History Department
History Department

Walter L. Buenger

ProfessorPh.D., 1979, Rice University

Summerlee Foundation Chair in Texas History and Barbara Stuart Centennial Professor in Texas History; Chief Historian, Texas State Historical Association
Walter L. Buenger


  • Phone: (512) 475-7214
  • Office: GAR 3.118
  • Office Hours: Fall 2018: Tue/Wed 11am-12:30pm & by appt.
  • Campus Mail Code: B7000


Walter L. Buenger was born and grew up in Ft. Stockton, Texas.  Both sides of his family told stories that stretched back to the Civil War, but his father’s German Texan relatives had a decidedly more jaundiced view of that conflict than his mother’s Anglo kin.  Those stories with their conflicting views of the past and his early years in the Trans-Pecos country gave him a lifelong interest in the nuanced history and varied cultures of the South and Southwest.  He left the Trans-Pecos for Houston and graduated from Rice University with a BA in 1973.   After earning a PhD from Rice he began teaching in the Department of History at Texas A&M University in 1979, and he remained at A&M until 2017 when he joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin.

Research Interests

Buenger has written or co-written four books, co-edited two more, and authored numerous articles and book chapters.  His main areas of interest have been the connections between Texas and the South, Texas identity, historiography, the role of memory, the influence of borders, and the construction and evolution of culture in the Southwest.  He is wrapping up a co-edited and extensively annotated version of the autobiography of William A. Trenckmann, a German language newspaperman and politician who was born in Texas in 1859 and died in Austin in 1935.  He is also writing a re-conceptualization of Texas and the Southwest with the tentative title, “Texas Since 1810:  Border Crossings and Shifting Identities over Time.” 



HIS 392 • Southwestern Borders

39465 • Fall 2018
Meets T 12:30PM-3:30PM GAR 1.122

This is a graduate reading course that will examine some of the new and old literature on American foreign relations, broadly defined, since the late 19th century. The course will analyze diverse analytical approaches, historical methodologies, and empirical findings. Course requirements will center on intensive readings and discussions, with short weekly papers, and a final historiographical assignment. The aim of the course is to give students a deep familiarity with the different ways historians have written about foreign relations, and the relevance of that work for various fields of research and teaching.

Graduate standing and consent of the graduate adviser.

May be repeated for credit when the topics vary.


HIS 320P • Texas, 1845-1914

38925 • Spring 2018
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BUR 130

This course focuses on the basic history of Texas from roughly 1810 to 1920.  Emphasis will be given to how and why Texas and Texans changed over time.  Among the goals and objectives are for all students to understand how and why Texas was and was not like the regions and countries on its borders, what caused change or the absence of change, and what influenced the particular path to the 20th century of all Texans.  I expect you to attend class, do the readings, and move beyond a simple mastery of factual information.  It is my hope that by the end of the semester you will think and act like an historian by engaging in the debate about the past and by using primary source material, the ideas and insights of trained professional historians, and your own critical thinking skills to place your understanding of the Texas past on a firm foundation.  The readings and assignments in this course are designed to help you achieve these objectives by building skills as well as knowledge, and you will be graded not only on your mastery of basic factual information but on your ability to effectively organize and utilize that information.

Curriculum Vitae

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