• Home
  • Congratulations to Ruben Flores and Ray Pence

Congratulations to Ruben Flores and Ray Pence

The Society for U.S. Intellectual History is pleased to announce the results of the deliberation of this year’s Annual Book Award Committee. The committee, composed of Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, University of Wisconsin; Robert Westbrook, University of Rochester; and Howard Brick, University of Michigan (chair), awarded this year’s prize for best book of 2014 to Ruben Flores, Backroads Pragmatists: Mexico’s Melting Pot and Civil Rights in the United States (University of Pennsylvania Press). The runner-up recognition went to K. Stephen Prince, Stories of the South: Race and the Reconstruction of Southern Identity, 1865-1915 (University of North Carolina Press). The committee sends the following statement:

Ruben Flores has written a startlingly original book about border-crossing theorists of education reform in Mexico and the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. In Backroads Pragmatists, we see a transnational flow of ideas that was fully bidirectional: Mexico’s postrevolutionary intellectuals and educational officials deployed principles of John Dewey’s Democracy and Education in fashioning a grandly ambitious program of rural schooling and national reconstruction, which subsequently impressed US social scientists and reformers in the Southwest as a model of cultural pluralism to emulate north of the border. Flores’s remarkable cast of characters includes those, such as George I. Sánchez, Marie Hughes, and Ralph L. Beals, who played pioneering roles in the 1940s court suits that ended the segregation of Mexican American students in California and Texas. In a work that represents transnational intellectual history at its best, rooted as deeply in the historiography of modern Mexico as in the US field, Flores reveals an unsuspected case of what might be called reverse modernization. We recognize Backroads Pragmatists as a major, stunning achievement.

Ray Pence received the General Electric Curatorial Research Fellowship for 2015-2016.  This will support his project, “Home Front Disability Policy Dialogues”.  He will also work as a consultant and writer for the exhibit that the Dole Institute will present starting at the end of July, 2015, which commemorates the 25thanniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  • Listen to Margaret Kelley discuss it's not just fear of violence or belief in the second amendment and gun rights prompting gun ownership.  On this episode of WhenExpertsAttack she explains that concerns about Armageddon and "supernatural" evil also are at play.  
  • Congratulations to Bobby Cervantes for being awarded the Harry Middleton Fellowship in Presidential Studies!
  • Read about Afro-Puerto Rican illustrator Eric Velasquez in this piece written by William García-Medina for Teaching For Change.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Alex Stucky for successfully defending his dissertation on December 12, 2019.
  • Geoffrey Newman did a podcast for the journal Kansas History that was broadcast on 91.9 KSDB-FM.  It is available online here.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Ora McWilliams for successfully defending his dissertation on May 10, 2019.
  • Congratulations to Sam Steuart for being named KU's 20th Truman scholar!
  • This article, written by Geoffrey Newman, was published in the August edition of the Kansas History Journal. Congratulations Geoffrey!
  • Rachel Schwaller and Saoussen Cheddadi successfully defended their respective dissertations on October 29, 2018. Congratulations, Drs. Schwaller and Cheddadi!
  • Congratulations to Ph.D. candidate Kathryn Vaggalis for being awarded the American Studies Association's 2018 Gene Wise-Warren Susman Prize!
  • Dr. Gamze Kati Gumus defended her dissertation with honors on May 10, 2018. Congratulations, Dr. Kati Gumus!
  • KU-AUMI InterArts was recently featured by the Commons in a video on improving inclusive communities at KU. You can watch the video, which features our own Sherrie Tucker amongst other founders of the movement at KU, and learn more about AUMI here!
  • Congratulations to Professor Robert Warrior on being elected to a member of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • This articlewritten by Ph.D. candidate Hannah Bailey, was published in the latest edition of Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Congratulations, Hannah!
  • We would like to recognize Patrick Sumner, 2005 alumni, for his work in this article about the defacement of the John Brown memorial in the Quindaro area of Kansas City, Kansas.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Jonathan Burrow-Branine for successfully defending his dissertation with honors January 25, 2018.
  • Please read this article about Professor Robert Warrior titled: Native scholar uncomfortably at home in American studies field.
  • Congratulations to Daniel Carey-Whalen, an alumni that was recently promoted as UTEP's Centennial Museum director.
  • Congratulations to Josh Parshall, an alumni who was recently featured in this article.
  • How a motion-tracking musical software is breaking down barriers for people with disabilities: click here to read more about the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI), a one-of-a-kind piece of inclusive technology that promotes musical improvisation. The article recognizes Professor Sherrie Tucker, who started AUMI jam sessions and helped to bring the grant and symposium for it to Lawrence. Written by Omar Sanchez
  • KU Special Education Department: With Ray Pence
  • Tribute Or Tribulation? How do we commemorate history? What is the best way to remember a conflicted and painful past? And who gets to decide? Listen here »
Upcoming Events
Hall Center Humanities Lecture Series

A forum for interdisciplinary dialogue between renowned speakers, the university and the surrounding communities.
Schedule of Lectures


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
Follow us:

Twitter Facebook


Far Above - The Campaign for KansasGive to American Studies

KU Today