Paul Barba, Winner of the David J. Weber Book Prize

Book Prize Award Lecture: Thursday, April 27, 2023

Country of the Cursed and the Driven: Slavery and the Texas Borderlands

6 pm lecture

The Texana Room, Fondren Library
6404 Robert S. Hyer Lane, SMU

Book PrizeThe 2021 David J. Weber Prize for the Best Non-fiction Book on Southwestern America will be presented to Paul Barba at a special ceremony and book signing at SMU honoring his volume, Country of the Cursed and the Driven: Slavery and the Texas Borderlands (University of Nebraska Press, 2021).

The judging committee wrote:

Paul Barba’s stunning new monography, Country of the Cursed and the Driven: Slavery and the Texas Borderlands, heralds the arrival of a new and potent voice in the history of the American West.  Barba’s study shows us in new ways not only the deep-seated nature of slavery in the Texas Borderlands, but its evolution across various national periods and imperial regimes.  By arguing that slavery in Texas had roots deep in the Spanish colonial period and in Native society, Barba helps to break down the walls that have long separated the history of New Spain, from the historiographies of the American West and the Old South.

Paul Barba is a professor of history at Bucknell University where he is also affiliated faculty in Critical Black Studies.  He received his Ph.D, M.A., and B.A. all from the University of California - Santa Barbara.  His research focuses on cross-cultural violence in colonial North America.  As a social historian, Professor Barba appreciates how people and their communities make history (i.e., are agents of change) - and thus tries to avoid overly theoretical and teleological frameworks for understanding the past. On the side, he is a regular contributor to the Journal of the Civil War Era Muster Blog. In 2011, the Western History Association Council and the Clements Center agreed to sponsor a new book prize to be administered by the WHA. The David J. Weber Prize for the Best Non-Fiction Book on Southwestern America was presented for the first time at the 2012 annual meeting of the WHA. The purpose of the prize is to promote fine writing and original research on the American Southwest. The competition is open to any non-fiction book, including biography, on any aspect of Southwestern life, past or present, copyrighted in the previous year.


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