The Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics & Society supports and promotes the critical, interdisciplinary study of the politics and culture of the American South past and present.


To maximize the Center’s impact by producing quality research, educating students, sponsoring innovative faculty projects, offering public programs, honoring and cultivating current and future donors, building partnerships with granting institutions, and developing our brand within our academic discipline.

History of the Blair Center

The Blair Center is a research center established in 2001 with a 3 million dollar U.S. Congressional appropriation that was put into an endowment. The center was named for the late Diane Blair, professor of political science, Clinton friend and strategist, and public advocate for Arkansas women. Her husband, Jim Blair partnered with the Walton Family to endow two assistant professorships in southern studies and Latino politics, respectively. Founding director, Todd Shields, secured a faculty line in African American politics to further support the center.