Clements Center Evening Lecture Series

Jack Davis

The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 |  Hughes-Trigg Ballroom East, 3140 Dyer Street, SMU  |  5:30 reception followed by 6 pm lecture and book signing  |


To register, click here, call 214-768-3684 or email


The tragic collision between civilization and nature in the Gulf of Mexico becomes a uniquely American story in this environmental epic.

When painter Winslow Homer first sailed into the Gulf of Mexico, he was struck by its "special kind of providence." Indeed, the Gulf presented itself as America’s sea—bound by geography, culture, and tradition to the national experience—and yet, there has never been a comprehensive history of the Gulf until now. And so, in this rich and original work that explores the Gulf through our human connection with the sea, environmental historian Jack E. Davis finally places this exceptional region into the American mythos in a sweeping history that extends from the Pleistocene age to the twenty-first century.

Ultimately, Davis reminds us that amidst the ruin, beauty awaits its return, as the Gulf is, and has always been, an ongoing story. Sensitive to the imminent effects of climate change, and to the difficult task of rectifying grievous assaults of recent centuries, The Gulf suggests how a penetrating examination of a single region's history can inform the country's path ahead.

The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea (WW. Norton, 2017) was named a New York Times Notable Book and PBS Best Read of 2017, and won the Kirkus Prize for nonfiction.

 “A wide-ranging, well-told story, by turns informative, lyrical, inspiring and chilling for anyone who cares about the future of ‘America’s Sea.’” — Gerard Helferich, Wall Street Journal

 "Detailed and exhaustive, written in lucid, impeccable prose, The Gulf is a fine work of information and insight, destined to be admired and cited.” — William J. Cobb, Dallas Morning News

 “A beautiful homage to a neglected sea, a lyrical paean to its remaining estuaries and marshes, and a marvelous mash-up of human and environmental history.”—Philip ConnorNew York Times Book Review 

Maps and directions to SMU.


Use the Moody Parking Center at the southeast corner of SMU Boulevard and Airline Road. The garage is located at 3063 SMU Blvd., less than half a mile from U.S. Highway 75 (North Central Expressway). All-day parking is $5, payable by credit card.

Visitors may also use the Binkley Parking Center at the corner of Binkley Avenue and Airline Road. The visitor entrance is on Binkley Avenue, and visitors may park anywhere on Level 2 or above. Payment by credit card is made before exiting the garage; the rate is $1 per hour.

Metered parking is available as indicated on the campus map. Meters allow for a maximum of three hours at 25 cents per 15 minutes.