UHV faculty grant recipients to present at next UHV Discovers

The UHV Discovers series will kick off the spring semester with presentations by two UHV history faculty members featuring research on the making of urban law in medieval Britain and the interactions between federal soldiers and Southern women during the American Civil War.

Joann Olson
Joann Olson

Esther Cuenca and Laura Mammina, both assistant professors of history at UHV, will present research that was funded by UHV’s 2021-2022 Junior Faculty Summer Research Grant. Cuenca will discuss her historical monograph titled “The Making of Urban Law in Medieval Britain,” an in-depth investigation into the history of law in British towns during the medieval period. Laura Mammina will discuss her book manuscript, “Wars of Invasion: Union Soldiers, Southern Women, and Intimate Space during the American Civil War.” The presentations will take place at 11 a.m. on Feb. 9 in Room 111 of UHV University North, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. It also will be streamed live through Microsoft Teams. The event is free and open to the public.

This is the third session of the UHV Discovers series, which highlights the research conducted by UHV faculty members and how their work impacts their fields of study and higher education. The first two sessions presented during the fall semester were focused on computer science and biology, and this next session will focus on the humanities, said Joann Olson, UHV associate provost for research and dean of graduate studies.

“Looking at the work these two faculty members will present, it shows us that we are more connected to those times in history than we may feel,” Olson said. “Both Dr. Cuenca and Dr. Mammina have moved significant projects forward in their research, and it will be interesting to hear what they both have accomplished.”

Esther Cuenca

Cuenca’s book is based on an analysis of hundreds of legal texts and tracks the transition and rise of the urban oligarchy in British towns during the Middle Ages. She will discuss the details of her book and how her work fundamentally grapples with how people build identities around having legal privileges that others don’t. The summer research grant was instrumental in completing about half of her book manuscript, which is being considered for an advance contract with a top academic publisher, she said.

“Though my historical subjects have been dead for about 800 years, what they were doing back then has relevance to how we conduct our lives today and, more importantly, how we have built a legal system that privileges some people over others,” she said. “If anything, my UHV students have sharpened my thinking on this research because my students are the ones with whom I consistently have conversations about legal primary sources. I’m very honored to be sharing my work. Our community here at UHV has shown incredible interest in my research and has supported it all the way through.”

Laura Mammina

Mammina will give an overview of her book and discuss her research into the expectations Union soldiers had of civilians and civilians’ expectations of Union soldiers during and after the Civil War. Most of Mammina’s research of the civilian side of the war is focused on women, and in particular the conflicting views of African American women and Union soldiers over enslaved and free Black people’s loyalty to the United States.

“I find the Civil War to be an incredibly interesting way to study people and the way they behave, and there still is a lot more work to be done on the topics of gender and race during this conflict,” Mammina said. “I’m excited to present along with Esther Cuenca, and I am still blown away about the fact that two history faculty members were chosen for these grants. Any time I can share with people how our history is relevant to today is a good day.”

UHV Discovers is free and open to the public. Two more sessions are planned for the spring semester in March and April. To watch the livestream of the event through Microsoft Teams on Feb. 9, go to

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Amber Aldaco