The purpose of this blog is to provide resources and a venue for discussing the issues raised by the proposed George W. Bush Presidential Library, Museum, and Institute at Southern Methodist University, for both a national and SMU audience. I am a history professor – an untenured assistant professor, to be exact – at SMU. I have a lot at stake in this debate because I’m employed by SMU and hope to be for many decades to come, because I am a professional historian, and because I teach and write about Texas (where I’m from) and often resent the way Texas is portrayed in the national media and scholarship. For more about my work, see my homepage at http://faculty.smu.edu/bjohnson/. If you’d like to comment on this blog, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My own view is that the proposed library, museum, and institute (and especially the latter) are potentially very bad news for SMU, and raise important and sometimes troubling questions about private money, partisan politics, and universities – not to mention the legacies of the Bush administration. For my view on the Library question, see “Reasons for Opposition.” (As you’ll see, like most faculty at SMU, I could make my peace with the Bush Library, but have grave concerns about the Bush Institute). Obviously I want this website to help disseminate critiques of the Library and Institute, but in a wider sense I want it to advance the debate (especially on campus, where it’s really just getting started) by providing people information, arguments, and other resources. This goal is consistent with my profession, and if I didn’t believe that it would do some good even if my views don’t win out, I’d have no business being a professor. May the debate continue, and may its depth, insight, and passion