OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

Andrew R. Graybill

Portrait of Andrew R. Graybill

Andrew R. Graybill is professor of history and Director of the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University. His first book, Policing the Great Plains: Rangers, Mounties, and the North American Frontier, 1875-1910 (2007), is a comparative study of the two most famous constabularies in the world and pays particular attention to the consequences of frontier absorption for rural people. He is a coeditor, with Benjamin H. Johnson, of Bridging National Borders in North America: Transnational and Comparative Histories (2010), which marks the first attempt to bring scholars of both the continent's border regions into sustained conversation. Most recently, he is the author of The Red and the White: A Family Saga of the American West (2013), which tells the story of a Montana family of mixed native-white ancestry and the changing notions of racial identity in the West between 1850-1950, and a coeditor, with Adam Arenson, of Civil War Wests: Testing the Limits of the United States (2015).

Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

This lecture explores the shifting grounds of race in Montana (and the wider West) between 1850 and 1950 through the experiences of a single family of mixed native-white ancestry. Beginning in 1844 with the marriage of fur trader Malcolm Clarke and a young Piegan Blackfeet woman, Coth-co-co-na, the story follows the Clarkes from the mid-nineteenth century, when such mixed marriages were common (as well as crucial to the workings of the fur trade), to the middle of the twentieth century, when Clarke’s children and grandchildren frequently encountered virulent racial prejudice as "people in between."
Using the Canadian Mounties and the Texas Rangers as a frame, this lecture explores the differences as well as the surprising similarities that characterized the nineteenth-century frontiers at either end of the Great Plains, with particular attention to ecology, Native peoples, and the persistence of myth.
This lecture explores the intersections between boundaries and the natural world (the historical actor least confined by lines on a map or the dictates of the nation-state), with particular attention to international resource competition and conservation; the human impact upon bordered ecosystems; and the imagined transnational landscape.