I am interested in the peoples and landscapes of the Americas over the past five hundred years. When doing research I enjoy drawing upon numerous disciplines and incorporating a variety of methods, techniques, and skills.
I graduated from the Transatlantic History Doctoral Program from the Department of History and Geography, mastering comprehensive examinations in the fields of Migration History, Revolutions, Cartographic History and the History of Exploration and “Discovery.” I utilize methods and incorporate insights from multiple fields including history, geography, folklore, cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistics and Native American and Indigenous Studies.
The dissertation, entitled “Indians in their Proper Place: Culture Areas, Linguistic Stocks, and the Genealogy of a Map” explores 150 years of thematic maps of American Indian homelands, languages, and culture. The dissertation is a metahistory of the classifications of American Indians by geographers, anthropologists, and linguists.
My Masters project-thesis on Traditional foods of the Choctaw-Apache community and the resulting book Choctaw-Apache Foodways were the result of cross-disciplinary research. I drew upon written publications (history, cookbooks, ethnohistory, geography, literature, folklore, and archaeological reports), manuscripts, and other archive materials. The research hinged on participant observation with more than thirty contacts, oral history interviews, and employed community mapping.
For another example, in Fall 2009, I conducted background research regarding Natchitoches’ 1927 Texas and Pacific Railroad Depot. That research brought me and my father (who offered his services as my unpaid research assistant) to the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. En- route I visited the restored 1912 era T&P Depot (Amtrak Station) and the Texas and Pacific Railway Museum in Marshall, TX. I did archival research at SMU’s DeGolyer Library and took the Trinity Railway from downtown Dallas to the magnificent 1931 T&P station, where I photo documented the building’s architecture. (Youtube videos courtesy of the maker)
A Summer 2010 trip to Nacogdoches to do research on descendants of Los Adaes brought me to the East Texas Research Center, where this time me and a cousin met with Peggy Jasso, a Texas genealogist specializing in old Spanish and mestizo families. Then we searched land records and poured through old Spanish documents translated in the E.B. Blake Collection. We visited rural communities and a number of the older cemeteries. In the course of visiting these communities we had the pleasure of stumbling into some basic ethnographic work with Dr. George Avery, an archaeologist at Stephen F. Austin University also doing interviews of people along the historic El Camino Real. Dr. Avery also gave us a crash course on the pre-historic and historic archaeology of the area. Before returning home, I saw Old Stone Fort, Mission Delores and stopped for inspiration at El Lobanillo, the site of Gil Ybarbo’s ranch on the Texas side of the Sabine River.
These kinds of integrated research trips help establish a sense of spatial relationship when doing time-sensitive, focused research. They also serve as excellent orientation for immersion into a longer-term research project.
I enjoy doing archival research. Over the course of my research I have gained familiarity with the following institutions:
I am also comfortable searching court records and government documents. I have done public records and land title searches in in Natchitoches, Sabine, Caddo, Bossier, and Orleans parishes. I also work with the online resources of the Louisiana State Land Office and the Texas General Land Office.
For more examples of my site visits and action-oriented research, visit my blog.