From the University Press of Kansas. The mythmakers of US expansion have expressed “manifest destiny” in many different ways—and so have its many discontents. A multidisciplinary study that delves into these contrasts and contradictions, Inventing Destiny offers a broad yet penetrating cultural history of nineteenth-century US territorial acquisition—a history that gives voice to the underrepresented actors who significantly complicated US narratives of empire, from Native Americans and Anglo-American women to anti- and non-national expansionists. The contributors—established and emerging scholars from history, American studies, literary studies, art history, and religious studies—make use of source materials and techniques as various as artwork, religion, geospatial analysis, interior colonialism, and storytelling alongside fresh readings of traditional historical texts. For more information see the Inventing Destiny page
With the start of the Fall 2021 semester, I am assuming the role of director of the Center for History and Culture of Southeast Texas and the Upper Gulf Coast. In 2016, my colleague Dr. Mary Scheer founded the Center as one of the "Visionary Initiatives" launched by former LU president Kenneth Evans. Charged with the mission to promote the study of the Gulf Coast region, the Center has sponsored numerous programs highlighting the work of scholars and creatives from varied disciplines and backgrounds. In addition, the Center funds original research through its fellowship program and awards two annual book prizes. Judy Linsley became director in 2019 and ably guided the Center through the adversities of university bureaucracies, hurricanes, and pandemics. I look forward to contributing to the Center's efforts to deepen our understandings of the rich and varied cultures of Southeast Texas and the Gulf Coast.