Imagining the American West: 1803-1893 | Newberry

Imagining the American West: 1803-1893

Karl Bodmer. Indians Hunting the Bison.VAULT oversize Ayer Art Bodmer
Monday, November 5, 2012Tuesday, November 6, 2012
(Rescheduled from October 8 and 9, 2012)

9 am -3 pm

Room B92

Led by Scott M. Stevens, Newberry Library
Programs for Teachers
Chicago Teachers as Scholars

The American West has at times functioned as a mythical space as much as a geographic one.  Among the many associations we may have with the West are the conflict between American settlers and various Indian nations, the figure of the cowboy, the notion of Manifest Destiny, and the lore of the frontier.  This seminar will ask us to critically engage these familiar themes that run through both the US historiography and popular culture.  We will look not only at some classic sources in history such as Frederick Jackson Turner’s  famous essay but also critiques of the same, along with a variety of literary and visual materials held in the Newberry’s collection.  The dates covered in this seminar represent the opening up of the Trans-Mississippi West to the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and the date of Turner’s famous essay announcing the closing of the frontier.

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Cost and Registration Information 


For registration information please contact Rachel Rooney at