Courses on the West at Stanford

Spring 2016 Courses

The American West: An Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Course

The American West is characterized by frontier mythology, vast distances, marked aridity, and unique political and economic characteristics. This course integrates several disciplinary perspectives into a comprehensive examination of Western North America: its history, physical geography, climate, literature, art, film, institutions, politics, demography, economy, and continuing policy challenges. Students examine themes fundamental to understanding the region: time, space, water, peoples, and boom and bust cycles.


The California Coast: Science, Policy, and Law

The western boundary of the West, California's 1,100 miles of coastline encapsulate many of the issues and tensions – as well as the natural grandeur – of the region as a whole. Studying the management of the coast — balancing conservation and development, watching the shifting rural/urban interface, and addressing population growth and changing demographics — presents an opportunity to explore many complex and important issues right in Stanford’s own backyard. Sponsored by the Bill Lane Center for the American West and attracting students from across the Stanford campus (including the Schools of Humanities & Sciences, Law, Engineering, and Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences), this interdisciplinary course delves into the complexity of coastal management through case studies of contemporary issues and challenges. 


Water Governance: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Critical 21st Century Challenges

The UN reports that the world will only have 60% of the water it needs by 2030 without significant global policy change. In the absence of improved water management strategies, water insecurity is and will continue to be a central problem faced by societies in the 21st century. This course explores such issues by drawing upon contemporary scholarship in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. Case studies from around the world will be used to critically analyze water challenges and their policy responses. Co-taught by three water researchers with expertise in the social and natural sciences, this seminar will examine issues including, but not limited to, the water-food-energy nexus, human access to safe drinking water, multi-scalar water governance, climate change, and integrated water resources management.

GEOPHYS 192 | Units: 1 | 03/28/2016 – 06/01/2016 Thursdays, 10:30am – 11:20am, Mitchell Building, Room 452


Curated List of Other Courses on the West at Stanford

Each year, Stanford University offers nearly 100 courses related to the study of the North American West across a wide range of departments and programs. Click on the links here to see a listing by quarter:

Exploring the West High School Curriculum

Exploring the West is a high-school curriculum committed to expanding and enriching students’ perceptions of the West. The site contains worksheets and lesson plans that present the West as a contemporary, diverse, transnational, and dynamic region.

Due to security concerns following a cyber attack, the site has been brought down for maintenance. We invite you to fill out a survey if you are interested in using Exploring the West for your classroom and would like to be notified when it is available again.

We hope you will let friends and colleagues know about this resource. And give us a heads up if we are missing anything. Thanks!