2022-23 Clements Senior Fellow for the Study of Southwestern America

Michael Phillips

michael phillips

Before attending graduate school at the University of Texas-Austin, Michael Phillips was an award-winning reporter and columnist for the University of Texas-Arlington student newspaper, The Shorthorn, as well as the Arlington Citizen-Journal, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 

Phillips received his Ph.D. in history in 2002 from UT. His dissertation, The Fire This Time: The Battle Over Racial, Regional and Religious Identities in Dallas, Texas, 1860-1990, won the university’s Outstanding Dissertation Award and was published as White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity, and Religion in Dallas, 1841-2001 by the University of Texas Press in 2006. White Metropolis won the Texas Historical Commission's 2007 T.R. Fehrenbach Award for Best Book on Texas history. 

In this study, Phillips delves deeply into Dallas's racial and religious past and uncovers a complicated history of resistance, collaboration, and assimilation between the city's African American, Mexican American, and Jewish communities and its white power elite.

Phillips co-authored with Patrick Cox The House Will Come to Order: How the Texas Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics (Texas, 2010). He also contributed essays to The Harlem Renaissance in the West: The New Negroes’ Western Experience (Routledge, 2011) and The Texas Right: The Radical Roots of Lone Star Conservatism (Texas A&M, 2014). 

Phillips taught at Collin College and the University of Texas-Arlington from 2007-22. He spent 2022-2023 at the Clements Center for Southwest Studies as the Senior fellow revising his book manuscript, "The Strange Career of Eugenics in Texas, 1854-1940" which is under contract with the University of Oklahoma Press.

Among other awards, in 2019-20 Phillips was named part of the first cohort of two-year college faculty to win the Mellon/American Council of Learned Societies Community College Faculty Fellowship. He received that award to fund his study on the history of the eugenics movement in Texas, which he will further develop during his time at the Clements Center. Phillips also earned the East Texas Historical Association’s Ottis Lock Award for Educator of the Year in 2021.

For more information click here for Phillips’ C.V.