Researching Our Pasts

The Contextualization and Commemoration Initiative unit supports scholarly research on all aspects of our institution’s history. This research is grounded in the value of scholarship as a tool of public education to educate our students as well as the general public about our institution’s lesser-known past. Research also guides and supports the development of all our commemoration and contextualization efforts.

To help achieve this agenda, faculty, on an application basis, were granted funds to conduct research in 6 primary priority areas:  

  • Sweatt v. Painter and UT’s role in the legal history of racial inclusion in US education. 
  • The Precursors and Early Graduates: an archive of the first Black students’ oral histories, videos, documents, and photos. To be followed by oral history collections related to specific communities on campus and significant events in the university’s history of inclusivity.   
  • UT’s demographic history defined in terms of student, faculty, and staff presence and participation in the UT community.
  • Black worker and other staff of color’s historic contributions to the development of the UT campus.  
  • Contextualization of campus landscapes, buildings, and outdoor art through histories of their creation. 
  • UT’s expansion, including land acquisitions, developments, and local displacement histories. 

Outcomes from these faculty-led studies will be available on this webpage as well as represented in campus commemorative projects.