Skip to content Skip to navigation

The American West Course

American West Course Flyer

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 2018 Course Syllabus.

Read more about the course:


“In my view, this is the most multidisciplinary course on this or any other campus in the United States.” 
- David M. Kennedy

Instructors (Spring 2018)

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: Cynthia Garcia, Lance Sorenson, Megan Strackbein

For more details, please see the Courses on the West Page »