Wayland baptist university

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School of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Wayland Baptist University exists to educate students in an academically challenging and distinctively Christian environment for professional success, lifelong learning, and service to God and humankind. 

HIST 5333 - United States West


Term: Spring 2014

Instructor: Dr. Kevin Z. Sweeney; Office Gates Hall Room 302
Contact Information: Work Phone 806.291.1180  Email: sweeneyk@wbu.edu

  Cell Phone 806.790.9624

Office Hours: MF 8:00-11:00, TR 8:00-9:30 & 11:00-12:00 CST

Catalog Description: HIST 5333 will introduce students to the main theoretical currents of the history of the US West and look at the west as a frontier; as a region, of agriculture, aridity, Native Americans, the Desert Southwest; gender in the West, violence in the West, and the modern West.


There is no prerequisite for this course



Robert Hine and John Mack Faragher, The American West: A New Interpretive History.

Course outcome competencies: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the main scholars and their arguments for the following categories of the History of the US West:

The West as a process or place

Native Americans

The Frontier

Desert Southwest

Agricultural History

The West as a region of Violence

Gender in the West

The West as a region of Aridity

And the Modern West
Attendance: Students enrolled at one of the University’s external campuses should make every effort to attend all class meetings.  All absences must be explained to the instructor, who will then determine whether the omitted work may be made up.  When a student reaches that number of absences considered by the instructor to be excessive, the instructor will so advise the student and file an unsatisfactory progress report with the campus dean.  Any student who misses 25 percent or more of the regularly scheduled class meetings may receive a grade of F in the course.  Additional attendance policies for each course, as defined by the instructor in the course syllabus, are considered a part of the University’s attendance policy.

Service for the Disabled: In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), it is the policy of Wayland Baptist University that no otherwise qualified person with a disability be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity in the university.  The Coordinator of Counseling Services serves as the coordinator of students with a disability and should be contacted concerning accommodation requests at (806) 291- 3765.  Documentation of a disability must accompany any request for accommodations.

Course requirements: Students will prepare six book reviews, will compose four essays, will respond to ten text Book prompts, and will take a final essay exam.
Book Reviews: Six book reviews are required for this class and should be between 4 and 5 pages in length, and will be worth 100 points each for a total of 600 points. Refer to the Book Review Guidelines on Blackboard for specifications, and the Schedule of Topics and Assignments in this syllabus for the due dates.

Essays: Four essays responding to questions posted in the Essay folder, each worth 50 points. Refer to the Guidelines for Essay Assignment in Blackboard for specification, and the Schedule of Topics and Assignments in this syllabus for the due dates.

Responses: For the first ten weeks of class a prompt will be located in the discussion board. Respond to these questions using information from your text book, The American West, by Hine and Faragher, any books you’ve read for this class, and your opinion. Each week’s discussion is worth 10 points.

Method of determining course grade:

Six Book Reviews 600 pts

Four Essays 200 pts

Ten Responses 100 pts

Final Essay Test 100 pts

Total points 1000 pts
The University has a standard grade scale:

A = 90-100, B = 80-89, C = 70-79, D = 60-69, F= below 60,

W = Withdrawal, WP = withdrew passing, WF = withdrew failing, I = incomplete. An incomplete may be given within the last two weeks of a long term or within the last two days of a microterm to a student who is passing, but has not completed a term paper, examination, or other required work for reason beyond the student’s control. A grade of “incomplete” is changed if the work required is completed prior to the last day of the next long (10 to 15 weeks) term, unless the instructor designates an earlier date for completion.  If the work is not completed by the appropriate date, the I is converted to an F. 
IMPORTANT DATES: Last day to drop: March 12

Last day to drop with "W": April 25

Last day to drop with "WP" or "WF": May 2
Schedule of Lecture Topics and Reading Assignments:
Date Topic Book Review Hine & Faragher Essays

Feb 24-Mar 2 Introduction Essay 1

Mar 3-9 Classic Scholars 1-2 Essay 2
Mar 10-16 Spring Break, no assignments due
Mar 17-23 Native Americans Book Review 1 3-4
March 24-30 The Frontier Book Review 2 5-6
Mar 31-Apr 6 Desert Southwest 7-8
Apr 7-13 Agriculture Book Review 3 9-10
April 14-20 Violence 11-12 Essay 3

Apr 21-27 Gender in the West Book Review 4 13-14

Apr 28- May4 Environmental Book Review 5 15
May 5-11 Modern West Book Review 6 16
May12-17 Final Essay 4
Book Review Guidelines
1. The heading (as a bibliographic entry), which includes author, title, and

publication information followed by your name (the reviewer):

Holland, Tom. Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West. New York: Anchor Books, 2005.

