History - College of Liberal Arts - Texas A&M University Corpus Christi

Dr. David Blanke

Professor of History  

Contact Information:
 Faculty Center - Rm 265
 Mailing Unit - 5814
 Phone: (361) 825-2373
 E-mail: david.blanke@tamucc.edu

Dr. David Blanke


Destiny of Choice

Hell on Wheels


 The 1910s

Sowing the American Dream


Area of specialization:                                                                                          
 U.S. Gilded Age and Progressive Era History
 U.S. Modern Popular Culture
 U.S. Urban History


 Ph.D., M.A., Loyola University Chicago
 B.S. University of Kentucky                                                                             


History requires no special training, avoids arcane terms and abstract concepts, and strives for clarity and precision. Students willing to read, write, and research the past will find few barriers.

The one essential requirement of historians is that our observations, arguments, and conclusions be based on evidence.

While history is not equipped to discover the "truth," it is remarkably adept at isolating and examining the questions and concerns that frame peoples' lives. This property provides students of history with a powerful intellectual tool that can empower and liberate them in ways they might not fully expect. As the writer James Baldwin once remarked, "If I am not who you say I am, then you are not what you think you are." History can help students to better understand and contextualize their place in a modern society as well as to empathize with those who came before them.
My classes are practical exercises in training students to "think historically." They focus on developing skills - such as critical thinking, source analysis, literature reviews, research, and clear communication - rather than simply the memorization of content. I encourage students who might be interested in studying history at the undergraduate or graduate level to contact me or another History area faculty member directly.


Shot/Countershot: The Lives, Careers, and Films of Cecil B. DeMille and John Ford, with Sue Matheson (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, anticipated 2020).

Cecil B. DeMille, Classical Hollywood, and Modern American Mass Culture, 1910-1960 (New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2018).

“The ‘Universal Soul’ of the American Circus at Mid-Century in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth,” in Circus Space: The Big Top on the Big Screen, edited by Teresa Cutler-Broyles (Jefferson, NC: McFarland Press, 2020). 

“The Car and the City,” in The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History, ed. Jon Butler (online and print, 2018) (http://americanhistory.oxfordre.com/

“‘Oh, what if we call him Allah?’- The Muslim Ecumenicist in DeMille’s The Crusades” in New Approaches to Islam in Film, edited by Kristian Petersen (New York: Routledge, 2020).

“Branding Desire: Strategies of Consumer Affectation in Early Classical Film,” in Consumer Identities & Digital Culture, edited by Candice Roberts and Myles Ethan Lascity (Wilmington NC: Intellect Books, 2019).

“The J. Walter Thompson Company: Advertising America,” Editorial Board, Adam Matthews Company, released as part of digital collection titled J. Walter Thompson: Advertising America

"The Urbanized West of Cecil B. DeMille," in A Fistful of Icons: Essays on Frontier Fixtures of the American Western, edited by Sue Matheson (McFarland Press, 2017).

Contributor and commentator for "The Cars that Made America," a three-part documentary aired by The History Channel (premiered August, 2017) )(http://www.history.com/shows/the-cars-that-made-america)

"Experiments in Time: The Silent Films of Cecil B. DeMille," in Time Travel in Popular Media: Essays on Film, Television, Literature and Video Games edited by Joan Ormrod and Matthew Jones (Mc Farland, 2015): 92-106.

C-SPAN/Book TV Interviews for A Destiny of Choice (http://www.c-span.org/video/?323956-1/book-discussion-destiny-choice) and Hell on Wheels (http://www.c-span.org/video/?323955-1/book-discussion-hell-wheels), 2015.

A Destiny of Choice? New Directions in American Consumer History, co-edited with David Steigerwald (Lanham, MD:  Lexington Books, 2013); paperback 2014).

Hell on Wheels: The Promise and Peril of America's Car Culture, 1900-1940 (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007).

Consumer Choice, Agency, and New Directions in Rural Consumer History, in Agricultural History  Volume 81, No. 2 (Spring, 2007).

The 1910s, American Popular Culture Through History, Edited by Ray B. Browne (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002).

Sowing the American Dream: How Consumer Culture Took Root in the Rural Midwest (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2000).


Courses offered:
 U.S. Survey Since 1865
 U.S. Urban History
 U.S. Gilded Age and Progressive Era
 U.S. Modern Popular Culture