UH Center for Public History Lecture Series - University of Houston
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UH Center for Public History Lecture Series

(Formerly the Tenneco Lecture Series and the El Paso Corporation Lecture Series)


The UH Center for Public History Lecture Series provides a unique opportunity for Houston professionals, community leaders, and others to consider historical, social and cultural perspectives directly related to the decisions they make. The Series brings to the University of Houston and the larger Houston community scholars, artists, and policymakers who shape our world and broaden our intellectual horizons.

Inaugurated in 1986 as the Tenneco Lecture Series, the series was made possible by grants from Tenneco, Inc. and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The El Paso Corporation assumed the title of this Lecture Series from 2011 until 2014, when it was renamed the UH Center for Public History Lecture Series.

Over the years, the UH Center for Public History Lecture Series has sponsored several symposia, drawing international participants, on issues as wide-ranging as NAFTA and North American Urban Development; American Energy Policy in the 1970s; and Dumps, Landfills and the Neighborhood.

The UH Center for Public History Lecture Series has sponsored nearly 300 events across the UH campus.

Past speakers in the Series include Robert Caro, Henry Cisneros, Norman Cousins, David McCullough, Elie Wiesel, Cornel West, Daniel Yergin, Lynton Caldwell, Alfred Kahn, and Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchu Tum, among others.

With support of the UH Center for Public History Lecture Series, the CPH has hosted national meetings, such as those for the American Society for Environmental History (1993; 2005), Urban History Association (2008), and other professional associations.

Requests for funding must be made by UH faculty. See the online application page for more details.

CPH 2017 Lectures:

CPH Lecture Series Event: September 29th

  • Dr. Tom Scheinfeldt will give a presentation titled “Collaborative Creativity: What Art and Design Can Teach Humanities Scholars About Working Together” on Friday, September 29th from 1:00-2:00 p.m. in Agnes Arnold Hall 210. 

        Learn More

Chicano Soul: Book Release & Panel Discussion: Oct. 18th

  • On October 18th, 2017, the Center for Public History at the University of Houston will present a panel discussion on the 10th anniversary reissue of Ruben Molina’s celebrated book, Chicano Soul: Recordings and History of an American Culture.  

        Learn More

CPH Recent Lectures:

 Eric Magrane: "Climate, History, and the Poetry of Place: The Sonoran Desert and Beyond" 

Eric Magrane, an emerging geographer and poet based at the University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), and co-author/co-editor of the 2016 book, TheSonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide.  In his presentation, Eric discusses the practice of interdisciplinary humanistic methods in analyzing the “poetry of place” in the Gulf Coast region—other words, using literary techniques and forms of presentation (such as the “field guide”) to tease out new understandings of local landscapes, especially how the practices of industry and conservation have intersected, overlapped, and/or co-existed. See more of Eric Magrane’s work here: http://ericmagrane.com/

Professor Karl Jacoby: "The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire."

Jacoby discusses how Guillermo Eliseo / William creatively navigated the complexities of identity and race issues during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the United States. The study of borderlands and the people who come from them, like those between Texas and Mexico, Jacoby argues, reveals the centrality of these liminal spaces in the historical identity of the United States. See more here: Karl Jacoby Books

Dr. Dwight Watson: "Murder on the Bayou: Jose Campos Torres and Police Brutality."

Dr. Dwight Watson presents: "Murder on the Bayou: Jose Campos Torres and Police Brutality." Dr. Dwight D. Watson is an Associate Professor of History at Texas State University. His specializations include African American History, Police and violence and the civic rights movements. 

Rebecca R. Benefiel: Roman Graffiti and Digital Humanities

Lecture by Dr. Rebecca Benefiel- Associate Professor of Classics at Washington & Lee University. Dicusses the working with first-century handwritten inscriptions, designing the Ancient Graffiti Project, and developing and growing a DH Project. 

Samina Ali: Muslim Women and Digital Activism 

Samina Ali, presenting at the University of Houston, discusses her work as lead curator of the global digital exhibit, Muslima, her novel, Madras on Rainy Days, advocacy of women's health and women's rights, and Muslim women's experience in the United States and around the world. Her presentation is followed by a Question + Answer session, moderated by Houston based journalist, Eesha Pandit.

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