Morning Coffee Hour

The Glasscock Center hosts an informal coffee hour every other Wednesday morning during the semester. Discussion will be guided by featured guests who will discuss their research or other topical ideas. All are welcome to join us for coffee, tea, pastries, and conversation.


Spring 2018

Wednesday, 24 January 2018, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Carlos Blanton | Professor, Department of History

“The Chicana/o in the American Mind: An Exploration of Early 19th Century Thought”

In recent decades Chicana/o people, whether Mexican Americans or Mexican immigrants, have become the subject of intense debate in U.S. society.  The belief that Chicanas/os are deficient or dangerous, though derided by most scholars today, has motivated a wave of policies that negatively impact both immigrant and citizen alike.  Racial ideas about Chicana/o people, however, are not new.  They have a long history and have always been a mainstream element of U.S. intellectual thought.  In my larger project, I seek to create a new genealogy of race for the Chicana/o in U.S. history.  In this paper I will briefly explore some of the earliest discourses that affected Chicana/o people by prominent U.S. thinkers and policymakers during the first half of 19th century.


Wednesday, 31 January 2018, 9-10 a.m.
Liberal Arts Caucus of the Faculty Senate


Wednesday, 7 February 2018, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Katherine Unterman | Assistant Professor, Department of History

“Constitutional Rights in the U.S. Territories: The Insular Cases and the Question of Trial by Jury”

In the early 20th century, the Supreme Court handed down a series of decisions known as the Insular Cases. These ruled that residents of the U.S. territories—including Puerto Rico, Guam, Hawaii, and the Philippines—did not have the same constitutional rights as mainland citizens. This talk will focus on one particular right that territorial residents lacked: trial by jury. It will explore how the Supreme Court justified this decision and how different territorial residents engaged in activism to reform their criminal justice systems.


Special Morning Coffee Hour- Collaboration Among LAUNCH: URS, History and the TAMU School of Law

Wednesday, 14 February 2018, 9-10 a.m.
Claye Epperson |
Undergraduate, Department of History; Rising Candidate for Doctor of Jurisprudence, George Washington University School of Law

“Litigating Women: The Path to Intermediate Scrutiny in American Law”

Claye was selected to pilot a new program through Undergraduate Research that matches students with an advisor in their home department (Dr. Katherine Unterman) as well as one at the TAMU School of Law (Dr. Randy Gordon) to develop an interdisciplinary thesis. Her research centers on women’s changing legal roles with respect to discrimination.

In the 1970s, the Supreme Court pronounced a new test for laws that treated the two sexes differently. This test, known as “intermediate scrutiny,” was stricter than the Court’s usual standard (the “rational basis” test), but not as stringent as the test used for cases involving racial distinction (the “strict scrutiny” test.) This work tracks and analyzes the jurisprudence in the Supreme Court that led to the implementation of intermediate scrutiny, particularly as the test applies to sex-based challenges in equal protection litigation, through examining different cases and a key litigator. These are Muller v. Oregon; Goesaert v. Cleary; and multiple of (now-Justice) Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s cases for the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, including Craig v. Boren. Muller and Goesaert demonstrate how the Court employed the rational basis test in sex-based discrimination cases during the first half of the Twentieth century. The barrage of cases brought to the high Court by the Women’s Rights Project detail activist and litigator Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s efforts to persuade the Court to establish a test specifically for evaluating these cases. Craig explains the monumental case that finally convinced the Court to pronounce intermediate scrutiny. Together, these cases provide a cohesive narrative of the jurisprudence and socio-cultural history that clearly articulated the path to intermediate scrutiny.



Wednesday, 21 February 2018, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Randall Sumpter | Associate Professor, Department of Communication

“Before Journalism Schools: How Gilded Age Reporters Learned the Rules”

Dr. Sumpter will discuss material from his in press book, Before Journalism Schools: How Gilded Age Reporters Learned the Rules. Funded in part by a Glasscock Center for Humanities Research fellowship, the book explores how a variety of knowledge brokers codified and spread new rules for journalism during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The book is part of the University of Missouri Press’s new Journalism in Perspective series. Sumpter is a former newspaper reporter and editor.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Nancy Warren | Professor, Department of English

“Hemispheric Medievalisms: The ‘Old Religion’ in the New World, 1550-1850.”

