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Explore the West

Centers for the West

Our colleagues at universities elsewhere in the West and beyond are working on their own courses, programs, and research about the region. See below for a list of other university centers organized around themes and issues of the American West.

Center of the American West

University of Colorado-Boulder

Boulder, Colorado

“The Center of the American West takes as its mission the creation of forums for the respectful exchange of ideas and perspectives in the pursuit of solutions to the region's difficulties. We at the Center believe that an understanding of the historical origins of the West's problems, an emphasis on the common interests of all parties, and a dose of good humor are essential to constructive public discussion.”

Director: Patricia Limerick

Center for the Study of the American West

West Texas A&M University

Canyon, Texas

“Throughout the local community and campus community, CSAW strives to educate about and increase appreciation for the American West.”

Director: Alex Hunt

William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies

Southern Methodist University

Dallas, Texas

“Established in fall 1996, the Clements Center promotes research, publishing, teaching, and public programming in a variety of fields of inquiry related to Texas, the American Southwest, and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.”

Directors: Andrew R. Graybill, Neil Foley

American West Center

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

“In 1964 A. R. Mortensen and C. Gregory Crampton, two University of Utah history professors, founded the American West Center with the then unique mission of researching the history and culture of the American West. Over the past half century the Center has accomplished far more than Mortensen and Crampton could have imagined. Faculty and graduate student researchers affiliated with the Center have taken over 7,000 oral histories, including an unparalleled 2,000 Native American interviews. The Center’s staff has also created a remarkable archive of documents essential for the study of Western peoples and lands as well as a myriad of curriculum support materials--most notably seventeen community history textbooks and a statewide curriculum focused on Utah’s American Indian peoples. Now entering its sixth decade, the Center continues to be a vibrant part of the University of Utah. Because both undergraduate and graduate students carry out our projects, the Center offers invaluable hands-on education and experience. And because our work is necessarily interdisciplinary, the Center brings together students and faculty who might not otherwise cross paths.”

Director: Gregory E. Smoak

Charles Redd Center for Western Studies

Brigham Young University

Provo, Utah

“The mission of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies is to promote the study of the Intermountain West by sponsoring research, publication, teaching, and public programs in a variety of academic disciplines including history, geography, sociology, anthropology, politics, economics, literature, art, folklore, range science, forestry, and popular culture..”

Director: Jay H. Buckley

Center for Western Lands and Peoples

Montana State University

Bozeman, Montana

“The Center for Western Lands and Peoples at Montana State University focuses on the natures and cultures of the western United States and Canada. Highlighting interdisciplinary research and teaching, the reach of the Center is often public. Faculty and students in a variety of fields, including American studies, English, film and photography, geography, history, archaeology, and Native American studies explore the meaning of place as expressed in a variety of texts and material objects. These scholars examine the West as a place of powerful legends and stories in their studies of literature and the visual arts. Students and faculty also trace the role the region and its borders have played in the creation and development of American national identity. In the process, they study the history of encounters between diverse populations in the West and the ways the region has served as a laboratory for working out relations between native and newcomer groups. The West is understood as a complicated space where different populations have struggled over the land and resources. These complexities have led to the creation of a rich and vibrant world that the Center for Western Lands and Peoples looks forward to exploring.”

Director: Susan Kollin

O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West

University of Montana

Missoula, Montana

“The O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West is a regional studies and public education program of the University of Montana, Missoula. It focuses its work on the Interior West of North America that straddles the Rocky Mountains – the spine of North America and “headwaters” for many of the continent’s major rivers. The University of Montana lies at the center of this large trans-national region. Through cross-disciplinary programs in research, writing, and public education, the Center explores the region’s rich history, current trends and challenges, and aspirations.”

Director: Larry Swanson

American Heritage Center

University of Wyoming

Laramie, Wyoming

“More than 100 years ago, Grace Raymond Hebard—UW faculty member, administrator, librarian, and Wyoming historian—began collecting the papers and reminiscences of Wyoming’s pioneers. Her research on the history of Wyoming, the West, emigrant trails, and Native Americans became the nucleus for what is known today as the American Heritage Center. The AHC was officially established in 1945. In the decades that followed, nearly 70,000 cubic feet of historically important documents and artifacts were acquired. The AHC is among the largest non-governmental archives in the nation.”

Interim Director: Ivan Gaetz

Yale North American West Initiative

Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut

“The Yale North American West Initiative (YNAWI) supports learning and research about the cultural, economic, and ecological life of this distinctive and diverse region. Through immersive field courses, field research, and students fellowships, YNAWI draws together a wide range of social scientists, natural scientists, and practitioners engaged in work on the many issues unique to western North America. Recognizing Yale’s historical commitment to Western frontiers, it applies innovative and interdisciplinary science to solve problems of local, regional, and national importance.”

Director: Justin Farrell

Augustana University The Center for Western Studies

Augustana University

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

“Improving the quality of social and cultural life in the Northern Plains...achieving a better understanding of the region, its heritage, and its ersources...and stimulating interest in the solution to ergional problems through the application of knowledge areas of concern to the Center for Western Studies.”

Director: Harry Thompson

The Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West (ICW)

University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California
"The Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West (ICW) is a center for scholarly investigation of the history and culture of California and the American West. Through sponsorship of innovative scholarship and research, ICW draws on the resources of the University of Southern California and The Huntington Library to build an innovative and unique collaboration between a research university and a research library."
Director: William F. Deverell