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LSU Today Flagship Faculty
What was your previous position and where?I was assistant professor at the University of Wyoming from 1969-72.
What brought you to LSU?It was (and is) a much better university and was closer to the families of my wife and myself. At the time, we had our first child and wanted to be closer to his grandparents. Also, LSU had other faculty interested in Latin American history — my speciality — which Wyoming did not. And as much as we liked the West, the South is where we both grew up so it is "home" in a certain sense. We knew little about Louisiana at the time but have come to love the food and aspects of its culture.
What is your research interest?I have two. My long-term interest is the Spanish empire in the Caribbean in the 16th and early 17th centuries — one book so far. This has included Spanish Florida — three books — and my current project on what I call the "crisis of empire" that began in 1598 and lasted into the 1630s. The crisis was economic and military and involved, among other things on both sides of the Atlantic, the depopulation of that part of Hispaniola that became Saint Domingue and then Haiti. I have also written on Spanish Louisiana — two books. My other current interest is the history of LSU, 1860-1920, a book project that has taken a long time because it has been fit in between other projects that are more directly in my field, although recently it has been at the top of the pile of projects to finish, a fascinating story I am telling in considerable detail.
What do you hope to accomplish at LSU?I expect to finish both current book projects before I retire and, working with colleagues in other departments, perhaps get Atlantic studies off the ground as a multi-disciplinary field for undergraduates and graduates, as a minor.
What do you enjoy most about LSU?I love my colleagues and friends and teaching subjects, while having the time and resourses to do the research and writing I also find rewarding.
What are your major accomplishments?My major accomplishments include eight books, the six indicated plus an edited volume and a textbook; being named Murrill Distinguished Professor for my work on the history of LSU; receiving the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians; being Mellon Senior Fellow at the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University; being named LSU's Distinguished Research Master in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences for 2005; and just this March receiving the Garnie W. McGinty Lifetime Meritorious Service Award from the Louisiana Historical Association.