This discussion will focus on the research Dr. Warren did for two book chapters during her Glasscock Fellowship: one on Marie of the Incarnation and the Ursulines of Quebec and one of Spanish Missions in Florida. Her focus will be on the roles of medieval spirituality in New World colonization projects, especially medieval female spirituality in the case of Marie and discourses of martyrdom and hagiography in the case of the Spanish Missions.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Larry Reynolds | Distinguished Professor, Department of English

“Hawthorne, Slavery, and the Civil War”

Dr. Reynolds will discuss a current research effort that builds upon his previous scholarship and work begun during a Glasscock Center Internal Faculty Fellowship. This effort, which will appear as a chapter in a forthcoming Cambridge UP volume Hawthorne in Context, seeks to illuminate the distinctiveness of Hawthorne’s attitudes towards slavery and the Civil War. For decades scholars have misidentified Hawthorne’s politics as the same as those of his friend Franklin Pierce, one of the country’s worst presidents. While Reynolds’ book Devils and Rebels: The Making of Hawthorne’s Damned Politics (Michigan UP, 2008), challenges that identification in passing, the current project focuses upon it, pointing out that while both men detested radical abolitionists, they differed on the Fugitive Slave Act, on Lincoln’s war policies, and on the value of the South to the nation. Though a committed pacifist, Hawthorne by 1860 recognized slavery as a “foul scurf” upon the nation that required a war to remove.

Wednesday, 4 April, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Nathan Bracher | Professor, Department of International Studies

“Learning the Lessons of the Past from the Stories of History and Literature: The Case of Éric Vuillard’s L’Ordre du jour.”

Within the immense conglomerate of interrelated socio-cultural issues and phenomena surrounding France’s well-known, longstanding, and intense preoccupation with its past, the overlaps, interminglings, confusions, tensions, and conflicts between history and literature are by no means the least significant.  Ivan Jablonka points out that, albeit fraught with rivalries, arguments, and contradictions, history has exchanged ideas, themes, techniques, and methods with literature throughout its entire existence, not only going all the way back to its emergence from the works of Herodotus and Thucydides in ancient Greece but also amid the tremendous popularity of the historical novel (Walter Scott, Stendahl, Chateaubriand, Balzac) in the nineteenth century.  At the same time, however, the debate over the legitimacy, value, and pertinence of literature as opposed to history has continued, with the pendulum swinging back and forth from the quarrels of antiquity up until the present, where it reappears in a revealing way with the attribution of France’s most prestigious literary award, the Prix Goncourt, to Éric Vuillard’s L’Ordre du jour, a novel focusing on a few select “behind the scenes” aspects of the Anschluss., and claiming to offer nothing less to divulge the “real truth” of the Nazis’ rise to power.




Wednesday, 18 April 2018, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Daniel Conway | Professor, Department of Philosophy





• Past Guests •

Fall 2017

Wednesday, 13 September 2017, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Adam Seipp | Professor, Department of History

“Wild Horses in Hanau: Demilitarizing Germany, 1989-95”

This discussion, based on research Dr. Seipp has been doing for the past two summers, will focus on the end of the Cold War, the withdrawal of most of the 250,000 American troops then stationed in Germany, and the evolution of planning for the conversion of American military bases for civilian use. In six years, the Federal Republic of Germany gained control over bases previously occupied by seven different armies. Many of these facilities were in need of environmental clean-up and extensive rehabilitation.


Wednesday, 27 September 2017, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Albert Broussard | Professor, Department of History

“Migration, Civil Rights and Racial Activism in the Far West, 1945-1980”

The World War II era sparked the largest migration of African Americans out of the southern states in the history of the United States. Yet southern migrants, who had flocked largely to northern urban industrial centers during World War I, moved instead to western cities and territories during World War II in pursuit of employment in the burgeoning wartime defense industries. Dr. Broussard’s research examines the aftermath of this migration during the postwar years from approximately 1945 to 1980, a time of rising expectations among African Americans and tumult and civil disobedience throughout the nation. Dr. Broussard attempted to ascertain the degree to which black migrants and their families achieved their expectations when they moved to western cities, identify areas of conflict between black migrants and non-white residents, explain how racial activism addressed a multitude of issues such as housing, education, and employment opportunities, and note areas where African American leaders collaborated with other racial, ethnic, and marginalized groups such as Hispanics and the LGTBQ community.


