The Buffalo Bill Historical Center's Summer Institute in Western American Studies, now in its 25th year, is an interdisciplinary group of courses designed to explore the relationships among the diverse cultures and histories that have contributed to our understanding of the American West. Each year nationally-renowned scholars inspire students to develop new insights into the historical and contemporary issues that have transformed the American West. Participants from across the United States, Canada, and Europe include college professors, museum professionals, school teachers, graduate and undergraduate students, and individuals with interests in the art and history of the West. This melding of Institute students, combined with small class sizes, provides ample opportunity for dynamic discussions with participants from other backgrounds and experiences. The interplay - both formal and informal - among instructors and students adds another dimension to the learning adventure.
We are offering two two-week courses, and two one-week courses. Please see dates below. Classes meet at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming.
SESSION I, JUNE 7 - 18, 2004
The Poetics and Politics of the Powwow
Course Description: With direct links to the Grass Dances of the late nineteenth century, American Indian powwows carry cultural traditions with deep historical roots that link them to the ever-changing landscapes of the present. This course looks at today’s powwows both as bearers of tradition and carriers of change. It documents their origins, their florescence in the 1960s, and their current popularity. It seeks to understand how powwows serve as one of the venues through which modern identities and cultures are shaped (the poetics) and, in the process, how they play an important role in the survivance of tribal culture and sovereignty (the politics).
Beatrice Medicine received her Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has written scores of articles on various facets of American Indian life and culture. She received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Anthropological Association, one of the highest awards her profession confers. Her book, Learning to Be an Anthropologist and Remaining Indian, was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2001. Dr. Medicine is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of California-Northridge.
Patricia Albers received her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She currently serves as chair of the American Indian Studies Department at the University of Minnesota. Her publications deal with a wide range of subjects, including gender, intertribal relations, and photographic representation. She and Bea Medicine co-edited, The Hidden Half: Studies of Plains Indian Women, which won a Choice Book Award in 1984.
Reflections on Western Art
Course Description: Peter Hassrick will explore the works of late 19th and early 20th century painters who focused their attention on the trans-Mississippi West. The course will concentrate on placing “western art” within the perspective of American art in general. Included will be discussions of various historic interpretations of western art, who has collected it and why, and a historical review of artistic traditions, conventions, and motivations which have been the underpinning of aesthetic interpretations of the trans-Mississippi West.
Peter Hassrick is an art historian specializing in Western American art. He was director of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center from 1976-1996, serving as curator of the Whitney Gallery of Western Art for ten of those years. He is the founding director of the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is also the founding director of the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West at the University of Oklahoma. He has written and spoken extensively on Western American art including such topics as Frederic Remington, upon whom he is a recognized expert, Charles M. Russell, and others. He received an M.A. in History of Art from the University of Denver.
Session II, Part 1, JUNE 21 - 25, 2004
Old West, New West, Next West: Myths and Realities
Course Description: This one-week course will explore ecological, economic, demographic, and cultural changes that have occurred in the Rocky Mountain West during the late 20th and early 21st centuries, and examine implications of these changes for human lifestyles and environmental stewardship in the future. “Highest and best” uses of landscapes and natural resources have already shifted through most of the West from logging, ranching, mining, and water development to outdoor recreation (on public lands) and exurban development (on private lands). Each year since 1890, the West has captured a larger percentage of America’s population than the year before. Increasingly, new residents are moving to the Rocky Mountain region for its scenic beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities. Ironically, their desire to live and play close to nature is presenting new threats to the integrity of western ecosystems. Drs. Knight and Preston, with the help of an array of guest lecturers, will discuss these issues and outline strategies to ensure that the New West avoids repeating the mistakes of overexploitation committed by the Old West. The course will integrate classroom lecture-discussions with field trips to destinations within the Greater Yellowstone region that exemplify various historical and contemporary land use paradigms.
Charles R. Preston is the Founding Curator and Curator-in-Charge of the Draper Museum of Natural History. Prior to his current appointment, he was chairman of the Department of Zoology at the Denver Museum of Natural History and before that, associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He holds or has held adjunct faculty appointments in biology and environmental science at the University of Colorado (Boulder and Denver campuses) and in environmental policy and management at the University of Denver. He has received numerous awards for his teaching, research, curatorial, and public service activities. A zoologist and ecologist, Dr. Preston’s interests focus on ecological and socioeconomic aspects of wildlife conservation and management in and around national parks and other wilderness reserves.
Richard Knight is interested in the ecological effects associated with the conversion of the Old West to the New West. A professor of Wildlife Conservation at Colorado State University, he received his graduate degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin. While at Wisconsin, he was an Aldo Leopold Fellow and conducted his research at Aldo Leopold’s farm, living in “The Shack.” Before becoming an academic, he worked for the Washington Department of Game developing the non-game wildlife program. Presently, he sits on a number of boards including The Society for Conservation Biology, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, and The Natural Resources Law Center. He is an assigning editor for the journal Conservation Biology. Recently he was selected by the Ecological Society of America for the first cohort of Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellows which focus on leadership in the scientific community, communicating with the media, and interacting with the business and corporate sectors.
Session II, Part 2, JUNE 28 - JULY 2, 2004
Reading the Landscape of the American West
Course Description: In this one-week course, a geographer shows how the landscapes of the West can reveal important lessons in cultural and environmental history. Landscapes contain many clues to understanding people’s changing relationship to place. Like detectives, however, we have to learn how to read such clues carefully. Beginning with the natural bedrock geology and vegetation, we next look at the ways that people shape the land. They may transform it through farming, mining, ranching, and urbanization, or they may attempt to preserve or conserve it in a supposedly “pristine” condition. In either event, the resulting landscape reveals much about beliefs, values, and motives. The class uses a variety of techniques - reading essays, interpreting maps, attending class lectures, and participating in field trips into the Big Horn Basin and Yellowstone Park.
Richard Francaviglia is a historian and geographer interested in the way the American landscape has changed through time, and how this change is depicted in maps, literature, and popular culture. Since his first job out of high school at Rand McNally Map Company in San Francisco, Francaviglia focused his academic studies in geography. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Oregon (Cultural/Historical Geography). He currently is professor of history and geography and director of the Center for Greater Southwestern Studies and the History of Cartography at the University of Texas at Arlington. Dr. Francaviglia is president of two professional organizations: the Society for the History of Discoveries and the Association for Arid Lands Studies. His background includes experience as a historical resources consultant, college professor and administrator, and historical museum director. He has authored seven books, the most recent of which is Believing in Place: A Spiritual Geography of the Great Basin (2003).
Credit: Students may earn graduate or undergraduate credit (two semester hours per course) for course participation through the University of Wyoming or graduate credit through Montana State University. If students choose to earn credit through their own universities or colleges, the necessary information will be provided upon request. Continuing education units are also available for Wyoming teachers.
Buffalo Bill Historical Center
720 Sheridan Avenue, Cody, Wyoming 82414
Fax: 307-578-4090 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the website at http://www.bbhc.org
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