Handbook of Texas Advisory Committee Members

Andrew J. Torget is an associate professor at the University of North Texas, where he specializes in Texas, the Old South, the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, and digital scholarship. The founder and director of numerous digital humanities projects -- including the Digital Austin Papers, Mapping Texts, Texas Slavery Project, and Voting America -- Andrew earned his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and served as the founding director of the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond. In 2011, he was named the inaugural David J. Weber Research Fellow at the Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University. His most recent book is Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850, which won numerous book prizes and awards, including the David J. Weber-Clements Center Prize for Best Non-Fiction Book on Southwestern America from the Western Historical Association.

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Brett J. Derbes was born in Opelousas, Louisiana, and grew up in Dallas-Fort Worth.  He began his undergraduate degree at Tarrant County College (TCC) and transferred to the University of North Texas (UNT), where he earned his B.A. and M.A. in History (2007, 2011).  He accepted an academic scholarship to Auburn University in Alabama, where he earned a Ph.D. in History (2018).  His research focuses on inmate labor at state penitentiaries in the Antebellum and Civil War South.

Dr. Derbes joined the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) as a member in 2008 and began working as a graduate student intern on the Handbook of Civil War Texas the following year.  He contributed thirty-six entries and helped fact-check other entries.  At Auburn University he was a graduate student assistant for the Encyclopedia of Alabama in 2012 and contributed twenty-three articles.  He also earned a certificate in Archival History and focused his research on Digital State Encyclopedia (DSE) projects.

His publications include chapters in Incarcerated Women: A History of Struggles, Oppression, and Resistance in American Prisons (2017), Reconsidering Southern Labor History: Race, Class, and Power (2018), as well as articles in the Journal of African American History, Louisiana History, and Alabama Review.

Dr. Derbes joined the TSHA Staff in June 2015 as Managing Editor of the Handbook of Texas.  In that role he manages all aspects of the Handbook and coordinates with project directors to continually expand and improve content. The role requires him to hire, train, and supervise interns, graduate students, and Handbook staff who work in the office and remotely. He participates in department and board meetings, as well as assigning, fact-checking, editing, revising, updating, and improving online entries focused on people, places, and events in Texas history. 

Dr. Derbes also teaches U.S. and Texas history courses online for Tyler Junior College as an adjunct professor.  He is married to Kimberly and they have a son, Alex.

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Andrew R. Graybill has taught at Southern Methodist Univeristy since 2011 and serves as the Director of the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, as well as a professor in the Clements Department of History.

Born and raised in San Antonio, he received his PhD in history from Princeton University in 2003 and was a Clements Research Fellow for the Study of Southwestern America in 2004-05. Graybill is a historian of the North American West, with particular interest in continental expansion, borders, race, violence, and the environment.

He is the author or editor of four books: Policing the Great Plains: Rangers, Mounties, and the North American Frontier, 1875-1910 (University of Nebraska Press, 2007); Bridging National Borders in North America: Transnational and Comparative Histories, which he co-edited with Benjamin Johnson (Duke University Press, 2010); The Red and the White: A Family Saga of the American West (Liveright, 2013); and Civil War Wests: Testing the Limits of the United States which he co-edited with Adam Arenson (California, 2015).  His current research projects include a book on the Indian Wars for North America for the “Very Short Introductions” series at Oxford University Press (co-authored with Ari Kelman), and a sweeping synthetic history of the North American Great Plains.

He is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, and, with Benjamin Johnson, he established and edits the “David J. Weber Series in the New Borderlands History” at the University of North Carolina Press.  He has written book reviews for The American Scholar, The New York Times, Texas Monthly, and The Wall Street Journal, among other venues.

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A native Texan, Harriet Denise Joseph is a Latin American historian focusing primarily on Mexico. She earned her B.A. from Southern Methodist Univeristy (1967) and both her M.A. and Ph.D. at the Univeristy of North Texas (1971, 1976), where she studied under the mentorship of Donald Chipman.  Her area of expertise includes Spanish Texas, Mexican-American history, and the history of Jewish community in twentieth-century Brownsville.  

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Jessica Brannon-Wranosky is the Distinguished Professor of Digitial Humanities and History at Texas A&M University-Commerce. She received her Ph.D. in history from the University of North Texas. Dr. Brannon-Wranosky specializes in women, gender and sexuality history and digital humanities applications. Her work has appeared in a number of regional and national academic journals, anthologies, and a variety of online digital publications and exhibits. Her most recent publications include Impeached: The Removal of Texas Governor James E. Ferguson, A Centennial Examination coedited with Bruce A. Glasrud, (Texas A&M University Press, forthcoming 2017), and essays by her in Texas Women/American Women: Their Lives and Times (University of Georgia Press, 2015)—a 2016 winner of the Liz Carpenter Award, Discovering Texas History (University of Oklahoma Press, 2014), and This Corner of Canaan: Essays on Texas in Honor of Randolph B. Campbell (University of North Texas Press, 2013). Dr. Brannon-Wranosky has received several awards for her research including TSHA’s John H. Jenkins Award in 2015 and the Texas Oral History Association’s Best Article Award in 2016. She is currently working on a book project that examines southern state legislatures’ regulation of sexuality, sexual violence, and women’s reproductive health from 1870-1975.

