539 is a topics course in the history of the American West. This semester the course will examine the West as place by exploring the
history of the trans-Mississippi West from the 16th century to the
present. In this course we will
address numerous historical issues associated with this region, including
cultural contact and conflict, economic development, visions and meanings of the
West, human interaction with nature and the environment, relationship between
western states and the federal government, tourism, the growth of the sunbelt
cities, and the shifting nature of race, class, gender, and power in the region.
Etulain, Does the Frontier Make America Exceptional?
Elliott West, The Contested Plains
David Wrobel, The End of American Exceptionalism
Richard Aquila, ed., Wanted Dead or Alive
Additional readings and documents will be placed in Blackboard or on my History 539 website
Research Paper: 30%
Class Participation: 10 %
Student Learning Goals:
1. Students will understand and analyze the major themes and issues in the History of the American West and the historical forces that have shaped them.
2. Students will investigate the racial and cultural diversity of the West and how this has shaped the West and the nation.
3. Students will explore and critically analyze both primary and secondary source material.
4. Students will probe the nature of historical interpretation.
5. Students will undertake historical research using primary source material and improve writing skills.
A brief note on grades:
A student will earn an “A” for only excellent and outstanding work.
A “B” represents very good work, which means more than just doing the
job. A “C” is given to those
who demonstrate adequate competence and satisfactory completion of assignments.
“D” work is that which fails to demonstrate competence and/or fails
to fully complete the assignment. I
don’t think I need to explain the meaning of an “F” to you. Finally, I
always assume that each student puts his or her full effort into an assignment,
so please don’t try to make a case for a higher grade based on how much time
and effort you put into an assignment. I
can only grade performance not effort.
be aware that the major themes and ideas that comprise my exams are generally
drawn from my lectures so attendance is critical if you wish to do well in this
both from the text and the other assigned books, are not extra or optional
assignments. The readings complement, but do not replace, my lectures and are
there to help you better understand major themes and issues raised in class.
One key to success in this course is to keep up with the reading
Etiquette: Please arrive on time and do not leave before the end of class unless
you inform me prior to class. Also,
please be sure cell phones are off or on silent.
SDSU Academic Honesty Policy:
Institutions of higher education are founded to impart knowledge, seek truth, and encourage one’s development for the good of society. University students shall thus be intellectually and morally obliged to pursue their course of studies with honesty and integrity. Therefore, in preparing and submitting materials for academic courses and in taking examinations, a student shall not yield to cheating or plagiarism, which not only violate academic standards but also make the offender liable to penalties explicit in Title 5.
Cheating shall be defined as the act of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit for
academic work by the use of dishonest, deceptive, or fraudulent means. Examples
of cheating include, but are not limited to (a) copying, in part or in whole,
from another’s test or other examination; (b) discussing answers or ideas
relating to the answers on a test or other examination without the permission of
the instructor; (c) obtaining copies of a test, an examination, or other course
material without the permission of the instructor; (d) using notes, cheat
sheets, or other devices considered inappropriate under the prescribed testing
condition; (e) collaborating with another or others in work to be presented
without the permission of the instructor; (f) falsifying records, laboratory
work, or other course data; (g) submitting work previously presented in another
course, if contrary to the rules of the course; (h) altering or interfering with
the grading procedures; (i) plagiarizing, as defined; and (j) knowingly and
intentionally assisting another student in any of the above.
Plagiarism shall be defined as the act of incorporating ideas, words, or specific substance of another, whether purchased, borrowed, or otherwise obtained, and submitting same to the University as one’s own work to fulfill academic requirements without giving credit to the appropriate source. Plagiarism shall include but not be limited to (a) submitting work, either in part or in whole, completed by another; (b) omitting footnotes for ideas, statements, facts, or conclusions that belong to another; (c) omitting quotation marks when quoting directly from another, whether it be a paragraph, sentence, or part thereof; (d) close and lengthy paraphrasing of the writings of another; (e) submitting another person’s artistic works, such as musical compositions, photographs, paintings, drawings, or sculptures; and (f) submitting as one’s own work papers purchased from research companies. Those guilty of committing plagiarism or cheating will receive an F for both the assignment and the entire course.
“Students agree that by taking this course all required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to Blackboard’s Turnitinc.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the Turnitin.com reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. You may submit papers in such a way that no identifying information about you is included. Another option is that you may request, in writing, that your papers not be submitted to Turnitin.com. However, if you choose this option you will be required to provide documentation to substantiate that the papers are your original work and do not include any plagiarized material.”
If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need accommodations for this class, it is your responsibility to contact Student Disability Services at (619) 594-6473. To avoid any delay in the receipt of your accommodations, you should contact Student Disability Services as soon as possible. Please note that accommodations are not retroactive, and that I cannot provide accommodations based upon disability until I have received an accommodation letter from Student Disability Services.