Jean A. Stuntz

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Jean Allison Stuntz
Historian Jean Stuntz IMG 1672.JPG
Jean Stuntz at West Texas Historical Association meeting in Lubbock, Texas (2011)
Born (1957-04-08) April 8, 1957 (age 57)
Orange, Orange County
Texas, USA
Residence Canyon, Randall County
Texas
Alma mater

Baylor University
Baylor Law School

University of North Texas
Occupation Historian
Professor at West Texas A&M University
Parents Homer Clyde and Billie Jean Williams Stuntz

Jean Allison Stuntz (born April 8, 1957)[1] is a professor at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, where she specializes in women's studies and the history of Texas, the Spanish Borderlands, and the American West. She has been teaching at WTAMU since 2001. In 2013, she was named the history department chairman.[2]

Background[edit]

Stuntz is the middle child of Homer Clyde Stuntz (born 1923), a retired physician, and the former Billie Jean Williams (born 1929).[3] She was born and reared in Orange in Orange County near Beaumont in southeast Texas. She has an older sister, Beverly Ann Stuntz Burgess, and a brother, Philip Williams Stuntz of College Station, Texas.[4]

In 1912, Stuntz's paternal great-grandfather, also named Homer Clyde Stuntz (1858–1924) of New York City, was named as a bishop of the Methodist Church. Homer Clyde Stuntz wrote at least two histories, stimulated by his missionary zeal, The Philippines and the Far East (1904)[5] and South American Neighbors (1916).[6]

Dr. Margaret Stuntz Coon (1917–2005),[7] a paternal aunt of Stuntz, graduated from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans and thereafter worked as a medical pathologist for two hospitals in Monroe, Louisiana, from 1956 until her retirement in 1987.[8]

She received her Bachelor of Arts degree (1979) from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and thereafter her Juris Doctorate from the Baylor Law School. She subsequently procured the Master of Arts (1996) and Ph.D. (2000) from the University of North Texas at Denton.[9] At North Texas, Stuntz said that she depended heavily on her major professor and mentor, Donald E. Chipman (born 1928), a specialist in the Spanish Borderlands.[10]

Stuntz is a board member of the Presbyterian Children's Home orphanage in Amarillo.[11]

Scholarly pursuits[edit]

Stuntz is best known for her award-winning book Hers, His, and Theirs: Community Property Laws in Spain and Early Texas, with foreword by Caroline Castillo Crimm and preface by Gordon Morris Bakken. The book is an outgrowth from Stuntz's doctoral dissertation entitled His, Hers, and Theirs: Domestic Relations and Marital Property Law in Texas to 1850.[12] According to a reviewer in the Journal of Southern History, Hers, His, and Theirs "fills a major void in the historiography of women in the Spanish borderlands and the American Southwest." In her research, Stuntz found that Hispanic women in the northern portion of the Spanish Empire in North America had "legal rights that would have astonished their British counterparts half a continent to the east. Under Spanish law, even in the sparsely settled land that would one day become Texas, married women could own property in their own names. They could control and manage not only their own property but even that of their husbands. And if their property rights were infringed, they could seek redress in the courts."[13] The book hence examines how the Castilian legal system developed differently from other European models and survived in Texas beyond the 1830s, when Anglo settlers began moving in large numbers into the region.[13]

With Claudia Stuart, Stuntz is the co-author of African Americans in Amarillo.[14]

Stuntz penned the chapter on Minta Holmsley, a pioneer woman from Comanche, Texas,[15] in the award-winning book,[16] Texas Women on the Cattle Trails (2006). Her articles include "Women of the Texas Revolution" (2007) and "Prairies to Progress: Women on the Texas Panhandle Frontier," (2009), both published in the Social Studies Texan. She is the former book review editor of the West Texas Historical Association Year Book and has frequently presented papers at annual meetings of the association.[9]

Stuntz was the president of H-Net, an Internet site for scholars and teachers which seeks to promote the study of history and the social sciences, in 2010. She utilizes the Internet in her teaching, taking the view that students "learn best when [the instructor] gets them started and then stays out of their way."[17]

Her latest book, a work of creative non-fiction, is The Alamo and Zombies, available from Yard Dog Press.

