Montana State University

MSU College of Letters and Science sets fall lecture series about North American West

August 25, 2015

A Sept. 16 lecture by William Wyckoff, MSU geography professor, will kick off “Western Lands and Peoples: Perspectives on the American West,” a six-lecture series sponsored by the MSU College of Letters and Science. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham

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Tel: (406) 994-4571

Prominent thinkers and writers about the American West’s history, literature, ecological studies and geography will speak at Montana State University during the College of Letters and Science’s “Western Lands and Peoples: Perspectives on the American West” lecture series scheduled throughout the fall semester.

Patricia Limerick, considered to be one of the leading historians about the American West, will be one of the lecturers in the series, which will examine the history, literature and culture of the West, ecological studies of issues affecting the wildlife and fisheries of the region and studies on the West's geography, geology and resources. Limerick will speak Oct. 16 about bureaucracy in Western American history.

W. Richard West, president and CEO of the Autry National Center and founding director of the National Museum of the American Indian, will conclude the series when he speaks Dec. 3.

All lectures in the series will be held at 6 p.m. in the Hager Auditorium at the Museum of the Rockies, and are free and open to the public. The lectures include:

Sept. 16: William Wyckoff, professor of geography at MSU, “Place and Peoples: Creating a Field Guide to the Contemporary American West.”

Oct. 1:  David Gessner, professor of creative writing, University of North Carolina Wilmington, “Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner and the Future of the American West.”

Oct. 16: Patricia Limerick, faculty director and chair of the board, Center of the American West, University of Colorado, “The Significance of the Bureaucrat in Western American History: Hair-Raising Tales from the Department of the Interior.”

Oct. 29:  David Battitsi, professor of atmospheric sciences and Tamaki Endowed Chair, University of Washington, “Climate of the West: Past, Present and Future.”

Nov. 12: Ray Rasker, executive director, Headwaters Economics, Bozeman, “The American West in the Global Economy.”

Dec. 3: W. Richard West, president and CEO, Autry National Center, Los Angeles.

The lecture series is cosponsored by the Burton K. Wheeler Center and is part of the college’s Western Lands and Peoples Initiative, a series of programs and events highlighting interdisciplinary research within the College of Letters and Science that is focused on the places and peoples of the Western United States and Canada.

For a full schedule and more information, go to: or call 994-4288.

Jody Sanford (406) 994-7791,