s Extraordinary Sixteenth-Century ‘Aztec’ Maps” with Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra;
  • “Maquilapolis” (film and discussion) with John McKiernan-Gonzales; and
  • “The Second World War in Global Perspective: The Normandy Scholar Program Looks at a Turning Point in World History” David Crew, Michael Stoff and Charters Wynn.

3:30 p.m.

  • “Jesus at the Movies, The Silent Era” with Howard Miller;
  • “Virgins, Saints, and Angels: the Art of Conquest and Conversion in Colonial South America” with Susan Deans-Smith;
  • “Asian Americans on Stage: Forbidden City, USA” (film and discussion) with Madeline Hsu;
  • “Cuban Roots-Bronx Stories” (film and discussion) with Frank Guridy; and
  • “Arthur Miller, Norman Mailer, Woodward and Bernstein” with Pulitzer Prize winner David Oshinsky.

For a complete list of activities and locations, please visit Come Back to Garrison.

Note to Morning and Noon Show Producers: Joan Neuberger, program coordinator for the Garrison Hall opening and history professor, is available for radio and television news interviews throughout the week.

Photo Opportunities and Graphics: Media are invited to cover the “Come Back to Garrison” activities for live news programs. In addition, the Department of History has photographs of Garrison Hall at the time of its construction.