Distinguished Lecturers
Elliott West

Elliott West

Elliott West, Alumni Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Arkansas, is a specialist in the social and environmental history of the American West. He has twice been chosen as his university’s teacher of the year and, in 2009, he was one of three finalists for the Robert Foster Cherry Prize for the outstanding classroom teacher in the nation. He has written several books, including The Way to the West: Essays on the Central Plains (1995); The Contested Plains: Indians, Goldseekers and the Rush to Colorado (1998), winner of the Francis Parkman Prize and the OAH Ray Allen Billington Prize; and, most recently, The Last Indian War: The Nez Perce Story (2009).

OAH Lectures by Elliott West

The bison, or buffalo, is our official national mammal, and for good reason. We have been fascinated and drawn to it for centuries, and we have made of it an evolving symbol for who we are as a people and as an American nation. In this talk I will use images of the bison, from the earliest European contact nearly five hundred years ago to such modern settings as Ralph Lauren on his Colorado “ranch,” to follow how we have imagined this iconic figure of the American West and what our imaginings can tell us about ourselves.


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