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Gregg Cantrell was born in Sweetwater, Texas and raised in Cooper, Roswell (NM), and Abilene. He graduated from Abilene Cooper High School and majored in Management at Texas A&M (1979), where I also earned an MBA (1980). I later returned to A&M for a PhD in History (1988).

He is a Professor of History and the Erma and Ralph Lowe Chair in Texas History at Texas Christian University (TCU).  He previously taught at the University of North Texas for three years, Hardin-Simmons University for two years, and Sam Houston State University for ten years. He is a three-degree Texas Aggie, but these days has divided loyalties between A&M and TCU. 

He was trained in the field of Southern History by his mentors Dale T. Knobel, Robert A. Calvert, and Walter L. Buenger. Most of his work has focused on the state of Texas, and his early work dealt with the intersection of race and politics in the South. He wrote a biography of Stephen F. Austin and more recently a book on the Texas People's Party with Yale University Press. He coauthored a college-level textbook, coedited an anthology on history and collective memory in Texas, and has published a number of scholarly articles and essays.

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Michael V. Hazel is a native Dallasite and a fifth-generation Texan. He graduated from Highland Park High School and earned his B.A. in history from SMU and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago.

For the past 39 years, Dr. Hazel has concentrated on local history, working for Old City Park from 1981 to 1988, and for the Dallas Historical Society from 1988 to 1992 (serving both organizations as Interim Director). For four years, he was part of a team of historians working to create a museum of Dallas County history in the Old Red Courthouse.

Since 1989 Dr. Hazel has edited Legacies, a regional history journal jointly published by six local historical organizations. He has also edited and written 14 books, including Dallas Reconsidered (1995), Dallas: A History of Big D (1997), Dallas: A Dynamic Century (1998), Stanley Marcus from A to Z (2000), The Dallas Public Library: Celebrating a Century of Service (2001), and Historic Photos of Dallas (2006).

Dr. Hazel has also taught Dallas history at SMU and museum studies at the University of North Texas. From 1999 to 2019, he coordinated the Annual Legacies Dallas History Conference co-sponsored by sixteen local history groups.

He is currently coordinating an effort to add more entries relating to Tarrant and Dallas counties to the Handbook of Texas Online, a project sponsored by the Texas State Historical Association.

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Dr. Heather Green Wooten is Executive Director of the Texas State Historical Association.  A prominent Texas medical historian, Wooten previously served on the faculty of the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB-Galveston) where she taught courses in medical history and medical ethics.   She has authored or co-authored four books related to epidemics and medical care in Texas.  Her first book, The Polio Years in Texas:  Battling a Terrifying Unknown (2010) was a recipient of the TSHA Mary M. Hughes Research Fellowship, the T. R. Fehrenbach Book Award, and the Ottis Lock Endowment awarded by the East Texas Historical Association.  Publications also include Old Red:  Pioneering Medical Education in Texas (2012) for the TSHA Fred Rider Cotten Popular History Series; and Skilled Hands: Surgery at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston (2016), co-authored with William Henry Kellar.  Wooten also serves as Project Director for the Handbook of Texas Medicine, the first online encyclopedia in the nation devoted to the history of medicine.  She is an active member of regional and state historical organizations, including service on the TSHA Board of Directors and is a past president of the East Texas Historical Association.  She was elected an ETHA Fellow in 2019.  A native of West Texas, Wooten received her Ph.D. in the Medical Humanities from UTMB-Galveston in 2006.  She currently resides in Kemah with her husband, Kevin and beloved Labrador, Lily.

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Randolph B. Campbell is Regents' Professor of History at the University of North Texas (UNT).  He earned his B.A. (1961), M.A. (1963), and Ph.D. (1966) from the University of Virginia.  In 2013 he became the inaugural Lone Star Chair in Texas History, having been named Lone Star Professor in 2011 after completion of the first phase of creation of the chair. Establishing the chair was a project of TSHA and UNT collaboration as part of their affiliation. The Lone Star Chair also was charged to serve as Chief Historian.  He was president of the Texas State Historical Association from 1993-94, and served as Chief Historian from 2008-17.

His previous books include Gone To Texas: A History of the Lone Star State (2003), An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821-1865, (1989), and numerous other books, chapters, and articles on Texas history. 

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Sean P. Cunningham is Chair of the Department of History at Texas Tech University. A recipient of Texas Tech's President's Excellence in Teaching Award and a member of its Teaching Academy, Cunningham specializes in twentieth-century U.S. political history, with a particular focus on Texas and the American Sunbelt. He is the author of Cowboy Conservatism: Texas and the Rise of the Modern Right (Kentucky, 2010), American Politics in the Postwar Sunbelt: Conservative Growth in a Battleground Region (Cambridge, 2014), and Bootstrap Liberalism: Texas Political Culture in the Age of FDR (Kansas, forthcoming 2021). Cunningham also serves on the Board of Directors for Humanities Texas and, at Texas Tech, serves as Title IX Liaison for Academic Affairs. He received his Ph.D. in modern American history from the University of Florida and now resides in Lubbock with his wife and two daughters.

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Raúl A. Ramos received his A.B. in History and Latin American Studies from Princeton University in 1989 and his Ph.D. in History from Yale University in 1999. He joined the History faculty at the University of Houston in 2002 from his position as assistant professor in History and Ethnic Studies at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Ramos was a Fellow at the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University from 2000-2001.

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