This course examines the history of the American West as a place and as an idea in American popular culture, memory, and imagination.

In both geography and in meaning, the West has always been a shifting region that was the object first of European and then of American expansionism. It has proven a distinct region with a unique relationship to the U.S. federal government and distinctive patterns of race relations and interactions with Native Americans.

The class explores the region from colonial expansion through the Trans-Appalachian frontier period 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.