Curriculum revision controversy[edit]

In 2010, Stuntz spoke out against revisions in the social studies curricula approved by the Texas State Board of Education, changes which require the inclusion of conservative topics in public school instruction. For instance, Thomas Jefferson's name must be restored to a list of Enlightenment thinkers. There must be emphasis on the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in regard to property rights. Students must be taught that new documents, the Venona project, verify U.S. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy's suspicions of communist infiltration of the U.S. government during the post-World War II era. Stuntz told the Amarillo Globe-News that the SBOE is "micromanaging. They don't know what they're doing."[18]

Along with professorial colleagues, Stuntz signed a petition requesting that the SBOE delay consideration of the changes so that curriculum experts can intervene. The changes do not require memorization, only inclusion of previously omitted materials. Stuntz, however, predicted that the revisions will cause teachers to stress memorization of events, people, and dates, rather than guiding youngsters to think, analyze evidence, and communicate their thoughts. With memorization, Stuntz said that many students come to college with a dislike of history. Memorization, she said, "beats the imagination out of them. I have to teach them it isn't about memorizing. It's about why people did what they did. It's about analyzing evidence, what is true and what is not."[18]

Selected publications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Net Detective People Search, Internet
  2. ^ West Texas Historical Association newsletter, March 20, 2013
  3. ^ Stuntz and her mother share the name "Jean" and an April 8 birthday.
  4. ^ "Descendants of Thomas Stagg". familytreemaker.genealogy.com. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  5. ^ The Philippines and the Far East. Cincinnati, Ohio: Jennings and Pye; New York City: Easton and Mains, 1904, 514 pp. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  6. ^ South American Neighbors. New York City: Missionary Education Movement of the United States and Canada, 1916. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Social Security Death Index". ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Dr. Margaret Stuntz Coon". Monroe News Star in bayou.com. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Jean A. Stuntz, Ph.D.". wtamu.edu. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  10. ^ "The Influential Faculty Award". unt.edu. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Giving Every Child the Chance to Succeed". amarillochildrenshome.com. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  12. ^ "John Roberts Research blog". mareleigh.bravejournal.com. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Hers, His, and Theirs: Community Property Laws in Spain and Early Texas. Lubbock, Texas: Texas Tech University Press, 2005. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  14. ^ African Americans in Amarillo. Arcadia Publishing Company, 2009, 128 pp., ISBN 978-0-7385-7128-7. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  15. ^ D. K. Doyle (July 1927). "Mrs. Holmsley Went up the Chisholm Trail". Frontier Times Magazine 4 (10). frontiertimesmagazine.com. Archived from the original on November 22, 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  16. ^ Texas Women on the Cattle Trails won a prize named for the late journalist Liz Carpenter, a former press secretary to Lady Bird Johnson.
  17. ^ "Jean Stuntz, On-line Texas Historian and the President of H-Net". historianoftexas.blogspot.com. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  18. ^ a b "Brenda Bernet, "Rewriting the history books: Educators reflect on state's curriculum changes," May 18, 2010". Amarillo Globe-News. Retrieved November 14, 2010. 
  19. ^ Arnold, L. "Jean A. Stuntz, Hers, His, and Theirs: Community Property Law in Spain and Early Texas." American Journal of Legal History. 48.3 (2006): 328-329.
  20. ^ Uribe-Uran, V.M. "Jean A. Stuntz, Foreword by Caroline Castillo Crimm, Hers, His, and Theirs: Community Property Law in Spain and Early Texas." New Mexico Historical Review. 83.2 (2008): 245-246.
  21. ^ Tijerina, A. "Hers, His, and Theirs: Community Property Law in Spain and Early Texas, by Jean A. Stuntz." Hispanic American Historical Review. 93.3 (2013): 544-545.
  22. ^ Porter, Amy M. "Book Review: Hers, His, and Theirs: Community Property Law in Spain and Early Texas." The Journal of Southern History. 73.2 (2007): 427-428.
  23. ^ Benavides, Adán. "Book Review: Hers, His, and Theirs: Community Property Law in Spain and Early Texas." The Southwestern Historical Quarterly. 110.3 (2007): 414-415.