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September 27, 2001


DALLAS (SMU) -- Southern Methodist University’s William P. Clements Jr. Center for Southwest Studies has four new scholars in residence.

The center, part of SMU’s Dedman College and the William P. Clements Jr. Department of History, promotes research, publishing, teaching and public programming in a variety of fields related to the American Southwest. Most of the scholars are spending the year at the center to turn their dissertations into book-length manuscripts.

In addition, for the first time this year the center is hosting a Fulbright scholar from Hungary who will be studying U.S.-Mexico borderlands under the guidance of David Weber, director of the Clements Center and the Robert H. and Nancy Dedman Professor of History.

This year’s scholars are as follows:

  • Martina Will de Chaparro is the Carl B. and Florence E. King Senior Fellow in Southwest History. She is conducting research for her book, God Gives and God Takes Away: Death and Dying in New Mexico, 1700-1900, which looks at death among New Mexican Catholics. With a variety of sources to research, Will de Chaparro uses wills and murder cases to understand beliefs about death and sacramental records and archaeological evidence to explore changing mortuary practices. Will de Chaparro received her Ph.D. in Latin American history from the University of New Mexico.
  • Pekka Hämäläinen is the Clements Fellow in Southwest Studies. He is converting his dissertation, The Comanche Empire: A Study of Indigenous Power, 1700-1875, into a book about how this nation built and maintained an expanding empire on the Southern Plains, in the Southwest and in northern Mexico by manipulating and exploiting the Spanish and Mexican colonies. He holds a doctorate in history from the University of Helsinki, Finland.
  • Andrea Kökény, a Fulbright scholar from Szeged, Hungary, is studying the identity changes of Anglo-Americans who, from 1820 to 1850, moved to Texas, fought a war of independence from Mexico, and joined the U.S. Kökeny wants to understand how Anglo-Texan settlers perceived the U.S. before independence and how their return to American citizenship shaped their identity.
  • Omar Valerio-Jiménez is the Summerfield Roberts Fellow in Texas History. While at the Clements Center, Valerio-Jiménez will expand his dissertation into a book, Indíos Bárbaros, Divorcées, and Flocks of Vampires: Identity and Nation on the Rio Grande, 1749-1894. His research focuses on the region of the Rio Grande border in South Texas from the mid-18th century to the beginning of the 20th century. In his book, he will explain the changes in the region’s citizenship, ethnicity and gender relations of the ethnic Mexican residents when jurisdiction over the area changed from Spain to Mexico, and ultimately, to the U.S. He plans on looking at interethnic conflict, conquest, divorce, crime and rebellions. He recently received his Ph.D. from UCLA and has taught at the University of California-Irvine and at Claremont McKenna College.