Austin Miller

Ph.D., History

Carlsbad, New Mexico

Research Area:
I study the American West and Southwest borderlands in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In particular, my research interests include the environment, the legacy of conflict, and the intertwined roles of memory and identity in western history.

Something Cool (or Hot) About My Field:
As climate change continues to reshape the environment and human geography of the West, the legacy of western development will need to be reexamined and adapted to serve growing populations in the face of increasing aridity. In order to meet these challenges and lay the groundwork for the region’s future, it is imperative that historians and policy makers develop an understanding of the often flawed legal and infrastructure decisions of the past.

Best Thing at SMU:
In March of 2019, I received a joint grant from the Clements Center for Southwest Studies and the SMU-in-Taos program, which allowed me to undertake a research trip to Picuris Pueblo (located just outside of Taos). During my week-long stay at the SMU-in-Taos campus at Fort Burgwin, I interviewed Picuris leadership and elders, producing a research paper that dealt with the Pueblo’s complicated relationship with the Pueblo Revolt, as well as recent attempts to regain diminished economic, legal, and cultural sovereignty.

Favorite Thing to do in Dallas:
I have enjoyed exploring the impressive variety of the Dallas restaurant scene with a handful of fellow grad students.

Wish I’d Known Before Grad School:
Veteran graduate students are among the best resources for information and advice when attempting to navigate the graduate school experience at SMU—lean on them early and often.

Favorite Leisure Activity:
Outside of school, I enjoy following an array of collegiate and professional sports, playing golf and tennis, and running the occasional half marathon.