Congratulations to HSOC Associate Professor of History Carla Gerona on winning the 2015 Bolton-Cutter Prize from the Western History Association for the best article in the history of the Borderlands!

The article is entitled, “With a Song in Their Hands: Incendiary D├ęcimas from the Texas and Louisiana Borderlands during a Revolutionary Age,” published in Early American Studies (Winter, 2014).

The prize is awarded in any area of borderlands history: “from the Floridas to the Californias, from the sixteenth century to the present, including the northward movement of Spanish-speaking people into the United States in recent times.”

Check out the abstract below!

During the late eighteenth century the commanders on Spain’s northern frontier town of Nacogdoches conducted two trials against citizens who sang songs that offended them and challenged their authority. One group sang in French and the other in Spanish, and taken together the two trials offer a unique opportunity to observe and reconstruct the vibrant and original musical culture that developed in this contact zone. By placing the songs in a local, regional, and Atlantic context, this essay shows that the creole ranchers, farmers, and traders of east Texas and west Louisiana invented new songs to retain control of their communities. This essay also suggests that the singers and musicians shared ideas with each other while participating in the creative developments that flourished during the Age of Revolution. Both French and Spanish creoles incorporated subversive subjects into their music, though in the end their ribald and incendiary songs did not lead either group to overthrow the Spanish government. Nonetheless, because the musical compositions posed a threat to Bourbon authorities and foreshadowed future uprisings, an analysis of these cases can help us reimagine revolutionary Texas from a fresh perspective that is at once more Tejano and more transregional.

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