Summer 2016 - HIST 376 D100

North American West (4)

Class Number: 4736

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 8:30 AM – 11:20 AM
    RCB 8100, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history.



Examines themes in the development of the western portions of North America, their incorporation into nation states, and the tensions between local, regional, and national systems during the last two centuries. Themes will include race, ethnicity, class labor, capital, and environment.


Western myth has played an important part in shaping popular understandings of the history of the West as a region, particularly in the United States but also – to a greater degree than is sometimes recognized – in Canada. In order to provide a basis for comparing myth and history in western North America, this course will trace its incorporation and development by both the United States and Canada during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, focusing on the social, cultural, political, and economic forces that shaped the region, and putting historical and spatial analyses of regional development in conversation with popular cultural interpretations. The course will pay particular attention to the recent work of Western historians who offer a reinterpretation of the history of the West by contrasting myth and history. Students will use primary documents, secondary materials, and film to analyze both the emergence of the West as a region and the ways in which it has been depicted over time in the popular imagination.

This course will provide an understanding of the historical processes of regional development in a comparative context. As an upper-division history course focusing on process and place, this course contributes to student comprehension of social, cultural, material and transnational issues underlying regional development in western North America.


  • Participation 20%
  • Presentation and Outline 20%
  • Primary Source Analysis 20%
  • Midterm 20%
  • Final Essay 20%



Anne M. Butler and Michael J. Lansing, The American West: A Concise History (Blackwell, 2008)

Andrew R. Graybill, Policing the Great Plains: Rangers, Mounties, and the North American  Frontier, 1875-1910 (University of Nebraska Press, 2007)

Assigned articles and materials available through SFU Electronic Journals and Canvas.

Registrar Notes:

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site contains information on what is meant by academic dishonesty and where you can find resources to help with your studies.  There is also a section on tutoring.