Reviewed by:

Your Name
2. Who is the author? Are they qualified to write the book, do they have an agenda or bias?
3. The introduction, which includes a brief summary of the book and especially its thesis. What is the scope of the volume under review? (chronological as well as thematic) What is the Author's thesis? Note the salient features of his argument, listing the page numbers if appropriate. Reviews should be between four to six pages in length.
4. A recap of the evidence that the author uses to back the thesis. A discussion of the author's point of view may be part of this summary.
5. A discussion of how the book supports, attacks modifies, or expands the view of a subject covered by the course.
6. Comments about the book's readability and any features, such as illustrations, and bibliography, worthy of note. (stylistic qualities. Maps, tables, index... ) What are the author's main sources? How does he use them?
7. Your criticism. Give a final recommendation for or against the book as an aid to understanding the subject.
8. Reviews should be a minimum of four typed pages normal format, doubled spaced, Times New Roman, etc.

9. Grade: 20% format/style; 30% grammar, spelling, etc.; 50% content

Feel free to elaborate on any of these categories, or even to introduce new or additional categories if you feel them to be important.

You can get some idea of how book reviews are written by looking in scholarly journals like the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, the Historian, American Historical Review. Remember, however, that scholarly journal reviews are written by and for professional historians with a wide knowledge of the subject. For a fuller discussion of how to write book reports, see "Reviewing books and articles," in Henry J. Steffens and Mary Jane Dickerson, Writer's Guide: History (Lexington: D.C. Heath, 1987), 60-68 or Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History 4th ed. (Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2004), 24-26.

US West Reading List (If you have another book in mind that covers one of these topics, ask the professor.)
Book Review 1


Ray Allen Billington, Western Expansion: A History of the American Frontier.

The American Frontier Thesis: Attack and Defense.

Herbert Eugene Bolton, The History of the Americas.

Patricia Limerick, Legacy of Conquest.

Earl Pomeroy, Towards a Reorientation of Western History: Continuity and


Walter Prescott Webb, The Great Plains .

Book Review 2

Native Americans

Alvin M. Josephy: America in 1492.

Richard White, The Roots of Dependency.

Francis Paul Prucha, The Great Father.

Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

Robert Utely, The Indian Frontier of the American West.

Francis Jennings,The Invasion of America.

Margaret Connell Szasz, Between Indian and White Worlds.

Jack Weatherford, Indian Givers.

Book Review 3

Ray Allen Billington, The American Frontier Thesis.

Charles A. Beard, “The Frontier in American History.”

Richard White and Patricia Limerick, The Frontier in American Culture.

Howard Lamar, The Far Southwest.

John Francis Bannon, The Spanish Borderlands Frontier.

David Weber, The Spanish Frontier in North America.

Leonard Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom.

Juanita Brooks, The Mountain Meadows Massacre.

Herbert Eugene Bolton, The Spanish Borderlands.

Fred A. Shannon, The Farmer’s Last Frontier.

Maurice Frink, When Grass was King.

Gilbert C. Fite, The Farmer’s Frontier.

Book Review 4


Richard Slotkin, Gunfighter Nation.

Regeneration Through Violence.

Richard Maxwell Brown, No Duty to Retreat.

W. Eugene Hollon, Frontier Violence.

Annette Kolodny, The Land Before Her.

Sylvia Van Kirk, Many Tender Ties.

Susan Armitage and Elizabeth Jameson, eds. The Women’s West.

Elizabeth Jameson, Writing the Range.
Book Review 5

Arid West

Walter Prescott Webb, The Great Plains.

Donald Green, Land of the Underground Rain.

Marc Reisner, Cadillac Desert.

William Ashworth, Ogallala Blue.

Donald Worster, Rivers of Empire.

Dust Bowl.

William Cronon, Changes in the Land

Nature’s Metropolis

Alfred Crosby, The Columbian Exchange

Marc Reisner, Cadillac Desert

Donald Worster, Dust Bowl

Book Review 6

The Modern West

Michale Malone and Richard Etulain, The American West.

Gerald Nash, The American West Transformed.

Peter Wiley and Robert Gottlieb, Empire of the Sun.

Hal Rothman, Devil’s Bargain.

Fiction or non-Academic Work set in 20th Century

Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang

H. G. Bissinger, Friday Night Lights

Edna Ferber, Giant

Elmer Kelton, The Time it Never Rained

Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

Larry McMurtry, Texasville

The Last Picture Show

Horseman Pass By
These lists are not exhaustive. If you have an idea for a different book than those listed, obtain permission from the professor.

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