History | The American West: Myth & Reality
A300 | 4490 | Taysom
This is a course on the great American West, its mythology in
literature and movies, its history, and the ways the two have mixed
to present a culture that is both true and false. What was it that
motivated Americans to join in the western expansion of the nation?
Has the western frontier ever been closed? Who are the “real”
westerners in American history? We will explore the concept of
a “cowboy,” the railroad, and the “neglected people” (like Native
Americans, women, and Asian immigrants), as well as what some
Americans found in the West that gave them a sense of hope as well
as a sense of despair. We will also explore the question of whether
or not western Americans are somehow still considered second-class
citizens by the rest of the nation.