HIST 301
Approaching the Past: Westward Expansion in American History Fall 2014
Division II
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

How does historical knowledge evolve? How do historians build on but also repudiate the work of historians that came before them? In this course, we will explore the historiography that has developed over the last 150 years about the Anglo-American settlement of the West, using it as a lens to explore larger questions about shifting perspectives of the historian’s craft. This historiography will also illuminate critical conflicts about the meaning of American history. Did the frontier build American character, as Frederick Jackson Turner argued in 1893? Did it establish patterns of conquest that have shaped American policy toward other parts of the world, as later historians would argue? Has the West been an “exceptional” place or representative of the nation at large? The class will meet twice a week, and the discussions will focus intensively on one book, examining the theoretical and historical assumptions of the author; how these assumptions shaped the historian’s search for evidence and his or her claims; and the impact they have had on our understanding of the American West.
The Class: Format: discussion
Limit: 19
Expected: 15-19
Class#: 1184
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on class participation, weekly critical writing, a midterm paper, and a final, book review essay
Extra Info: not available for the Gaudino option
Prerequisites: restricted to History majors and sophomores planning to major in History
Enrollment Preferences: senior, then junior, History majors
Distributions: Division II

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