History 6304—Graduate Research Seminar—Fall 2003

People and the Land in the American West

Frank Reaugh, North Fork of the Red River, 1914

Professor Mark Stoll

742-1004 ext. 250 Holden Hall 135
E-mail: stoll@ttu.edu
Web: http://www2.tltc.ttu.edu/stoll/

Office Hours: Tuesday 11:00–12:00; Wednesday 10:00–12:00

The graduate seminar for Fall 2003 will focus on the topic, "People and the Land in the American West." The course will offer students the opportunity to examine the ways that humans have interacted with the natural environment, and the historical consequences and implications of this interaction. A multidisciplinary approach will allow new perspectives on many aspects of human history.

The instructor will devote the first half of the semester providing background lectures and discussion of possible topics, sources, bibliographies, and mechanics of writing a history research paper. Students will also read books and discuss them in class. The reading is designed to expose students to a variety of approaches to history of the human interaction with the land that they can use in their own work. Students will write three reaction papers, each of which counts 10% of the final grade. Discussion counts 10% of the final grade. The research paper will count the remaining 60%.

Required texts for the course are:

bulletTed Steinberg, Down to Earth: Nature's Role in American History
bulletDonald Worster, Under Western Skies
bulletDan Flores, Caprock Canyonlands
bulletConevery Bolton Valencius, The Health of the Country: How American Settlers Understood Themselves and Their Land
bulletElliott West, The Contested Plains: Indians, Goldseekers, & the Rush to Colorado
bulletDavid Igler, Industrial Cowboys: Miller & Lux and the Transformation of the Far West
bulletWilliam Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West


Date Assignment
Sep 2 No class; individual consultation by e-mail
Sept 9 Humans and the land in America
Ted Steinberg, Down to Earth
Sept 16 Nature and Western history
Donald Worster, Under Western Skies
Sept 23 The land and people of West Texas
Dan Flores, Caprock Canyonlands
First short paper due
Sept 30 Land and white settlers
Conevery Bolton Valencius, The Health of the Country
Oct 7 Gold and the settlement of the Plains
Elliott West, The Contested Plains
Second short paper due
Oct 14 Ranching, labor, and the land
David Igler, Industrial Cowboys
Oct 21 Cities and the land
William Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis
Third short paper due
Oct 28 No class; individual conferences
Nov 4 No class; individual conferences
Nov 11 No class
Nov 18 Presentation of papers and critiques
Dec 2 Presentation of papers and critiques
Dec 9 Presentation of papers and critiques

Note: Students who, because of a disabling condition, require some special arrangements in order to meet course requirements should contact the instructor as soon as possible to make necessary accommodations. Students should present appropriate verification from Disabled Student Services, Dean of Students Office. Students may not retake exams or quizzes taken prior to presentation of documentation.