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Lewis And Clark And The American West: University Of Virginia Resources

December 3, 2002-- A thousand miles east of the Mississippi River, the University of Virginia has a special interest in the American West and the Lewis and Clark Expedition that changed the region’s fate. Both leaders of the great transcontinental journey were Virginians and Thomas Jefferson, chief architect of the westward exploration, also founded U.Va. As the 200th anniversary commemoration of the expedition unfolds in coming months, beginning Jan. 18 in Charlottesville, numerous scholars and special programs at U.Va. are contributing to public understanding about the nation’s expansion to the West.

Following are several U.Va. authorities on aspects of the West who can offer expertise for news or feature stories:

JEFFERSON AND THE EXPEDITION’S BACKGROUND
Peter S. Onuf, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor of History, (434) 924-6383 A leading scholar of Jefferson and his era, Onuf is the author of “Jefferson’s Empire: the Language of American Nationhood.” He has helped direct a year-long interdisciplinary faculty seminar on the American West and many related Lewis and Clark projects.

ENVIRONMENTAL AND CULTURAL HISTORY OF THE WEST
Douglas Seefeldt, Woodrow Wilson postdoctoral fellow in the humanities and director of U.Va.’s Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Project, (434) 243-7707
Seefeldt co-teaches a central course, “American Wests,” about the many ways the West must be seen to understand it. He also teaches “Media and the Mythic West” and works with students on numerous projects about Lewis and Clark and public memory of the expedition.

NATIVE AMERICAN ENCOUNTERS WITH EUROPEANS
Jeffrey Hantman, associate professor of anthropology and archaeology, (434) 924-3953 Hantman co-teaches “American Wests” with Onuf and Seefeldt and is an authority on the early relations between Europeans and native peoples, both in Jefferson’s Virginia and the West.

THE LITERARY WEST
Frank Papovich, assistant dean of Arts and Sciences, (434) 924-3350 A Western literature expert, Papovich motorcycled the entire Lewis and Clark route with his son and also visited and photographed numerous sites associated with later writers about the West. He has created a Web archive on western literary sites and will teach a course on “The Literary Legacy of Lewis and Clark.”

THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE
Olivier Zunz, professor of history, (434) 924-6390
With Onuf, Zunz is organizing “The Louisiana Purchase in French-American Perspective,” an international conference to mark the 2003 bicentennial of America’s purchase of vast western territory from France. The conference is scheduled to convene in Paris in June and in Charlottesville in October. It will showcase important new scholarship from both countries on the history of France in America and on the expansion of the new nation into formerly French territory.

EARLY VIEWS OF NATURE AND GEOGRAPHY
Mike Furlough, director of the U.Va. Library’s Geospatioal and Statistical Data Center, (434) 924-3169 and Earl Mark, director of computer technologies in the Architecture School, (434) 924-6438

With Seefeldt, they are developing a digital-history project devoted to understanding the naturaal world and landscape that Lewis, Clark and Jefferson knew before the expedition. “Encountering the West: the Changing Vision of Lewis, Clark and Jefferson” will shed light on how early views of nature and geography were severely challenged by what the expedition encountered in the West.

U.VA.’S LEWIS AND CLARK BICENTENNIAL PROJECT
For links to many other U.Va. and national resources on Lewis and Clark, see the U.Va. Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Project Web site at http://www.vcdh.virginia.edu/lewisandclark/

Contact: Bob Brickhouse, (434) 924-6856

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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Last Modified: Tuesday, 03-Dec-2002 16:47:15 EST
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