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Lewis And Clark Bicentennial Will Inspire U.Va. Educational Projects On The American West

February 13, 2001-- The Lewis and Clark expedition into the uncharted American West, a momentous journey that has captured the national imagination for almost two centuries now, will lead the University of Virginia into innovative educational territory during the next several years.

As the U.S. prepares to mark the bicentennial of the great expedition launched by Thomas Jefferson in 1804, the University will use Lewis and Clark as a jumping-off point for a multitude of broad-scale programs focusing on the West, President John T. Casteen III announced. They include:

    • an intensive faculty colloquium in the coming academic year bringing together leading U.Va. scholars from many fields to examine how expansion into the West has transformed the nation
    • a team-taught, interdisciplinary undergraduate course on the West, beginning in 2002, that will likely remain a permanent part of the curriculum
    • an authoritative Web site with key research documents about the early history of the West
    • one or more major public conferences on the West; videotaped lectures, and teaching-units for public schools.

A premiere highlight will be the inaugural lectures of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series next fall, with three noted scholars discussing Lewis and Clark and the early West..(See related announcement.)

"We hope that Mr. Jefferson's University can serve as one of the country's main academic centers for the Lewis and Clark bicentennial," Casteen said. "This anniversary presents a significant opportunity for teaching and learning. It will allow us to use our scholarly resources to shed light on all aspects of what the American West has meant to an expanding nation in the last 200 years."

U.Va.'s Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Project will bring together resources from centers, departments and schools throughout the University. An advisory committee includes Environmental Sciences chair James N. Galloway; History chair Michael F. Holt; American Studies Program director Alan B. Howard, and History professor and Jefferson scholar Peter S. Onuf. Project director Jenry Morsman, a doctoral candidate in American history, has been meeting with faculty from many fields since last summer to plan and coordinate the programs.

A key element will be the year-long interdisciplinary faculty colloquium in the 2001-02 academic year that will take as its subject the acquisition and development of the West and the transformation of America in the two centuries since Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out from St. Louis for the mouth of the Columbia River in 1804. Some 20 top scholars in the humanities, sciences and social sciences will meet throughout the year to lay the intellectual foundation for a far-reaching effort aimed at the scholarly community, students and the public.

The sessions will provide scholars with unusual opportunities to consider a common theme from a range of disciplines, Morsman said. The work also will lay the groundwork for the interdisciplinary introductory-level course beginning in the fall of 2002. Lectures will be videotaped for public use. Several upper-level courses on the West also will likely be offered.

In the spring of 2004, when the country marks the bicentennial of the two Virginia-born explorers' setting forth, the University will host a major international conference on the West, the transformed nation, and the environment. Papers presented will be published as a collection. Also in the planning stages is a series of public talks, "The Literary West," to be held in 2003-04.

Project Coordinating Committee

Peter Onuf, History, project chair

Michael Holt, History

Alan Howard, English, American Studies

James Galloway, Environmental Sciences

Jenry Morsman, History, project director

Other Participating Scholars

Edward Ayers, History

Brian Balogh, History

Marva Barnett, French, Teaching Resource Center

Jack Brown, Engineering/Technology, Culture & Communication

Bernard Carlson, History, Engineering/TCC

Sarah Corse, Sociology

Janet Herman, Environmental Sciences

Earl Mark, Architecture

Maurie McInnis, Art

Frank Papovich, English

Ed Russell, Engineering/TCC

Henry Shugart, Environmental Sciences

Vivian Thomson, Environmental Sciences, Government

Carl Trindle, Chemistry, Brown College

Jennings Wagoner, Education

Henry Wilbur, Biology, Environmental Sciences

Contact: Bob Brickhouse, (804) 924-6856

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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