Program Description

Restorying the American West

The term "restorying" is one used by contemporary authors of works on our relationship with nature and the landscape such as Gary Nabhan and Barry Lopez. Western fiction and nonfiction authors and poets can be thought of as engaged in a vast collective project to reconnect us to the land, and each other, by means of story - reconnect, restory, because indigenous peoples were so connected, and many still are. This new movement attends closely to myths that undergird Western history, the reality of our current predicaments, and shifts in thought and action which lead toward inhabitation of place. The purpose of this program is to participate in this project.

Many kinds of stories have to be attempted for the truest to emerge. The faculty bring stories from literature, natural history, and community studies, and all are interested in and use the work of the other areas in their own work. This interdisciplinary approach will be the model for student work. The program is for those who have done intermediate study in least one area - environmental, cultural, or political studies, history, literature, or composition - and wish to do more advanced work taking personal, natural, and social life as an interconnected whole.

The program will involve intensive reading, research, and writing, and training in methods of observation, documentation and interpretation. Readings will include works by imaginative writers, naturalists ethnographers, historians, and social thinkers. In fall quarter we will develop a framework for understanding Western experience. Winter and spring, students will undertake in-depth individual and group research projects. Throughout the year we will learn about current issues and portrayals of land and communities locally, regionally, and across the West.

  • Credit will be awarded in literature community and cultural studies, environmental studies, and history.
  • Total: 48 credits
  • This program is preparatory for careers and further study in the humanities, environmental studies, and social sciences

Return to main page