A native of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Jay M. Price directs the Public History Program at Wichita State University. His publications include Gateways to the Southwest: The Story of Arizona State Parks, Wichita, 1860-1930, Wichita's Legacy of Flight, and El Dorado!: Legacy of an Oil Boom. He and his students recently completed a history of the Cherokee Outlet Land Rush of 1893. He recently worked with a local public television station to turn his history of the El Dorado oil boom into a documentary. His other writings include works on local history, the history of tourism, regional identity, and American sacred architecture. A member of the Kansas Humanities Council speakers bureau and board of trustees, he has delivered the talks, "Reading Roadside Kansas," and "Sacred Landscapes of Kansas." Currently, his main project is "Temples for a Modern God," a study of mid-twentieth century sacred architecture.
In today's complicated world, it is more important than ever for teaching to tie things together and provide students with a framework to make sense of what often seems a disconnected array of facts. Themes, paradigms, and eras, rather than scores of facts, provide the historian with a sense of how everything is connected. Increasingly, these connections have to include an understanding of how events and trends in the United States relate to the context of the North American continent. Therefore, whenever possible, teaching should include Canadian, Mexican, Central American, and Caribbean examples as well as those of the U.S.
Research and Projects:
Research should tie the best of academic scholarship to a wide variety of audiences, including academic, community, and popular. So much of history, particularly regarding popular culture, local history, and contemporary social and cultural history involves the general public. It is up to the historian to help the members of larger society tell their many stories.
At its best, service is indistinguishable from research and teaching. Such events take a variety of forms.