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HPPR Arts, Culture & History

"Center for the Study of the American West" Increases Regional Awareness


A new venture at West Texas A&M University is drawing a lot of buzz across the High Plains. The Center for the Study of the American West was launched this fall and has already positioned itself as one of the jewels in WT’s crown.

The project’s sponsor, Dr. Alex Hunt, says the Center’s role is to foster interdisciplinary research, teaching, and public outreach relevant to the American West.

Last month, the Center hosted its first standing-room-only lecture in Western American Studies, with a talk by legendary Western American historian Patty Limerick. Next April the center will host S.C. Gwynn, author of Empire of the Summer Moon.

The Center will also offer research grants and develop a minor in Western American Studies at WT. The minor will be interdisciplinary, with courses required from history, agriculture, other sciences and humanities.

Looking a bit further out, the Center is going to create an online catalog of panhandle and regional small archival collections that may be of use to researchers, and the program will start a project to collect and house oral histories, with a particular focus on the 1950s-1970s.

The staff is currently thinking about other ways CSAW might be helpful to the Panhandle/High Plains region, particularly with respect to how work in the humanities and arts can be beneficial in the struggle to keep small communities vibrant.

For more information, go to CSAW's website.

Or check out the Facebook page.