Wednesday, 11 October 2017, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Nandra Perry | Associate Professor, Department of English

“Reading Reformed”

Dr. Perry will be discussing early results of an open-access database she is piloting that will enable researchers, students, and the general public to visualize how English readers interpreted their Bibles in the early print era.  With the help of grants from the Glasscock Center for Humanities Research and the Initiative for Digital Humanities and Culture, Dr. Perry and her technical collaborator, Bryan Tarpley, are transcribing the notes early readers made in a large collection of devotional books and entering them into a database designed to help them read for affect.  The resulting interactive database will open up new questions about the role of the Reformation, particularly the Book of Common Prayer, in shaping modern-day habits of reading in English.  Dr. Perry will be discussing what she and Tarpley have learned as they have practiced their technique on a single, Elizabethan Book of Common Prayer and Psalter.


Wednesday, 25 October 2017, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Anat Geva | Professor, Department of Architecture

“Book proposals: American Sacred Architecture”

Following War World II, sacred architecture demonstrated observable indicators of re-conceptualization in the construction and design of houses of worship in America. These changes reflect perceptions of religious freedom and tolerance as well as influences of the modern architecture movement and innovation in building technology.  As a result of the Glasscock fellowship, Dr. Geva prepared two book proposals and received two contracts with publishers. The first is an edited volume on Mid 20th Century American Modern Sacred Architecture that includes 14 chapters and is based in part on a conference panel Dr. Geva has organized. The second book is her own manuscript entitled Pushing the Envelope: Modern American Synagogues (1950s-1960s). This book exemplifies how prominent architects of the era expressed American values of that time and ventured to bridge modernism and Judaism in their design of the American synagogue.

In the discussion, Dr. Geva will focus on the process of writing book proposals and answer questions about how to prepare publishers’ questionnaires.


Wednesday, 8 November 2017, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Jun Lei | Assistant Professor, Department of International Studies

“Violent China and Its Antidotes: Negotiating Cosmopolitan Masculinities in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture”

Jun Lei will talk about her book manuscript in progress titled Violent China and Its Antidotes: Negotiating Cosmopolitan Masculinities in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture. This book explores the formation of modern Chinese intellectual masculinities as constituted in racial, gender, and class discourses in both national and international contexts at the height of Western and Japanese imperialism in China in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The crisis of intellectual masculinity surfaced and converged with the crisis of the nation in semi-colonial China. Chinese male intellectuals, who lost upward mobility in social and political upheavals, were compelled to reassemble and reorient the fragmented xin (heart-mind) and shen (body-person). When the military elites occupied the hegemonic position that used to belong to the literati, and when the power of carrying out violence overshadowed literary attainments to become a new imperative of male honor, a modern generation of male intellectuals strategically distanced themselves from the old literati class and repositioned themselves to violence in visual and textual representations. In literary and cultural spheres, this repositioning is manifested in a blood-mixed-ink manner and displayed most conspicuously in the reoccurring image of a literary overman. Dr. Lei’s study focuses on the various incarnations of the literary overman in the early 20th century as a self-fashioning process in which male writers and artists deploy textual violence to dictate gender codes and assert male subjectivity. This book draws particular attention to the literary overman’s torturous collisions and negotiations with a few significant Others in this self-fashioning process, namely, the wenren (literati) and the wushi (warrior) in the Chinese past; the imperial masculinities in semi-colonial China; the hegemonic martial masculinity; and the New Woman, his female mentee cum love interest. Indeed, dynamic negotiations with these Others become the very definition of what the book proposes of a cosmopolitan intellectual masculinity amidst the increasing textual and actual violence in the 20th-century China.

Spring 2017

donkorWednesday, 25 January 2017, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. David Donkor | Associate Professor, Departments of Performance and Africana Studies

“Dress and the Performance of Political Legitimacy in Independence Ghana”

In 1957 Ghana’s new Prime Minister Dr. Kwame Nkrumah wore a cotton smock, called batakari, to declare Ghana’s independence from British colonial rule. Scholars have recognized the Premier’s dressing on that day as a performance of political legitimacy—an attempt to demonstrate the rightfulness of his rule by (1) expressing an autochthonous African identity, (2) showing affinity with the laboring poor and (3) signifying inter-ethnic unity. Beyond their recognitions I will trace the history of the batakari in a pre/colonial spiritual economy to show another dimension to the Premier’s expression of legitimacy—that he wore the batakari to surround himself with the aura and eminence of a spiritually ordained leader.

drorWednesday, 8 February 2017, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Olga Dror 
| Associate Professor, Department of History

