Since 1996, the Clements Center has hosted an annual symposium focusing on the borderlands of the U.S. Southwest or broader themes and trends exemplified by the region. Each results in a book of essays published by an academic press.
The lengthy process involved in the creation of these books is critical to their success. Every symposium begins with an important question posed by the organizers/editors in their call for papers. Selected participants prepare chapters related to this question and convene in the fall - usually at SMU's satellite campus in Taos, NM - to discuss their first drafts and the volume in general.
In the spring, scholars typically meet at the co-sponsoring institution to analyze revised drafts and discuss how, in a book of essays, each chapter will engage the others while sustaining a coherent conversation throughout the volume. Participants often make public presentations at the spring symposium and afterwards finalize their essays. The end product is a cohesive collection, featuring a scholarly introduction by the organizers/editors.
Image: Participants in the 2013-14 "Civil War Wests" symposium gather at the SMU-in-Taos campus. Left to right: Sherry Smith, Ruth Ann Elmore, Gregory Downs, James Jewell, Niels Hooper, Megan Kate Nelson, Nicholas Guyatt, Fay Yarbrough, Diane Mutti Burke, Lance Blyth, Joshua Paddison, Stephen Hahn, Stephen Aron, Stephen Kantrowitz, Bill Deverell, Virginia Scharff, Andrew Graybill, and Adam Arenson.