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Gene Clanton's Populist Studies Page
E-Mail:  o.g.clanton@clantons.net; also try clanton_gene@yahoo.com

Anyone wishing to obtain a free copy of A COMMON HUMANITY should first visit this review published in the Kansas Libraries newsletter:  http://skyways.lib.ks.us/news/publish/article_00625.shtml






                                           Caution:  You're in Cougar Country

Gene Clanton, Photos, April 2004

Have Plane, Will Travel, A (Why would anyone want to fly small planes?  The best answer to that question is contained in this quote:  "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by how many moments take our breath away."


Added March 10, 2007.  As of this date anyone wanting a copy of A COMMON HUMANITY:  KANSAS POPULISM AND THE BATTLE FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY 1854-1903  (Sunflower University Press 2004) can now acquire the book (any quantity, as long as they last) for little more than the cost of shipping and handling.  Contact Gene Clanton at this email address: o.g.clanton@clantons.net.

Welcome to Gene Clanton's history page; I hope you find something worthwhile regarding the subject of American Populism (1890-1903)--that's the original version of Populism, not to be confused with the small "p" generic rendition, referred to in days gone by as "pseudo populism" and more recently as "faux populism." For the latter version you will not need an historian; virtually any journalist, political pundit, or cracker-barrel philosopher should suffice.   You may also be assisted by consulting Richard Hofstadter's The Age of Reform (1955) *and/or Michael Kazin's The Populist Persuasion (1995), both highly influential studies.  More recently, an extreme example of faux populist interpretation can be found in John Lukacs, Democracy and Populism:  Fear and Hatred (2005).  Regarding Lukacs, see "The Anti-Populist," at this site.

*As time has given us the necessary perspective, it would appear that Professor Hofstadter, in the latter portion of his life,  had altered his political philosophy to such an extent that he qualified as one of our earliest modern neo-conservatives; as a matter of fact, if memory serves me well,  he identified himself as a "neo-conservative" in one of his last interviews.  

