Cathleen D. Cahill and Samuel Truett, faculty at the History Department in the College of Arts & Sciences, have been appointed to the Organization of American Historians (OAH) Distinguished Lectureship Program. They join more than 400 other scholars from the nation’s top universities, including their colleagues Associate Professor Andrew K. Sandoval-Strausz, who became a distinguished lecturer in 2013, and Distinguished Professor of History Virginia Scharff, who joined the program in 2003.
The OAH is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to American history scholarship with 7,800 members worldwide. It promotes excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history and also publishes the Journal of American History, the journal record in the field of American History.
The OAH established the Distinguished Lecturers Program in 1981 and sends lecturers to speak to audiences across the country at museums, libraries, universities, community centers, churches and synagogues, and other venues. They promote understanding and appreciation of all facets of U.S. history from the 1600s to the present, which is an essential component of the organization’s mission.
“We thank these historians for their service to the organization and for helping advance our mission,” said Katherine M. Finley, OAH’s executive director. “We congratulate them on achieving this high honor.”
Cahill has been a professor of history at The University of New Mexico since 2004. She is the author of Federal Fathers and Mothers: A Social History of the United States Indian Service, 1869–1932 (2011), which won the Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award and was a finalist for the David J. Weber and Bill Clements Book Prize.
Cahill is a social historian who explores the everyday experiences of ordinary people, primarily women. She focuses on women's working and political lives, asking how identities such as race, nationality, class, and age have shaped them. She is also interested in the connections generated by women's movements for work, play, and politics, and how mapping those movements reveal women in surprising and unexpected places.
She is currently engaged in two book projects. "Joining the Parade: Women of Color Challenge the Mainstream Suffrage Movement" follows the lead of feminist scholars of color calling for alternative "genealogies of feminism," using individual biographies to explore the activism of African American, Indigenous, Chinese American, and Hispana women before and after the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.
In "Indians on the Road: Gender, Race, and Regional Identity," she reimagines the West Coast through the lens of Indigenous people's relationships with the transportation systems that bisected their lands, forming corridors of conquest and environmental change while simultaneously connecting them in new and sometimes-empowering ways to other people and places.
Truett is an associate professor of history. A scholar of U.S.-Mexico borderlands, the North American West, environmental history, and comparative empires, borderlands, and indigenous peoples, he connects U.S. history to larger hemispheric and global frameworks.
His first book, Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (2006), takes a transnational approach to the U.S.-Mexico borderlands with a focus on turn-of-the-century Arizona and Sonora. He is also a coeditor, with Elliott Young, of Continental Crossroads: Remapping U.S.-Mexico Borderlands History (2004).
His current project focuses on a nineteenth-century British orphan who sailed across the China Seas as an adventurer, surveyor, and opium trader and became a peasant in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. This story anchors a border-crossing history of the British Empire, the Americas, and the maritime borderlands of the greater China Seas and the Pacific Ocean. Truett's second project-in-progress looks at the centuries-old fascination with ruins and lost worlds on the frontiers of North America and Latin America.