“Raising Vietnamese: Shaping Youth Identities in North and South Vietnam During the War (1965-1975)”

As part of my Glasscock fellowship I worked on youth in South Vietnam (Republic of Vietnam) and North Vietnam (Democratic Republic of Vietnam) during the war from 1965 to 1975. I explored the creation of youth identities in the North and the South based on texts written by adults for youth and by young people themselves, published in newspapers, magazines, other literary productions, and textbooks at the time. Concentrating on texts, I also consider the educational and organizational systems there that facilitated the transmissions of these texts and/or helped to socialize young people, shaping (or not shaping) them into a certain mold. The time at the Center was instrumental for me to build up foundations for 4 articles that have been published or accepted for publication and my manuscript project.

parkerWednesday, 22 February 2017, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Jason Parker
| Associate Professor, Department of History

“Wilson’s Curse:  The Postwar ‘Federal Moment’ and the Global South’s Path to Political Modernity”

The Glasscock Faculty Research Fellowship enabled Dr. Parker to spend the past academic year working on his (third) book project, “Wilson’s Curse: The United States, Third World Nationalism, and Modernization in the Postwar Federal Moment.”  The two decades after World War II saw a worldwide vogue for federations as vehicles for late- and post-colonial sovereignty. His project studies the rise and fall of federations as a historical phenomenon of the era of post-World War II decolonization.  In what Parker, Michael Collins, and other scholars have taken to calling the ‘federal moment,” a multitude of decolonizing and postcolonial states– and even Europe itself– embarked on the experiment of federalizing their polities.  Dr. Parker’s is a comparative study of postwar Third World federations as virtually all of them shrank or imploded in very short order, and the role– or lack thereof– of the Cold War superpowers in their appearance and trajectory on the world stage.

heidicampbell_160x120Wednesday, 8 March 2017, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Heidi Campbell | Associate Professor, Department of Communication

“Considering Religion’s New Interpreters and Authority in Digital Culture”

As digital media empowers users with new opportunities to discuss and perform their religiosity online, new categories of religious leaders, structures and discourse have arisen online. We will discuss these new forms of religious authority, their influence, and the tensions they create when they are perceived to act as competitors to established religious institutions.

Richard Russo. Credit: Elena Seibert

Credit: Elena Seibert

Thursday, 23 March 2017, 9-10 a.m. (NOTE: This is a Thursday, not the typical Wednesday)
Richard Russo
| Novelist, screenwriter, short-story writer

Pulitzer Prize-winner for Empire Falls and author of the recent memoir Elsewhere, Richard Russo chronicles life in the gritty industrial towns of the American Northeast, from their gossip and resentments to their rich characters and cafes. Russo’s previous works include seven novels and one collection of short stories, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Empire Falls, which was also adapted into an HBO miniseries starring Paul Newman, Ed Harris, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Helen Hunt. Russo earned a bachelor’s degree, a master’s in fine arts, and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. He has two daughters and lives with his wife in Camden, Maine.

Phillip Caputo photoWednesday, 5 April 2017, 9-10 a.m.
Philip Caputo | Author and Journalist

Novelist and journalist Philip Caputo has written 15 books, including two memoirs, five books of general nonfiction, and eight novels. His acclaimed memoir of Vietnam, A Rumor of War (1997), has been published in 15 languages, has sold two million copies since its publication, and is widely regarded as a classic in the literature of war. His novel, Crossers (2009), is set against a backdrop of drug and illegal-immigrant smuggling on the Mexican border. His most recent book, The Longest Road (2013), is a travel and adventure book. In addition to books, Caputo has published dozens of major magazine articles, reviews, and op-ed pieces in publications ranging from the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post to Esquire, National Geographic, and the Virginia Quarterly Review.

sweet_160x148Wednesday, 19 April 2017, 9-10 a.m.
Kristi Sweet | Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy

Dr. Sweet will be discussing her current book project on Kant’s Critique of Judgment. In this project, she seeks to understand what unifies the seemingly disparate parts of the text under the auspices of the place this text holds in Kant’s critical system. Sweet focuses on the transitional role the text is meant to play, and how each of the judgments described in the text fulfills this promise. In this, we can see the deep kinship between arts and sciences, and theory and practice.

