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Week Fifteen: Wrap up

Now that we've reached the end of the line with time traveling during the American Expansion Era - we'd like you to return to some of the key questions we asked in week one and reflect on whether or not they strike you differently given the material we’ve covered in the past 14 weeks.

  1. When does history begin in the Northwest? Whose voices should be included in that history?
  2. What is the importance of regional history to the national story, and vice versa?
  3. How does geography, or the environment, influence the history we tell of a region?
  4. In what way does the attempt to integrate traditional Indian oral history change the classical historical story? Can the two ever be fully integrated?
  5. What can we gain by studying both past intellectual attitudes about Indians and current Indian attitudes about themselves? Are the two connected in any way?
  6. Why is it important to understand the history of history? How has the story of the West changed in the last 30 years?

Dr. Harry Fritz argues in his final lecture that 1890 marks the end of the frontier and the beginning of the modern era, yet there are historians who still debate this question and whose research represents an on-going engagement with the questions we presented at the beginning of the course. At the bottom of this page we've included an excerpt from a recent essay that models how current historians are taking on these questions, as well as advice from two well-known writers on how to think about research and writing.

In the meantime, remember as you begin an historical research project to look for ways to draw connections between the local story and the national story. And take the time, as we suggested in the Research page for week 14, to do some actual digging into hands-on resource materials. You never know when you'll serendipitously come across something that will completely alter how you look at your topic – or history in general. Above all, enjoy the process!

"Is There a Twentieth-Century West?"

Hugo and Broyard: thoughts on research


 

Lecture Maps People Research Unit 1 Unit 2 Unit 4 Unit 5