Calvin College Courses
The Mellema Program sponsors a variety of courses taught regularly. William Katerberg teaches History 358, an advanced topics course that in the past has focused on comparative frontiers and on the history of violence and power in the American West. Currently, History 358 is being taught as Native American History (Fall 2010; next in Spring 2012). Most years, Katerberg also teaches History 257, a general survey of the American West.
Other departments also have taught courses sponsored by the Mellema Program, which has provided course development grants. In recent years during the May Interim, Gerald Van Kooten and Ralph Stearley have taught “Big Sky Geology: Montana Field Experience,” an off-campus version of Geology 151, “Introduction to Geology.” In addition, Jamie Skillen teaches environmental studies courses that included significant coverage of the American West.
Calvin College’s library now holds one of the largest collections of Western American studies material in Michigan. In addition to recent scholarship on the American West, the library includes a significant amount of work on the Canadian West and North. It also includes runs of major journals that focus on the West, notably the Western History Quarterly, Pacific Historical Review, Journal of the West, and Montana: Magazine of Western History.
The library is also rich in primary sources from the nineteenth century, notably significant portions of material from microfilm collections such as Western Americana, History of the Pacific Northwest, The Plains and Rockies, Travels in the West and Southwest, and History of the Canadian Northwest. Descriptions of this material on microfilm can be found at the library website.
The Mellema Program director’s study of science fiction novels and films set in the American West was published in October 2008 with the University Press of Kansas under the title Future West: Utopia and Apocalypse in Frontier Science Fiction. The book debuted at the Western History Association and American Studies Association conferences in the Fall of 2008.
The history textbook that the director is co-writing with Carol Higham of Davidson College in North Carolina, Conquests & Consequences: The American West from Frontier to Region, in August 2009 by Harlan Davidson Press in Illinois. It will debut at the Fall 2009 meetings of the Western Historical Association.