Officially, my name is Orval Gene Clanton, and I first saw the light of day in Pittsburg, Kansas, smack-dab in the middle of the Great Depression: frankly, I don't recall the event at all.    Since 1966 I have introduced myself as Gene Clanton--and in some published works as O. Gene Clanton.  I am proud to say that I am the product of Kansas' once outstanding public school system, graduating in 1952 from Pittsburg High School.  In 1954, after attending Kansas State Teachers College of Pittsburg, Kansas, for three semesters,  I joined the United States Army and served with the 11th Airborne Division, 188th Airborne Infantry Regiment, from 1954 to 1957.  After resuming my college education [thanks, in part,  to the GI Bill & American taxpayers]  I graduated from Kansas State College of Pittsburg in 1959 with a B.S. in Education.  While teaching in high school at Lamar, Colorado, from 1960 to 1962, I completed a master's degree in history from Kansas State College of Pittsburg.  From 1962 to 1966 I was a student in the history doctoral program offered by the University of Kansas.  While there I also taught as an assistant instructor from 1962 to 1965, and from 1965 to 1966 as an instructor.  In 1966 I took the position of instructor in the department of history at Texas A&M University.  The next year I completed my doctoral work at the University of Kansas and was promoted to assistant professor at A&M.  In the Spring of 1968 I was offered an assistant professorship at Washington State University, a position I assumed in September 1968 after serving as a visiting professor of history at Georgia State College in Atlanta during the 1968 summer session.  From 1968 to 1997 I held the position of  assistant, associate, and professor at Washington State University.   Promotion to a full professorship came in 1978.  Since 1997 I have been an emeritus professor of history.  
From 1962 to 1997 I taught a wide variety of courses at four different universities.  Among these, I am pleased to report that I offered the first course ever taught at Washington State University dealing with the history of the women's movement (Spring 1975); in the Spring of 1976, I was apparently also the first in the nation to offer a college-level course focusing on the John F. Kennedy assassination inquiry; in fact, in December of 1977 I participated in an American Historical Association meeting in Dallas, Texas, focusing on the use of the Kennedy assassination topic as a teaching tool in history.    Shortly thereafter, I also introduced a course dealing with the Vietnam War; which  to this day, to my knowledge,  has been the only course offered in my department dealing with that vital topic.  Frankly, I introduced that course because it was obvious to me that the nation was being taught the wrong lessons regarding our involvement in that costly and misguided adventure by individuals who were growing in popularity by capitalizing on the country's frustration and confusion.  I have in mind especially those, such as R. W. Reagan and disciples, who insisted that the lesson to be learned was that the U.S. needed to use overwhelming and preemptive force (extra-constitutional & "off-the-shelf" if need be) and that the war, rather than having been a tragic mistake for America and especially for Southeast Asia,  was a "noble cause" betrayed by "wimpish" leaders (I told students at the time one could call the effort noble but it was not, in my judgment, a noble cause, as President Reagan et al. were fond of saying.).  To bring the record up to date:  George W. Bush & John McCain are the most prominent recent examples of this disastrous misreading of history.   Incidentally, while at Texas A&M University (1966-68) I taught the only course then available there dealing with Modern East Asia, which was a minor field of study for me.   It's worth noting that the "Aggies" took considerable pride in pointing out that the school produced more officers for the Vietnam War than any other institution.
Another timely topic I offered at Washington State University concerned the origins and meaning of that reactionary right-wing persuasion too often loosely & carelessly labeled "McCarthyism," a subject that soon broadened to encompass the origin and meaning of right-wing extremism in American society.  Appropriate for Edward R. Murrow's alma mater.
These classes were offered--along with a number of others in American studies & within the history department-- in addition to a field course called the Rise of Modern America and another dealing with American Constitutional History.  These classes were also accompanied by what I always considered the most important courses I  taught in the W.S.U. history program--the broad lower division, introductory U.S. history survey course.
The subject matter of all these courses was always secondary to my purpose of involving students directly and actively in the study of history (testified to by the fact that I chose not to make them over into large lecture courses, although the potential was clearly there).  Early on, I became a convert to inquiry learning while conducting a teaching methods course for the department and the college of education, bucking the huge wave carrying most universities ever more so toward passive learning, large & impersonal classes, coupled with teaching methods best and most kindly described as a passive telling technique.
In addition to a long list of book reviews, review essays, journal articles, and multiple encyclopedia entries for various works, I have published Kansas Populism:  Ideas and Men (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1969); Populism: The Humane Preference in America, 1890-1900 (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1991), and Congressional Populism and the Crisis of the 1890s (Lawrence:  University Press of Kansas, 1998); and A COMMON HUMANITY: KANSAS POPULISM AND THE BATTLE FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY, 1854-1903 (Manhattan, Kansas:  Sunflower University Press, August 2004).  Excerpts from all--or nearly all-- the reviews of all these books will appear on page two of this site: To access those click on reviews on the Navigation Bar. 

UNFORTUNATELY, SUNFLOWER UNIVERSITY PRESS CLOSED ITS DOORS ON NOVEMBER 1, 2004, at about the same time this last study came off the press.  According to the editor they were proud to have this study be their last...small consolation.   I'm currently trying to line up another distributor for this new work.  Anyone interested in ordering a copy can start by contacting me via my e-mail address noted below.  Update:  At the moment it would appear that I (the author) will likely become the distributor of this book.  Please contact me at o.g.clanton@clantons.net for additional information & orders; you can also reach me by writing to the Department of History, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99163.  My address as of Feb. 21, 2006, will be in Pullman, Washington.  My telephone will be (509) 339-3013.  The book was priced at $24.95 but can be purchased direct from the author for considerably less.   Extremely generous discounts will be granted multiple copies for classroom use.    

