Course Description

In 1804, thirty-four explorers departed St. Louis, MO, in an effort to determine the best route via water between the east and west coasts of North America, and to cement the allegiance of and build relations with the Native American tribes living along the route. During this voyage of diplomacy and discovery, Lewis and Clark’s Corps visited lands that were unknown to Euro-Americans, and provided the first scientific descriptions of these places and the people, plants and animals that inhabited them. During this course you will learn about one of the most iconic parts of the Lewis and Clark Expedition – Montana. Using the country viewed by Lewis and Clark as a catalyst we will combine the disciplines of geology, geography, creative writing, fine arts, history, and anthropology to examine how landscapes can be understood and expressed. This course culminates with a two-week trip following the route of the Corps of Discovery through Montana to put into practice the skills that you have learned during the semester.

Reading List

The Journals of Lewis and Clark - ed. DeVoto
Fool's Crow- James Welch and selected Blackfeet mythology
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis- Timothy Egan
Making Certain It Goes On: The Collected Poems of Richard Hugo - Richard Hugo
Ninemile Wolves - Rick Bass
The Roadside Geology of Montana
Digging Dinosaurs - Jack Horner
A selection of primary scientific literature relating to a number of the visited localities.

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Analyze, interpret, and evaluate primary works and objects within their interdisciplinary, cultural, and historical contexts
  2. Construct connections across disciplines through a demonstration of writing proficiency in the form of personal essays, poetry, and short fiction, and fine arts in the form of photography, sketches, and sculpture
  3. Compare modes of thought and expressions about the landscape, inhabitants of the land, and land use across a range of historical periods using anthropology, history, geology, creative writing and the fine arts
  4. Describe a landscape using techniques specific to geologic space-time, geographic readings, sensory perception, and literary devices.