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Research Programs

We study the past, present, and future of the American West. The Center is dedicated to examining our region through multiple lenses. We collaborate with researchers and partners at Stanford and beyond to advance our understanding of the West.

From booming Silicon Valley to remote mountain wilderness areas and small ranching communities, the West's diverse landscape encompasses important policy and economic development issues. The Center sponsors a number of research projects, conferences, and forums to discuss these issues. 

In the face of climate change and widespread drought conditions, the Bill Lane Center is committed to studying water and energy issues and supporting far-reaching sustainability solutions. We support research efforts by faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students. 

The Rural West Initiative explores issues of the less populated areas of the North American West – places whose natural beauty and heritage are matched only by the challenges they face. These issues, such as access to economic opportunity, health care, education, and housing, often get less attention than they deserve. By bringing together scholars and practitioners from across the region, our Rural West project aims to tackle some of the biggest problems of rural western life through scholarship, public policy, and journalism. 

The American West has a rich and complex history. Through our work with scholars of history, anthropology, and the arts, we strive to study the unique culture of the West and highlight the contributions that western artists have made to the literary, visual, and performing arts.  

The American West Working Group is an inter and multi-disciplinary research discussion group that meets weekly on Fridays. It covers a diverse set of topics, from humanities to social sciences, natural sciences, and beyond, as they pertain to the American West.

The seminar features talks from faculty members and scholars who are working on issues related to environmental inequality.