HIST 372 Spring 2015 The North American West: Histories and Meanings

This course will explore the various and contested histories of the geographical region in North America that Americans often call "the West". With porous boundaries; changing empires and national borders; an extraordinarily diverse mix of peoples; and most importantly, continuous indigenous presence to the present day, this region both has a remarkably rich history and poses central questions to how we view American history. What if, from the vantage point of the 1780s, we look not at the founding of the United States in the East but at the elaboration of the Spanish mission system in California and other parts of the Southwest? Or what if, instead of understanding "the West" as a place that people migrated "to" from "the East", we think about "the West" as a place diversely inhabited for hundreds, even thousands, of years that experienced both very sudden and violent forms of military conquest and settler colonialism, as well as waves of migration from many different compass points around the globe? And where do Americans' stories of western individualism fit into the histories of massive federal interventions in "the West"? We will take up these and many other questions as we examine topics from the era before Europeans arrived in North America to the present day.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on class participation, 3 short to moderate writing assignments, and one moderate research paper
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: History majors
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Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes: HIST Group F Electives - U.S. + Canada
Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 25
Class Number: 3262
CLASSES ATTR INSTRUCTORS TIMES CLASS NUMBER
HIST 372 - 01 (S) SEM NorthAmerWest: Hist&Meanings Division 2: Social Studies Karen R. Merrill
TF 1:10 PM-2:25 PM 3262
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