Historians, political scientists, interested scholars generally, who might possibly have an interest in adopting the work for classroom use will be provided with a free desk copy for consideration.  Just contact me at o.g.clanton@clantons.net 

Selected for membership in the national honor society in history, political science, and in education, my three main areas of study at the collegiate level.  Two of my books were nominated for awards: namely,
KANSAS POPULISM for the Frederick Jackson Turner Award and CONGRESSIONAL POPULISM AND THE CRISIS OF THE 1890s for the Theodore Saloutos Memorial Award.  And in the late 1970s I  was honored to be singled out by my peers as one of the more innovative teachers at Washington State University.  It was also my honor to have been  selected to participate in Stanford University's special summer seminar dealing with Technology and American Society, conducted by Professor Barton Bernstein in 1979.  Over the course of my career I was also the recipient of one major research grant (1972)  and four research leaves (1975, 1982. 1989, and 1995).  I should add, back in the mid-60s, I was privileged to be given by the University of Kansas an instructorship during my final & fourth year as a doctoral student: It was a rare honor in those days.  I in fact taught the upper division 20th Century U.S. history course during that period of time.  At Texas A&M I was also honored to be given a chance to teach the History of the New South.  Quite a rare assignment for a damn Yankee from Kansas.  I also taught the only course offered at Texas A&M University, at that time, dealing with Asian history.  As indicated above let's recall also that Texas A&M turned out more officers for the Vietnam War than any other institution.

Sad to say, no formal awards, other than pro forma research grants, etc.  I must be too much of a dilettante (perhaps I should have said generalist)? combined with the fact that I ruffled too many important feathers.  The honors & rewards that I've cherished most have come from former students.  Just this morning (Feb. 7, 05) I received an e-mail from one of Washington State University's outstanding Ph.D. products who wrote:  "What a wonderful surprise to hear from you!  No one during my college career influenced my understanding of U.S. history more than you, nor provided me with the intellectual challenges that you did in your classes.  I referred often during my teaching years to the notes that I took in your classes and to the handouts you provided.  I'm honored that you remember me, and so grateful that you wrote."  To someone who cares deeply about teaching history, those words mean more to me than any formal award I might have received over the years. 

Excuse me for beating my own drum:  I have the honor of having taught the first class at W.S.U. focusing on the history of the women's movement, several years in advance of the creation of a women's studies program.  Ironically, it's the one claimed by the Honors Program in behalf of that distinction, for whom I later taught the same course.

Perhaps this is also worth adding:  During my 29-year tenure at W.S.U. I really only had determinative influence in the hiring of one of my departmental colleagues.  As luck would have it, that person has been fabulously successful and was only recently appointed "Regents Professor."  (posted 03/01/05)


INTERESTS, other than a passionate commitment to the campaign to take back our government from the radical and/or reactionary conservative forces presently in control:

When I'm not trying to play a decent game of golf (truly a failing enterprise),  I may be found cruising the great Pacific Northwest in my 1967 Piper Cherokee 140, Sky Raider ultralight, or my Honda Shadow, playing my tenor saxophone, working out at the W.S.U. student recreational center at 5:30 AM, MWF, or simply watching the Bush administration self destruct.  Lately the Bush self-destructing activities have begun to assume considerable time.  Unfortunately, the self-destructing I am most concerned with now has extended to the nation as a whole since the Bush administration has assured itself of four more years. 

Why saxophones?  As one cool cat said, "It's a hot, cold, shy, bold, rock, blue soul [of an instrument].  It makes an old man young, and a young girl old. It's a hip style, calm, wild blast, cast from the chains of slaves.  I've found my Jazz, I've found my Jazz, and was saved."  (I abandoned the saxophone about 1952, after graduating from high school).
My all-time favorite saxophonist is Ben Webster.  Lately I've learned to appreciate Lester Young, Benny Carter, Gene Ammons,  Stan Getz, Scott Hamilton, Wayne Shorter, &  Ricky Ford.    J

WOW!  Gene Clanton makes a discovery (Oct. 1997) in the Tombstone, Arizona.,  Boot-hill cemetery: Final resting place of the Kansas Kid!







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