Handbook of Texas Advisory Committee Members

Andrew J. Torget (Chair)

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

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 overlooks 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

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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Harriet Denise Joseph

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

Jessica Brannon-Wranosky is an associate professor of 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

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

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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Heather Green Wooten

Heather Green Wooten is an adjunct assistant professor for the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) where she teaches courses in medical history and medical ethics. She specializes in the history of disease epidemics, women and medicine and American medical biography. Wooten’s first book, The Polio Years in Texas: Battling a Terrifying Unknown was a recipient of the Mary M. Hughes Research Fellowship, the T. R. Fehrenbach Book Award by the Texas Historical Commission, and ETHA’s Ottis Lock Endowment Award. Recent publications include Old Red: Pioneering Medical Education in Texas for the TSHA Fred Rider Cotten Popular History Series, and Skilled Hands: Surgery at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, co-authored with William Henry Kellar. Her latest endeavor involves writing the 50-year history of the Graduate School of the Biomedical Sciences at UTMB. In 2018, Wooten was appointed Project Director for the Handbook of Texas Medicine, currently undergoing development. She is an active member of many regional and state historical organizations, and a past president of the East Texas Historical Association. Wooten earned a Ph.D. in the Medical Humanities from UTMB in 2006.

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Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell

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 Cunningham

Sean P. Cunningham is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History at Texas Tech University. He received his Ph.D. in Modern American History from the University of Florida in 2007. His first book, Cowboy Conservatism: Texas and the Rise of the Modern Right, was published in 2010, and his second book, American Politics in the Postwar Sunbelt: Conservative Growth in a Battleground Region, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014. His current research explores the Texas Democratic Party’s relationship with FDR during the 1930s and early 1940s, with particular interest in the New Deal’s impact on state and local campaign strategies. Cunningham teaches courses in Texas history, modern American political history, and the history of modern conservatism. In 2013, Texas Tech honored him with the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Raúl A. Ramos

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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