Professor – PhD 1979, Rice University
Summerlee Foundation Chair in Texas History and Barbara Stuart Centennial Professor in Texas History, University of Texas at Austin; Chief Historian, Texas State Historical Association
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.
Buenger has written or co-written four books, 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 recently published Preserving German Texan Identity: Reminiscences of William A. Trenckmann, 1859-1935, a co-edited and extensively annotated version of the autobiographical writings of 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.”