Original article can be found at Montana State University News
Originally published on October 15, 2015 By Jody Sanford
Patricia Limerick, an award-winning author, teacher and researcher who is considered to be one of the leading historians about the American West, will speak at 6 p.m. Oct. 16 as the third lecturer in the Montana State University College of Letters and Science’s Western Lands and Peoples: Perspectives on the American West Lecture Series. Photo courtesy of MSU College of Letters and Science. Photo by
BOZEMAN — Patricia Limerick, an award-winning author, teacher and researcher who is considered to be one of the leading historians about the American West, will speak at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, in the Hager Auditorium at the Museum of the Rockies. Limerick is the third lecturer in the Montana State University College of Letters and Science’s Western Lands and Peoples: Perspectives on the American West Lecture Series.
Limerick will lecture on “The Significance of the Bureaucrat in Western American History: Hair-Raising Tales from the Department of the Interior.” Her lecture is free and open to the public.
Limerick is faculty director and chair of the board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado. She is also a recipient of a MacArthur Genius Award. Her best-known work, “The Legacy of Conquest,” presented an overview and reinterpretation of Western American history that stirred up a great deal of both academic and public debate. Her most recent book, “A Ditch in Time: The City, the West, and Water,” published in 2012, provides a history of water in Denver.
In 1986, Limerick and CU law professor Charles Wilkinson founded the Center of the American West. Under her leadership, the center has served as a forum committed to the civil, respectful, problem-solving exploration of important, often contentious, public issues. Limerick and center staff are currently working on a book about the role of the Department of Interior in the West, based on the “Inside Interior” series of interviews hosted by the center between 2004 and 2006.
Limerick says that contrary to the stereotype of the boring bureaucrat, the stories of the men and women who have worked for the agencies of the Department of the Interior carry intrinsic interest and give rise to thought-provoking interpretations of and insights into the West’s past and present. In her lecture Limerick will use case studies—drawn particularly from the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Park Service—to make the case for directing more attention to the roles of federal clerks, surveyors, engineers, superintendents, agents, rangers, teachers, inspectors and scientists in shaping the region.
Limerick’s lecture will be preceded by a reception at 5:15 p.m. in the lobby of the Museum of the Rockies. A book signing will be held after the lecture where a selection of Limerick’s books will be available for purchase.
The American West lecture series features experts from around the country discussing the history, literature and culture of the West; issues affecting the wildlife and fisheries of the region; and the West’s geography, geology and resources.
The Western Lands and Peoples: Perspectives on the American West Lecture Series is cosponsored by the Burton K. Wheeler Center and is part of the college’s Western Lands and Peoples Initiative, a collection of programs and events highlighting interdisciplinary research within the College of Letters and Science that is focused on the places and peoples of the Western United States and Canada. For more information about the series, go to: http://www.montana.edu/lettersandscience/west/.