About the Bill Lane Center for the American West
The Center was co-founded by two leading scholars of American History, Richard White and David M. Kennedy, and we continue to collaborate frequently with Stanford scholars in history, anthropology, and the arts. Our Comparative Wests project examines the simultaneous expansion of 19th-century settler colonies into the western United States, western Canada, and western Australia, and the rapid cultural, economic, and environmental transformations they set off, as well as the enduring legacies of that history.
The Center works closely with the Precourt Institute for Energy, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and others at Stanford on crucial environment and resource challenges in the American West. Together with the Woods Institute, we have embarked on a major long-term initiative on Water in the West. This research and policy program is focusing on making western water systems sustainable by improving groundwater and surface water management; broadening adoption of water recycling and reuse technologies; and improving information systems, performance measurements, and best practices for managing water in the West. The center also supports research and dialogues with decision makers on emerging challenges and opportunities in conservation, land use planning, energy, and environmental education.
The Center is led by the distinguished political scientist Bruce E. Cain and maintains close ties with policymakers and decision makers in the public and private sectors around the West. These relationships allow Stanford students and faculty to engage directly and constructively in finding solutions to the region’s challenges through research, internships, and dialogues. In partnership with the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), the center co-sponsors an annual State of the West Symposium on the economic and fiscal health of the broad western region that brings students and faculty together with public officials, investors, and business, labor, and nonprofit leaders. The center is also engaged in efforts to improve governance at the state, regional and national levels in the West.