COURSE DESCRIPTION: History of the American West
A. Expansive & complicated: 1. Starts before the West was American or even “The West” 2. Reaches to the Present – creating connectivity to a deeper past
B. Geography – Maps 1. West was not as earlier generations mapped it – Maps represent – Present & Past – Bound the West – & All North America 2. Maps represented colonial projections ( Rejected all previous claims & Failed to “reflect the intricacies of intercultural, interimperial, and international relations on the ground.”)
C. these complex convergences – intercultural, interimperial, and international relations of peoples, polities, and cultures 1. Decisively shaped the history of the American West 2. Form the crux of this course
Class Lectures – PowerPoints = Included & Combined as follows: Lectures 1 – 6, Lectures 7 – 9, Lectures 10 – 12 & Lectures 14 – 18
Required Reading and Viewing for Class (5 sources – 3 included – Access to others explained)
Weeks 1 – 3 Must be borrowed electronically Colin Calloway, New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America (Johns Hopkins). Available for free through Internet Archive – check out for 14 days. Create Free Account at https://archive.org/account/signup Book at https://archive.org/details/newworldsforalli00call
Weeks 4 – 5 Uploaded PDF of eBook Walter Nugent, Habits of Empire: A History of American Expansion (Vintage).
Weeks 6 – 8 Uploaded PDF of eBook Thomas Andrews, Killing for Coal: America’s Deadliest Labor War (Harvard).
Weeks 9 – 10 Uploaded PDF of eBook Eric Avila, Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight: Fear and Fantasy in Suburban Los Angeles (California).
Weeks 2 – Recommended viewing “Black Robe” – Available for Free on Utube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gywYLsxVwmw
Sources for Current Events I leave the sources to your discretion
Because you have taken “History of the American West”, the makers of “The Oregon Trail” or “Red Dead Redemption” have hired you to come up with a new game that “recasts the history of the American West” and “connects the problems of the past to the predicaments of the present.” Write an essay of approximately 2,000 words that explains your concept for this new game and how it will fulfill the goals of your employers. Ideally, your concept and explanation should enable you to draw evidence from a range of lectures and course readings.
Taming the West
Goal – we need to expand west – more land – goal is not not good or bad it was how we did it & perhaps there was no good way
Soldier deployed in the west. Walk through their life and the atrocities they are asked to do for the greater good – at what cost?
Westward expansion – the tool – Myth – Peoples painted as savages – walk through the life of a soldier who was being used for land gains etc.
West – Expansion – access to land and resources – Goals (Told to the Current Population) bringing civility to the Savages, Bringing Laws to the Lawless
Civilian Lives lost – Populations told all the savages fought back although women and children killed. Did they all fight back? Or were they simply ordered to kill?
Land and Culture Decimated – Those that could adapt still treated as outsiders in their own land – forced to let go of their culture and beliefs
Destroying the culture – Their World
Parallel that with today
Taming the Middle East
Goal – retain oil access (through Bring Peace?) – Not good or bad it was how we did it & perhaps there was no good way
Walk through life of soldier of Middle East – atrocities they were asked to do for the greater good – at what cost?
Soldier deployed to Middle East and walk through their life – powers that be using them to gain access to oil – it was their goal not peace for peace’s sake they wanted peace for access.
Middle East – War on Terrorism – Access to oil – Goals (Told to the Current Population) bringing a civility and civil rights to a people and individuals of that society with no voice?
Civilian Lives lost – population told they were siding with enemy or used as human shields by choice?? Is this true?
Land and Culture Decimated – What is happening to those adapting – are they too treated as outsiders in their own land – forced to let go of their culture and beliefs
Destroying the culture – Their World
Take into Account
Both soldiers were eliminating people they did not have a problem with but their government believed they were right in the achievement of their goals
History is often rewritten to accommodate those in power. Hindsight always gives better perspective and as time passes often the veil is lifted to the atrocities that happened while many others atrocities are lost in the histories that were rewritten by those in power.
In the game:
Perhaps: Jump back and forth between soldiers when their actions are parallel when orders are the same – civilian lives lost Walk through both experiences – jump from one to other
Ending thoughts – Psychological Stress of war Allow both to relive experiences Use as time to reflect on events Could we do things differently today
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