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History and Mission

The University of Arizona’s Southwest Center has sustained a program of exemplary publication on the region since 1987 and launch of Journal of the Southwest, under the direction of founding editor, Joseph C. Wilder.  With JSW and with two university press book series, the Center has built substantially on a publishing tradition that began in 1959 with the western historical quarterly, Arizona and the West, published out of the UA history department.  Marking the beginning of a new and ambitious approach to publishing on the Southwest, in 1987 Wilder launched Journal of the Southwestwith a short essay, writing:

It is the peculiar ambition of JSW to pay attention to the histories of tradition and change which so define this unique region.  By so doing, it is our scholarly hope that better, more unified understandings of our region—its peoples, its past and present—will emerge through the vehicle of literate and scholarly writing on the Southwest …. Journal of the Southwest is a comprehensive publication with a special consciousness of place. We hope that you—scholar and general reader alike—will turn to it as a source of the best critical thinking and scholarship on the region.

JSW has remained faithful to this overall vision, and in particular to the notion of a special consciousness of place, ever since.


Joseph Wilder
Editor, Journal of the Southwest and Professor of Practice

Joseph Wilder is editor and publisher of the regional quarterly, Journal of the Southwest, and former director (for 32 years) of the Southwest Center. He was raised in Tucson, in a family with territorial roots, his mother being born in Globe in 1910. After high school, he spent a gap year in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, working in a Dutch supermarket, before returning to the U.S. and working his way through the University of Arizona as a philosophy major. Wilder holds a Ph.D. in political theory from the University of Notre Dame, with a main interest in the philosophy of history. While at Notre Dame, he began his career in publishing as an editor at the University of Notre Dame Press. In 1986, he returned to Tucson and the UA  to assume the editorship of Arizona and the West, a journal of Western history, and develop a new editorial and publishing direction as he transformed it into a Southwest regional studies journal. In 1987 he was appointed director of The Southwest Center and over the years he has integrated a broad research program with robust publishing projects. He has developed and edited two book series, one at the University of Arizona Press and one at the University of New Mexico Press in which over 50 books have been published in the last twenty years; currently he edits the Southwest Center Series at the UA Press and sponsors occasional publications at UNM Press. His publishing interests are especially focused on the architecture, landscape, and culture of the American Southwest and Mexican Northwest. Wilder serves on the board of the DeGrazia Foundation,  the board of the Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships in the UA Honors College, and teaches an Honors Seminar on region, place and being.

Jeffrey Banister
Associate Research Social Scientist, Associate Editor, and Associate Research Professor–Southwest Center, Journal of the Southwest, and School of Geography and Development

Jeffrey Banister is director of the Southwest Center as well as associate editor and research social scientist.  He is also associate research professor in the School of Geography and Development.  At Journal of the Southwest Banister has built on the university’s tradition of collaborative investigation and publication in the social and natural sciences and humanities with Mexican institutions. Much of this includes acquiring, translating, editing, and publishing scholarship from Mexican researchers in an effort to bring critical scholarship in and on Mexico into the English language bibliography.  His research and teaching focus primarily on resource governance and politics in the US-Mexico borderlands, Mexico, and Latin America. His most recent project, in collaboration with UA professor of art history, Dr. Stacie Widdifield, explores the visual culture of water control and provision in Mexico City from the early to middle twentieth century. This is an interdisciplinary investigation of the Mexican capital’s large potable water system constructed at a crucial phase of national modernization.

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