Women and the Wild West: A Multigenre Dialogue
By Sue Tyburski, TWC Faculty
DURING WINTER QUARTER 2010, 27 students and I embarked on a journey exploring the literary and historical accounts of women as agents of continuity and change in a core course entitled “Women and the Wild West.” This course peeled back the mythic frontier narrative at the core of our national identity, and considered the roles women play within, and without, this central myth. We read historical and fictional narratives of women’s experiences in exploring, settling and living in the American frontier, creating western homes and communities, conforming to and rebelling against stereotypes and social norms, and advocating for social and legal change. We experienced a diverse variety of western women’s voices, and discovered how women of different nationalities and socioeconomic backgrounds negotiated conflicts arising from a clash of values, crossed social and cultural boundaries, and contributed to multicultural western societies.
A cornerstone of the students’ experience in this course was the creation of a multigenre project. Students created three distinct pieces of writing in three different genres, with an introduction/preface and a conclusion/epilogue, organized around a major theme or issue explored in our course. The individual creations were strategically arranged to create a coherent, meaningful whole. The strategic arrangement of these pieces placed them into dialogue with each other. The connections between the pieces and their contributions to an overarching theme, issue or thesis form the dialogic heart of a multigenre work.
We invite you to share our journey through “Women and the Wild West” by exploring these terrific multigenre projects.
Remembering Colorado's First Female Physician: Dr. Justina Ford
By Jodie Cassidy, TWC Student
Women of The Wild West and the Profession of Writing
By Nadine Kerstetter, TWC Student
The San Luis Valley through the Eyes of Mary Librada Chavez Martinez, 1911-2009
By Danielle Martinez, TWC Student