Good Reads

New Books of Interest to the Longhorn Universe

Ancient Origins of the Mexican Plaza: From Primordial Sea to Public Space
by Logan Wagner, Hal Box, And Susan Kline Morehead

For at least 4,000 years, the plaza has been a focal point of Mexican architecture. In Ancient Origins of the Mexican Plaza, the authors— who include the late dean of UT’s School of Architecture, Hal Box—investigate the plaza’s transition from Mesoamerican sacred space to a secular gathering area by examining nearly 100 current Mexican town centers. A surprising finding: though they tried to wipe out native culture, Europeans preserved the plazas and even integrated them into their own architecture.



Depression: A Public Feeeling
by Ann Cvetkovich

Part memoir, part critical essay, Depression: A Public Feeling is women’s and gender studies professor Ann Cvetkovich’s exploration of a disorder that has plagued people for centuries. In addition to her personal battle with depression—which led to difficulty finishing her dissertation and writing her first book—Cvetkovich looks to the past to discover the roots of the disorder. She points to historical events, including early Christian spiritual despair, slavery, and colonialism, as roots of our society’s present-day struggles with depression.




The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking
by Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird

You don’t have to be brilliant to be successful, the authors of The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking claim. Using real-life stories, Michael Starbird, distinguished teaching professor in mathematics, and Edward Burger lay out a concrete method to realizing any goal creatively and efficiently. Whether you’re a student or athlete, artist or leader, the key to effective thinking is using your mind in a different way. One of their key strategies: failing to succeed, or igniting insights through mistakes.




Fevered Measures: Public Health and Race at the Texas-Mexico Border, 1848-1942
by John McKiernan-Gonzalez


In Fevered Measures, UT assistant professor of history John McKiernan-González delves into the years surrounding the Mexican Revolution, during which medical encounters shaped border identities on each side of the Rio Grande. The threat of epidemics led to a medical border that varied from the political line, and minorities fell victim to quarantines and inspections. This time period, he claims, resulted in a destabilized border identity that continues to shape perceptions of Latinos today.


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