Home Page for HIST 431/631

HIST 431/631
The North American Plains

This is the home page for Dr. Tom Isern's course in the history of the Great Plains of North America, taught at North Dakota State University. Students, this website is essential to your progress in the course. Everyone else, feel free to look around.

Note: the course DOES NOT use Blackboard. It does, however, use Facebook as a medium of instruction, and so you need to have a Facebook account.

The course follows an unusual format, meeting in the evening once weekly (Monday), with each class session incorporating several distinct instructional modes, from old-fashioned lecture to informal and interactive. The course serves History majors as well as general-education students, and community members wishing to audit for personal enrichment are encouraged to come on in, too.

Administration & Assignments Lectures & Readings People & Connections
How Things Work

Scholastic Honesty
Electronic Devices in Class
Attendance & Participation

Assignments: Options

Film Reviews
Primary Documents

Fieldwork Options*

Fall Suppers
Old-Time Threshing Shows
Coffee Klatches
Livestock Sale Barns
Service Learning (Zeeland Expedition)

*If there is no link for an assignment listed above, that means the assignment is not an option this semester; choose another.

Graduate Students

Graduate Students see Prof. Isern for graduate requirements

Class Lectures
Welcome to My World

1. The Question Mark in the Circle (scholarly interpretations)

2. The Wild Land (the Great Plains environment)

3. The Great American Desert (exploration)

4. Born Upon the Prairie (Plains Indians)

5. That Pike County Rose (transportation)

6. Ways and Habits of the West (ranching)

7. The Farmer Is the Man (agriculture)

8. Tool Pusher from Snyder (mineral industries)

9. Wir Sehen Uns Nimmer Mehr (immigration & ethnicity)

10. Fire on the Ice (political culture)

11. It Looked So Awful Black (Dust Bowl)

12. The Continuity of Progress (community)

Core Texts

The Great Plains
A fundamental text, by Walter P. Webb

Columns of Vengeance
A new history of the Dakota War

Thinking about the Great Plains
New text (under development, download)

Who's in charge?

Professor Tom Isern

Facebook Pages & Groups

Resource Links

Bibliography of the North American Plains
Timeglider Timeline of the North American Plains
Institute for Regional Studies & University Archives
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
Center for Heritage Renewal
Plains Folk Home Page


Center for Heritage Renewal Photostream
German-Russian Country Photostream
Plains Folk Photostream

Heritage Video
Plains Folk Video

Bulletin description:The course treats the history of the Great Plains of North America as an international region, comprising the Canadian prairies and the American plains.
Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities:Any students with disabilities who need accommodations in this course are encouraged to speak with Professor Isern as soon as possible to make appropriate arrangements.
General Education:Meets requirements for Humanities and Cultural Diversity
Acknowledgments:This course was made international--that is, the Canadian aspect was introduced and made co-equal with the American--with the assistance of a grant from the Faculty Enrichment Programme, Embassy of Canada. Because of that support, this is the only college course in the world that treats the history of the Great Plains of North America as a continental, bi-national region.

Isern Home Page - NDSU History Department