Mission and Approach


The Center for the Study of the Southwest at Texas State University promotes the broad humanistic inquiry into the physical and cultural ecology of the diverse peoples of the Southwest.  It strives to enrich learning about the Greater Southwest through curriculum development, public outreach, and research.

The program engages faculty and students in the richness and diversity of Texas, the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico and gives focus to intercultural studies through examining the region's peoples, institutions, histories, and physical and cultural ecologies.


An Intercultural, Interdisciplinary Approach

The Center's multicultural and multidisciplinary approach increases awareness of and sensitivity to the diversity of ethnic and cultural traditions of the area.  Through curriculum development, public outreach, and research, the Center achieves its objectives.  The program examines the Southwest as an arena for cultures in conflict and harmony from prehistory to the present and encompasses such issues and themes as:

  • the clash and cooperation of diverse Southwestern cultures: Native American, Mexican American, Anglo American, African American, Asian American, and Latina/o
  • tensions between individuals and communities
  • the interaction of people and their environments
  • the interactions between environment and technology
  • the significance of the frontier
  • the myth and reality of the cowboy
  • the geophysical definition and variety of the Southwest
  • the distinction between regionalism and provincialism
  • the relationship of region and ethnicity
  • the concept of region in contrast with the dominant culture
  • the social and cultural patterns expressed through history, literature, art, architecture, theater, film, music, clothing, food, etc.