The Course of Western History's First Century

Allan G. Bogue

in A New Significance

Published in print January 1997 | ISBN: 9780195100471
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854059 | DOI:
The Course of Western History's First Century

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This chapter considers the origins and development of western history in American universities, focusing on Frederick Jackson Turner's teaching agenda at the University of Wisconsin. Throughout his career, the “History of the West” was Turner's usual advanced undergraduate offering, accompanied by a graduate seminar in American history. Turner introduced a course titled “Economic and Social History of the United States” at the university. Population mobility and change, community-building, intercultural relations, natural resource policy and management, the characteristics and problems of extractive industries, adaptation to natural environment as well as to technological, economic, and institutional change, urbanization, and the problems of development generally, including colonialism and its other face, dependency—these were and still are important processes, uniquely combined in the American West. In that fact lies the vitality of western history. Adjusting the curriculum to best convey an understanding of these issues and processes in relation to the problems of the future—that is the great challenge.

Keywords: history; American West; Frederick Jackson Turner; University of Wisconsin; curriculum; extractive industries; urbanization; development; colonialism

Chapter.  11075 words. 

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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