History | U.S. Frontiers: Treks West to Star Trek
A300 | 13054 | Stinson


Remember playing that Oregon Trail Game, where all your cattle
drowned, or Mary’s and Laura’s adventures in "Little House on the
Prairie"? Ever wonder if those things really happened? Want to know
more about the key role African Americans and Native Americans
played in explorers’ expeditions, the Gold Rush, and the settling of
the Midwest and West? Or do you just want to put your awesome
knowledge of "Star Trek" to good use? From treks West to "Star Trek,"
Americans have seen frontiers as central to their history and to
their vision of who they are. This course explores how Americans
have defined frontiers as dangerous or mysterious spaces, as places
of violence, lawlessness, or conquest, and as areas where new
opportunities or innovations occur when diverse cultures come
together.  Throughout, it examines how European-descended, Native
American, and African American men and women have shaped and been
shaped by frontier experiences.  It also traces how representations
of frontier life influence Americans’ thinking about race, gender,
and politics from one era to the next, and how they imagine a
national identity in relation to frontiers.  Unit 1 explores
sixteenth-century explorers’ ideas about “New World” frontiers,
Spanish treasure quests and conquests in the early Southwest, and
the experiences of Puritans and Native Americans who fought frontier
wars against one another in New England.  Unit 2 examines Lewis’ and
Clark’s expedition with Sacagawea, the Trail of Tears, slavery and
the Civil War, families who journeyed across the prairie in covered
wagons, and the “Wild West” of the Gold Rush. Unit 3 addresses
frontiers in connection to twentieth-century imperialism,
environmental crises, suburbanization, the Cold War-era space race,
and sci-fi images.  These topics will be explored through key
history texts, explorers’ maps, Native Americans’s writings, pioneer
diaries, "Little House on the Prairie," “Western” films, frontier
songs, and "Star Trek" episodes.