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Course Information

Page history last edited by mwitgen@... 6 years, 2 months ago



Contact Information

Dr. Michael Witgen
Office: 3749 Haven Hall
Office Hours: Thursday 12:30-2:00 pm
Email: mwitgen@umich.edu


Class Meetings

Tuesday and Thursday 10:00-11:30 am

Room: USB 1250

Campus Map


 Please see Graded Assignments for instructions on weekly preparation and graded assignments.


Course Description

This course examines both the “place” and the “process” of the history of the U.S. West, a shifting region of Native North America that was the object first of Spanish, French, English, and then American expansionism, and finally as a distinct region with a unique relationship to the U.S. federal government, distinctive patterns of race relations, and a unique place in American cultural memory.  While this course is a general survey of the west as a region, we will examine the west as both a place and as an idea in American culture and in the popular imagination.  Accordingly, we will spend some time in the east exploring the backcountry frontier during the first years of the republic when the west meant the Ohio Valley and Kentucky, as well as focusing on the historical development of the trans-Mississippi west stretching from the Great Plains to the Pacific Ocean.  Using films, monographs, memoirs, letters, academic articles and literary fiction we will explore the struggle for land, resources, identity, and power, which have characterized the west and its role in the history of the American nation-state.  While this is a survey course, which requires no prerequisites, it is not a lecture format.  Instead we will focus on active learning, which will require students to read assigned texts and be prepared to discuss these documents in class to ascertain their historical meaning and significance. 



Coursepack, available at Dollar Bill Copying on Church St.

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