October 3, 2007

Historian David J. Weber inducted
into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

DALLAS (SMU) – David J. Weber, the Robert and Nancy Dedman Professor of History at Southern Methodist University, was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

History Professor David J. Weber of Southern Methodist University
David J. Weber

Weber's election as a fellow of the prestigious institution was announced in the spring. Fellows are elected by Academy members based on the quality of their work and contributions to their field throughout their career.

Weber, who specializes in the American Southwest and Mexico, is author or editor of more than 22 books and 60 scholarly articles. He has been a member of the History Department faculty in Dedman College of Humanities and Science for more than 30 years.

“Dedman College is truly honored by this award to one of our outstanding faculty members,” said Caroline Brettell, dean ad interim of SMU's Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. “It is an acknowledgement of both the seriousness and significance of Professor Weber’s scholarship, and of his contributions to the knowledge of our past. We extend to Professor Weber our heartiest congratulations on this achievement.”

Weber is among 203 new fellows and 24 new foreign honorary members are being inducted, including a former vice president of the United States, a former Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, the mayor of New York City, and winners of Nobel and Academy Awards and the Pulitzer Prize.

"It gives me great pleasure to welcome these outstanding leaders in their fields to the Academy," said Academy President Emilio Bizzi. "Fellows are selected through a highly competitive process that recognizes individuals who have made preeminent contributions to their disciplines and to society at large."

Weber directs the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at SMU. Two governments have given him the highest honor they bestow on foreigners: In 2002, King Juan Carlos of Spain named him to membership in the Real Orden de Isabel la Católica, the Spanish equivalent of a knighthood, and in 2005, Mexico named him to the Orden Mexicana del Águila Azteca (the Order of the Aztec Eagle).

Weber’s books and articles have won several honors:

  •  Choice selected Foreigners in Their Native Land: Historical Roots of the Mexican Americans (1973) as one of the Outstanding Academic Books of the year.
  •  The Mexican Frontier, 1821-1846: The American Southwest Under Mexico (1982) won numerous awards, including the Ray Allen Billington prize from the Organization of American Historians and the Co-founders Award from Westerners International.
  •  Richard H. Kern: Expeditionary Artist in the Far Southwest, 1848-1853 (1985) received the 1985 Outstanding Art Book Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.
  •  The Spanish Frontier in North America (1992) was named one of the notable books of 1992 by The New York Times and won several awards, including the ",Spain and America", prize from the Spanish Ministry of Culture.
  •  Bárbaros: Spaniards and Their Savages in the Age of Enlightenment (2005) won the American Historical Association’s 2006 John Edwin Fagg Prize “for the best publication in the history of Spain, Portugal, or Latin America.”

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. Its broad-based membership is comprised of scholars and practitioners from various academic disciplines, public affairs and business, enabling it to conduct a wide range of interdisciplinary studies and public policy research. Current Academy research focuses on science and global security, social policy, the humanities and culture, and education.

This year's new fellows also include former Vice President Albert Gore, Jr., actor and film producer Robert Redford, former Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, New York Mayor and businessman Michael Bloomberg, Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt, New York Times investigative correspondent James Risen, filmmaker Spike Lee, economists Gregory Mankiw and Murray Weidenbaum, astronomer Donald Brownlee, robotics pioneer Rodney Brooks, Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter, supercomputer expert David Shaw, pianist Emanuel Ax, historian Nell Painter, former White House official and Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley, classicist Sabine MacCormack, and international public health leader Allan Rosenfield.

Foreign Honorary Members in this year's class come from Europe, Asia, Canada, and the Middle East, and include Italian glassblower Lino Tagliapietra, Israeli biochemist and Nobel laureate Avram Hershko, French literary scholar Tzvetan Todorov, Pritzker Prize-winning Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, and Canadian Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella.

Visit the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for more information and a complete list of this year’s fellows.

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