- CC 300 BX - Idea of the American West
- 3 Credits
MWF 2:00-2:50 pm - Professor Kilpinen
Cross-listed with GEOG 490 AX & HIST 492 BX
Partially fulfills social sciences requirement
North America exhibits a vibrant range of regional variations, giving us such recognizable areas as New England, the South, and the Midwest. While each of these regions has a storied history and distinct identity, perhaps none
approaches the West in importance in the American mind over the last two hundred years. Everyone’s mental map has a place for the West, with a host of associated images. In this course, we will explore the idea of the West, assessing the way the region’s history and geography have affected the boundary between the real and mythic in western art and photography, including the works of artists like George Catlin, Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, and William H. Jackson. In the process, you will be challenged to assess critically your own views of the region and its history.
Required Texts may include:
Assignments will include three 3-5 page essays, an 8-10 page term paper on a topic of the student’s choice within our broad Western theme, and two exams.
- Hausladen, Gary, ed. 2003. Western places, American myths: how we think about the West. Reno: University of Nevada Press.
- Murdoch, David H. 2001. The American West: the invention of a myth. Reno: University of Nevada Press.
- Cronon, William, George A. Miles, and Jay Gitlin, eds. 1992. Under an open sky: rethinking America's Western past. New York: W.W. Norton. (selected chapters)
- Prown, Jules David. 1992. Discovered lands, invented pasts: transforming visions of the American West. New Haven: Yale University Press. (selected chapters)
- Goetzmann, William H., Joseph C. Porter, and David C. Hunt. 1981. The West as romantic horizon. Omaha, Neb: Center for Western Studies, Joslyn Art Museum. (selected chapter)
- Other selected articles and chapters.