HIST 357: History of the American West

Instructor: Elaine Nelson

Day & Time:

KU Core Goal 3H
Category I
a cabin sitting in a valley of the mountains of south dakota

History of the American West

This course examines major themes in the history of the American West from Columbus to the present. The course includes topics familiar to the American West such as the California Gold Rush and the Battle of Little Bighorn. More importantly, it also offers a way of understanding North American history that is different from that of most U.S. history courses: through the lens of imperial settlement. The course focuses on: 1) cultural encounters between settlers and indigenous peoples as well as among Anglo settlers, the Spanish-speaking populations of the Mexican borderlands, and Asian immigrants to the Pacific Coast; 2) the impact of hunting, logging, ranching, and mining on the environment and the influence of the arid Western environment on human societies; and 3) the cultural symbolism of the American West in literature and film as an enduring national icon and ideology that has shaped settlement and regional history.