Home on the Range


Fall 2015 and Winter 2016 quarters

Taught by

geography, political ecology

This environmental studies program will focus on the intersection of historical settlement of the American West, especially the Great Basin, women's roles and work associated with settlement, patterns of settlement on the landscape, and public land policies that created the geographical patterns of settlement. The program will trace the spaces of settlement to the current land ownership and land use patterns of the contemporary American western environment. Conditions of effective settlement will be considered from women's perspectives, including food acquisition and processing, family relations and childrearing, home furnishings and materials, and community relationships.

During the fall quarter, students will read texts and engage in discussions about the realities of life in 19th-century western locations. Our goal is to demystify and de-romanticize the period and places of habitation. Student skill building and capacity to read landscapes as products of human-land relationships will be developed during the fall. A lengthy field trip into the Great Basin, with extended stays in historical locations, will generate a sense of knowing about 19th-century life and landscapes.

During the winter quarter, work on campus will focus on land-use policies, natural environments, and social needs that created the 20th-century landscape. The program will conclude with an analysis of contemporary environmental issues and community needs as a result of historical human-land relationships. Environmental studies skill building will include map reading, use of historical documents, identification and uses of native plants, door-yard gardening, food preservation, home implement tool building, and communication and negotiation skills. Field observations and note-taking will be developed in the fall quarter. Winter quarter skill building will include qualitative research methods, mapping and GIS skills, and writing for personal and public audiences. As part of community building and landscape documentation, the program will include folk music of the American West. No previous musical skills are required. This program will support student interests in geography of the American West, historical development of environmental policies in the West, natural history and field studies, and women's studies.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

natural resource management, rural community studies, environmental history, home economics, geography, teaching and education.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

No Required Online Learning: No access to web tools required. Any web tools provided are optional for students.

Required Fees

$700 in fall for an extended overnight field trip.


Date Revision
March 16th, 2015 Martha Henderson will teach Geography of the Polar Regions fall quarter and Territorial Expansion: American West and Russia East in winter quarter.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Fall); 16 (Winter)

Class standing: Sophomore–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 25


Signature Required

This program includes an extended (four week) trip away from campus; students need to have previous experience with over-night field trips in an academic setting.  Contact the faculty for more information.

Course Reference Number not yet available.


Accepting New Students

Course Reference Number not yet available.

Need Help Finding the Right Program?

Contact Academic Advising for help in answering your questions, planning your future and solving problems.