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Posts under ‘Units’

Unit 6 Test – due by 12:30 pm 12/9

Here’s the test for Wednesday, December 9. Download and then type directly into this Word document. Your answers do not have to fit into the space provided; you can expand the space as needed. When you are done, save the document with your last name in the title, and upload it to Digital Dropbox on […]

Unit 6 (11/30 – 12/9): Go West Again, This Time as a Tourist

In this unit we scrutinize the imagined West within the real West in our own time – how do they overlap for tourists, recreationists, and visitors? We look at the contradictions and ironies in the burgeoning tourist industry in the West of the mid-20th century to today. 34. Mon 11/30 West for Sale Reading: explore […]


Owen Wister’s 1902 novel The Virginian is the key to understanding the genre of American Western literature. Everything prior to it wasn’t truly “the Western” yet, and everything since draws on it, refers to it, was shaped by it, or defines itself against it. In this unit, we’ve read some “pre-Virginian” literature, and we’ll read […]

Unit 5 (11/6 – 11/27): The Western Genre in American Literature

Western films were not the first Westerns; the genre existed in literature long before film was invented. In this unit, we trace the invention and development of the Western as a form of American literature in popular culture. Start reading The Virginian as soon as you can; it’s deceptively long. Also in this unit, your […]

Unit 4 (10/21 – 11/4): Hollywood’s West

In this unit we’ll explore Western films from the silent era to the mid-1960s. What makes a movie a Western? What are the important or iconic elements? We will also listen in to popular radio Westerns from radio’s golden age (the 1930s and 1940s) – how does the fictional portrayal of the West change when […]

Overland Trails Map (in color)

Source: TrailsWest

Unit 3 (10/2 – 10/19): Go West

Some of this unit will be familiar to you – settlers, railroads, pioneers, ranchers, cowboys – but some of it will, I hope, give you a fresh perspective on the experience of going West, and will expand your notion of who peopled the historic West. In this unit, we will use Limerick’s Legacy of Conquest […]

Unit 2 (9/18 – 9/30): Look East

In this unit we focus on several case studies of Indian encounters with Ango-European settlers, explorers, and military force. The goal of this unit is to see these encounters, as much as possible, from the Native American point of view. Our text for this unit will be Colin Calloway’s Our Hearts Fell to the Ground, […]

Unit 1 (9/2 – 9/16): What is “The West”?

In this unit, we’ll look at how the American West has been defined – as both a place/region and as a field of scholarly study. 1. Wed 9/2 Course Intro Reading: none. “Bugs Bunny Rides Again” 2. Fri 9/4 Where is the West? Reading: Walter Nugent, “Where is the American West” in Major Problems in […]