Ganson, Barbara A. 1953-

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Ganson, Barbara A. 1953-
(Barbara Ganson de Rivas, Barbara Anne Ganson)


Born September 8, 1953, in Fresno, CA; daughter of Cyril Richard (a printer) and Elaine (a singer and homemaker) Ganson; married Marcelino Rivas Fleitas, May 28, 1977 (divorced March 1, 1990). Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: San Jose State University, B.A. (with distinction), 1980; University of Texas at Austin, M.A., 1984, Ph.D., 1994; also studied in Argentina and Paraguay. Politics: Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Aviation, bicycling.


Home—Hollywood, FL. Office—Department of History, Florida Atlantic University, 2912 College Ave., Davie, FL 22214. E-mail—[email protected]


Writer and educator. U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, worked as intern; Florida Atlantic University, Davie, assistant professor, 1994-99, associate professor of history, 1999—. Team member of the Ninety-nines, 1999—; Gustavus McLeod's Round the World Pole to Pole Flight, flight coordinator, 2003—.

MEMBER: American Historical Association, Conference on Latin American History, Southwestern Historical Association (president, 2002-03).


Fulbright scholar in Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, 1990-91; paper prize, Latin American and African history category, Southwestern Historical Association, 1999; Choice selection, outstanding academic title, 2003, and Best Book Award, Latin American and Caribbean Section, Southern Historical Association, 2005, both for The Guaraní under Spanish Rule in the Río de la Plata.


The Guaraní under Spanish Rule in the Río de la Plata, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 2001.

Shorter works include (under name Barbara Ganson de Rivas) "Las consecuencicas demográficas y sociales de la Guerre de la Triple Alianza," Editora Lito-color (Asunción, Paraguay), 1985. Contributor to periodicals, including Colonial Latin American Historical Review and Americas.


Barbara A. Ganson told CA: "Ever since I was a teenager, I have thought about the possibility of becoming a historian. My father's premature death in 1965 at age forty-six, when I was only twelve, made it extremely difficult for me to attend the type of schools that I would have liked to attend. Nonetheless, I received an excellent education at public institutions. Through my own determination and hard work, I graduated with honors from San Jose State University. I went on to graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, where I received a master of arts degree and a Ph.D. in history. Upon graduation, I became an assistant professor of history at Florida Atlantic University, and I have been teaching ever since.

"I became fascinated with South America during my junior year abroad in Argentina and Paraguay. Following an internship in the U.S. Department of State, I returned to Paraguay, 1984-86, and worked with our former U.S. ambassador Arthur H. Davis and a group of Paraguayan historians on a book about the former U.S. minister to Paraguay, General Martin McMahon. Having married a Paraguayan at the young age of twenty-one, I learned a great deal about Paraguayan culture, which is heavily influenced by the Guaraní native peoples. My book on the Guaraní from the Jesuit missions in the Río de la Plata area is primarily based on my research and travels in Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil as a Fulbright scholar, 1990-91.

"My book project on women in aviation is largely shaped by my mother, Elaine Wapperer, who has always been a source of inspiration, along with my father. In 1938 she learned to fly at age sixteen. During World War II she served as an air cadet at the Long Beach Air Transport Command until my father returned from overseas. She often spoke to me of her love of aviation and respect for pioneer aviators like Jacqueline Cochran. When my mother passed away in November of 2003, my connection to aviation was severed. My dream to become an aviator, however, took on new life. I joined the 99s and decided to learn to fly.

"My love of aviation has taken my career to a new level. I have broadened myself by specializing in aviation history. In celebration of the Centennial of Flight, I volunteered to work as the flight coordinator for aviator Gustavus McLeod for his round-the-world, pole-to-pole record attempt. I soon discovered that a number of women were underrepresented in the aviation literature. My book in progress is a study of the lives of aviatrixes, notable ones as well as lesser known or unknown women in aviation during the Golden Age of Flight, including wing walkers, stewardesses, passengers, and a few female mechanics and aerospace engineers. I am intrigued by their personalities, motivations, and how aviation changed their lives. As the daughter of an aviator, I do have some unique insights on their character and their era. Hopefully, my book will bring more women and the general public into aviation."



Canadian Journal of History, August, 2004, Jason M. Yaremko, review of The Guaraní under Spanish Rule in the Río de la Plata, p. 298.

Catholic Historical Review, January, 2004, James Schofield Saeger, review of The Guaraní under Spanish Rule in the Río de la Plata, p. 159.

History: Review of New Books, summer, 2003, James A. Lewis, review of The Guaraní under Spanish Rule in the Río de la Plata, p. 152.

Journal of Social History, winter, 2004, Jerry W. Cooney, review of The Guaraní under Spanish Rule in the Río de la Plata, p. 537.