Timothy Seiter

Ph.D. Program







University of Houston, 2019 B.A., summa cum laude
Alvin Community College, 2016 A.A., summa cum laude

I study the Spanish borderlands and am currently putting the finishing touches on my first book, Wrangling Pelicans, which describes life as a presidial soldier in eighteenth-century Texas. Instead of focusing on equipment, salaries, and troop numbers, as is typical, my book examines the full spectrum of these frontier soldiers’ everyday lives—tasks that ranged from guarding horses to gambling away their equipment. In other words, my social history provides a more bottom-up look at presidial life.

Recently, my colleague Andrew Joseph Pegoda and I founded Conceptions Review, a website where experts address common misconceptions in their respective fields. CR grew out of a passion for public writing. We believe that scholarship should not be locked behind paywalls or written in dense jargon. If you’re interested in deconstructing a common myth in your area of expertise, send us a pitch.

When not reading stories about presidials failing to catch Native raiders or editing wonderful articles on CR such as Kendall Dinniene’s “Eat a Salad, Sweetie,” I am likely working on yet another book project—a biography of Spanish Texas’s most independent governor, Rafael Martínez Pacheco. I argue that through his policies of providing Indians tribute and by ignoring his superiors’ commands he stabilized Texas for the Crown.

In 2023, I will complete my most ambitious piece of scholastic work—a general history of the Karankawa people entitled Persistent Peoples. Past histories of Karankawas label these Indians as “the meanest, greediest, laziest, most treacherous, lecherous, vicious, cowardly, insolent aborigines of the Southwest, the scourge of the frontier.” A fresh history is needed. My book, besides reorienting the Karankawas’ image, places a spotlight on the Karankawa people today who are reclaiming their land and who are revitalizing their culture. Instead of being “extinct” as previously claimed, the Karankawas persistently survive.

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Timothy Seiter