Alan Lessoff is a history professor at Illinois State University, but used to work at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. His time there led to his writing the book, “Where Texas Meets the Sea: Corpus Christi and Its History.” The book is now out in paperback.
He says at TAMU, he taught students about urban history; that knowledge came, in part, from his experience growing up on the East Coast. But he says Corpus Christi is a different kind of city.
“I really researched it over a period [of] about 18 years,” Lessoff says.
He says the Texas cities of today are still defined by moments in history, long ago.
“The Revolution, the borderlands, the impresarios, the Mexican colonization, the ranches and the clashes involving Texas Rangers – all of that really shapes people’s understandings of where they are, how they identify, how they relate to each other,” Lessoff says.
Add to that urban development and the “reshaping” of the environment to evolve with urbanization, and that’s the intersection that Lessoff explores in his book.
“This book … talks both about the development of the place, and how people over time have understood and debated that development,” Lessoff says.
He says he tries to explain the development of Corpus Christi to a wide audience, but he also wanted to show his deep local knowledge.
“Part of me as an author is really tied into that place, and I hope that it continues to be useful to people there,” Lessoff says.
Written by Caroline Covington.