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This course examines both the place and the process of the history of the U.S. West, a shifting region of Native North America that was the object first of Spanish, French, English, and then American expansionism, and finally as a distinct region with a unique relationship to the U.S. federal government, distinctive patterns of race relations, and a unique place in American cultural memory. While this course is a general survey of the west as a region, we will examine the west as both a place and as an idea in American culture and in the popular imagination. Accordingly, the course will spend some time in the east exploring the backcountry frontier during the first years of the republic when the west meant the Ohio Valley and Kentucky, as well focusing on the historical development of the trans-Mississippi west stretching from the Great Plains to the Pacific Ocean. Using films, monographs, memoirs, letters, and academic articles and literary fiction we will explore the struggle for land, resources, identity, and power, which have characterized the west and its role in the history of the American nation-state.