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HIST 357 History of the American West

HIST 357.  History of the American West.  3 Credits.   H   

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.

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of General Studies in History

History does not just narrate a sequence of past events. The practice of history examines change over time and tries to understand the forces that contributed to those changes. Historians are most interested in questions that begin by asking ‘why’ or ‘how.’ These questions demand complex answers about who we are, how we have come to where we are, and what forces have shaped humanity through time.