Fall 2016

crisman_120x160Wednesday, 21 September 2016, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Kevin Crisman | Professor, Nautical Archaeology Graduate Program, Department of Anthropology, 2015-16 Glasscock Internal Faculty Residential Fellow

A Heroine, a Water Witch, and Two Phoenixes: The Archaeology of Early American Steamboats

Over the past quarter-century faculty and students in Texas A&M’s Nautical Archaeology Program (Department of Anthropology) have explored numerous wrecks of early North American steamboats. Re-assembly of the bits and pieces is revealing previously-obscure patterns of emulation and innovation in the development of this revolutionary transportation technology. The research is also highlighting the many ways that steamboats captured both the business and the imagination of the U.S. and Canadian public. 

haefeli_pyramids_160x120Wednesday, 28 September 2016, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Evan Haefeli |Associate Professor, Department of History

“Rage against the Truth:” Religious Toleration in the Cromwellian Empire

Americans like to think that their country began as a refuge from religious persecution in Europe, however, the story is much more complicated than that. There was no guarantee that colonial America would become as religiously diverse as it did. There were many twists and turns along the way. For example, Oliver Cromwell’s revolutionary regime has a reputation for religious tolerance, but it did not look the same everywhere, as the contrasting experiences of Quakers in Massachusetts — which otherwise promoted the myth of itself as a religious refuge, but now was part of the persecuting establishment — Barbados, and Suriname in the 1650s reveals.

Andrew BacevichWednesday, 12 October 2016, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Andrew Bacevich | Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History, Boston University Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies

Professor Bacevich will present a public lecture Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. titled “America’s War for the Greater Middle East: Why It Began and Why It Never Ends.” Take this opportunity to have an informal discussion with Dr. Bacevich.

Andrew J. Bacevich is a Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History at Boston University. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, and received his PhD in American Diplomatic History from Princeton University. Before joining the faculty of Boston University, he taught at West Point and Johns Hopkins. Bacevich is the author of Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War (2010). His previous books include The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (2008); The Long War: A New History of US National Security Policy since World War II (2007) (editor); The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (2005); and American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U. S. Diplomacy (2002). His essays and reviews have appeared in a variety of scholarly and general interest publications including The Wilson QuarterlyThe National InterestForeign AffairsForeign PolicyThe Nation, and The New Republic. His op-eds have appeared in the New York TimesWashington PostWall Street JournalFinancial TimesBoston Globe, and Los Angeles Times, among other newspapers. He is also the editor of a volume entitled The Short American Century:  A Postmortem (2012). His newest book is Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (2013). In 2004, Dr. Bacevich was a Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. He has also held fellowships at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the Council on Foreign Relations.

morrisWednesday, 26 October 2016, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Theresa Morris | Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has created rapid change in the political-economic environment of hospitals and, also, a unique opportunity for researchers to study how political-economic change affects hospitals and the relationships in hospitals between healthcare clinicians and patients. Using interview and observational data collected over a 2.5 year period, I explore the relationship between nurses and patients in the obstetrical unit of a New England non-profit community hospital that has undergone swift organizational change, including two acquisition attempts by for-profit hospital systems—one unsuccessful attempt and that closed on October 1, 2016.

lakkimsettiWednesday, 30 November 2016, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Chaitanya Lakkimsetti | Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Texas A&M University

In 2014, the Indian Supreme Court responding to a petition filed by NGOs and transgender individuals delivered a groundbreaking judgment that recognizes gender identity of transgender individuals as an important aspect of personhood. In addition to the recognition of gender identity, it also recommended the Indian state to implement affirmative action in education and employment to address marginalization of transgender individuals. Subsequent to the Supreme Court’s judgment, various Bills have been presented before the parliament including a Bill drafted by the India government to transform the judgment into concrete legislative action. This sudden recognition and legislative and judicial support for transgender rights is in sharp contrast to the national-level resistance sparked by the legal campaigns to decriminalize adult consensual homosexuality. In this book chapter, I examine the salience of transgender rights in the India public sphere since the mid-2000s, and discuss the implications of this legal and political visibility for gender identity politics in India. Drawing on ethnographic and qualitative research I show that these developments have led to a sharp distinction between gender identity and sexuality in the policy and legal realms. As a result, trans individuals and groups are able to make claim to civil rights based on their gender identity, but their sexuality remains imperiled as non-heterosexual sexual acts continue to be criminalized through the continued presence of the anti-sodomy law (a colonial law introduced by the British colonial state). Existing at the nexus of this contradiction, transgender subjects remain as fractured citizens.

Morning Coffee Hour Archive