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In recent years, scholars have worked to reexamine the history of the West by focusing on Native American groups. With limited sources, they have pieced together histories that do not generalize the experiences of Native Americans, and that accurately portray the complicated interactions that occurred in the West.
A new curriculum resource from the Choices Program, Westward Expansion: A New History looks at this reexamined history from two historical perspectives. First, students explore U.S. expansion from a broad perspective by considering the major events and policies that accompanied U.S. westward growth in the nineteenth century. Then students explore this history on a local level using the research of Brown University Professor Karl Jacoby on the effects of U.S. expansion on groups in southern Arizona. This case study is not emblematic of the entire West; rather, it allows students to understand the complicated and violent ways in which U.S. expansion affected specific individuals and communities. Students are challenged to consider the ways in which we remember history, and efforts to re-envision the past.
Choices recently produced videos of Colin Calloway of Dartmouth College and Karl Jacoby of Brown University for use with these materials.