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Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities


Donald Benson Memorial Lecture Fund for Literature, Science, and the Arts

presents


The West Before Lewis and Clark: Three Lives



This annual lecture fund honors Donald Benson, a former ISU English professor, who had a long-term interest in the relationships among the three intellectual disciplines of literature, science and the arts.


Elliott West will present two public presentations, an informal workshop in the morning and an evening lecture. See below for details.

Elliot West, Distinguished Professor, Alumni Distinguished Professor, History - American West, American Indian
Iowa State President Steven Leath
Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
7:00 pm
The Gallery, Memorial Union

Opening remarks:
ISU President Steven Leath

Lecture: Too often standard histories of the American West begin with the journey of Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery in 1804-06. In fact, those famous explorers were entering the West during a time of vibrant change. For well more than a century the western story had been one of global exchanges, economic dynamism, and the jockeying of great powers, both Indian and European. My talk will enter this turbulent history, from the 1680s to the time of Lewis and Clark's departure up the Missouri River, through the stories of three individuals:a French teenaged boy, a Missouria Indian woman and a young New Mexican mother whose odyssey through five cultures began with her capture by Comanches. Their stories include shipwrecks, a murder and a massacre, Indians hunting rabbits with the king of France, and woodpeckers carrying messages to the stars. They are vivid reminders that the history of the American West is older, richer and even more interesting than most of us realize.


Writing the American West: History, Environment, and People
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
10:00 - 11:30 am

*9:15 am Coffee and light refreshments*
Ensminger Room, Kildee Hall

Prof. Elliott West will lead an informal workshop as part of the Donald Benson Memorial Lecture Fund for Literature, Science, and the Arts about his process and books. Afterward, he will have a question-and-answer period about his methodology.


Biography: Elliott West received his B.A. from the University of Texas (1967) and his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado (1971). He joined the University of Arkansas faculty in 1979. Two of his books, Growing Up With the Country: Childhood on the Far-Western Frontier (1989) and The Way to the West: Essays on the Central Plains (1995) received the Western Heritage Award. The Contested Plains: Indians, Goldseekers, and the Rush to Colorado (1998) received five awards including the Francis Parkman Prize and PEN Center Award. His most recent book is The Last Indian War: The Nez Perce Story (2009).

In 1995, West was awarded the Univ. of Arkansas Teacher of the Year and the Carnegie Foundations Arkansas Professor of the Year. In 2001 he received the Baum Faculty Teaching Award, and in 2009 he was one of three finalists for the Robert Foster Cherry Award recognizing the outstanding teacher in the nation. For more information on Elliot West, please visit his faculty page.