The American West is an interdisciplinary undergraduate course taught by a distinguished group of five scholars from different departments and two different schools. It 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.
Core to the curriculum is the belief that the West is characterized by frontier mythology, vast distances, marked aridity, and unique political and economic characteristics. To this end, teachers and students examine themes fundamental to understanding the region, such as: time, space, water, peoples, and boom and bust cycles.
The course is offered during Stanford's Spring Quarter. View the 2016 course syllabus.
Read more about the course:
- Stanford Magazine: Mythbusting America's West
- Stanford Humanities: Stanford course aims to cultivate future leaders of the American West
- David M. Kennedy
Instructors (Spring 2017)
Professors: Bruce Cain (Political Science), David Freyberg (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Shelley Fisher Fishkin (English), David M. Kennedy (History), and Alexander Nemerov (Art and Art History).
Teaching Assistants: Shiran Shen (Political Science), Varun Gupta (Computer Science), Megan Strackbein (English)