Center of the American West

Program Contact

Kurt Gutjahr

Kurt.Gutjahr@Colorado.EDU

CU Boulder’s Center of the American West was founded in 1986 by Patty Limerick and Colorado Law Professor Charles Wilkinson.

The Center of the American West serves as a forum committed to the civil, respectful, and problem-solving exploration of important and often contentious public issues. In an era of political polarization and contention, the Center strives to bring out “the better angels of our nature” by appealing to our common loyalties and hopes as Westerners.

We believe that an understanding of the historical origins of the West’s problems, an emphasis on the common interests of all parties, and a dose of good humor are essential to constructive public discussion. As part of our mission, we strive to increase awareness and knowledge about a variety of issues we face as Westerners by hosting a diverse array of public events each year. Recent luminaries for our Wallace Steger Award and Humor Initiative include Ken BurnsTimothy Egan, and Senators Alan and Pete Simpson and their wives Ann & Lynn and for our Modern Indian Identity series, Charlotte Roderique.

In our Academic Programs, we sponsor a wide range of opportunities, giving students the chance to venture beyond classrooms and textbooks and to interact with leading scholars, writers, public servants, and faculty members. These opportunities include our Western American Studies Certificate ProgramGrace Kempton Student DinnersInternshipsHoffman ScholarsThompson Awards for Western American Writing, and the Beardsley Family Scholarship.

Recently, the Center of the American West was awarded an $800,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for an Applied History training program tying historical understanding to real-world solutions for modern problems.

The Center of the American West works on a variety of regional issues as diverse as the West itself. They include energy, immigration, public lands, water, wildfire, and much more! We have a library of Resources to help the public navigate the often complicated underlying issues we face.

In addition, the Center has published numerous books, including A Ditch in TimeThe City, the West, and Water, a history of water in Denver, the influential Atlas of the New West, and a series of lively, balanced, and to-the-point reports on compelling Western issues, including The Nation Possessed Hydraulic Fracturing GlossaryGlosario del Fracturamiento HidráulicoWhat Every Westerner Should Know About EnergyCleaning Up Abandoned Hardrock Mines in the WestK-12 Education Resource Sets and What Every Westerner Should Know About Energy Efficiency and Conservation. Our film, The Lover’s Guide to the West, chronicles the past, present, and future of America’s love affair with energy. Limerick and Center staff are currently working on several projects, including a book about the role of the Department of the Interior in the West, based on the “Inside Interior” series of interviews previously hosted by the Center of the American West.  To learn more visit our website.

  • The Party of Practicality: An Innovative and Pragmatic Conversation on Immigration, Part II

    Location

    Online Resource

    Dates

    11/13/2020 - 11/13/2020

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

  • The Party of Practicality: An Innovative and Pragmatic Conversation on Immigration, Part I

    Location

    Online Resource

    Dates

    10/6/2020 - 10/6/2020

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

  • Lunch with Limerick – The Post Office’s Central Role in American Life: An Advocate for 21st Century Voting by Mail and a Historian of the 19th Century U. S. Post Get Acquainted

    Location

    Online Resource

    Dates

    10/2/2020 - 10/2/2020

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

  • Lunch with Limerick – Getting Sick and Getting Well: How Americans Have Understood Disease and Health

    Location

    Online Resource

    Dates

    10/1/2020 - 10/1/2020

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

  • Lunch with Limerick – “Bipartisanship Happens”: How Western Governors Set an Example for the Nation’s Leaders

    Location

    Online Resource

    Dates

    9/25/2020 - 9/25/2020

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

  • Lunch with Limerick – Rescuing a Nation: Advice from a “Turnaround Artist

    Location

    Online Resource

    Dates

    9/18/2020 - 9/18/2020

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

  • Water and Energy in Colorado: Emulsifying Two Great Challenges in Four Parts

    Location

    Online Resource

    Dates

    8/11/2020 - 8/20/2020

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

    Additional Info

    Co sponsored with the Colorado Scientific Society and The Denver Museum of Nature and Science

  • Americaville screening with Adam Smith

    Location

    On Campus

    Muenzinger Psychology and Neuroscience

    Dates

    3/12/2020 - 3/12/2020

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

    Additional Info

    Co sponsored with Center for Asian Studies

  • Why are we stuck on dealing with climate change and how do we get ‘unstuck’?

    Location

    On Campus

    Center for Academic Success & Engagement (CASE)

    Dates

    2/6/2020 - 2/6/2020

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

  • Shoebox Stories Live: UndocuAmerica Series

    Location

    In Colorado

    Boulder

    Dates

    1/15/2020 - 1/15/2020

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    Yes

    Additional Info

    Dairy Center in partnership with Motus Theater

  • Bipartisanship (and friendship) happen! An evening with Congressman Bob Beauprez and Senator Mark Udall

    Location

    On Campus

    University Memorial Center (UMC)

    Dates

    12/10/2019 - 12/10/2019

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

    Additional Info

    Program held in the Glenn Miller Ballroom in the UMC.

  • Rescuing the West and the Nation: How Thinking Like a Historian Can Save Us From Ourselves

    Location

    On Campus

    Eaton Humanities

    Dates

    11/15/2019 - 11/15/2020

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

  • Immigrant Workers, Roads, and Nation Building: Legacies of the Transcontinental Railroad on its 150th Anniversary

    Location

    On Campus

    Norlin Library

    Dates

    10/30/2019 - 10/30/2020

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

    Additional Info

    Program held in the British Studies Room in Norlin

  • Redemption and Reconciliation: The West in Words and Images

    Location

    On Campus

    Visual Arts Complex

    Dates

    10/15/2019 - 10/15/2020

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

  • Special Stegner Award & Humor Initiative event with Sheriff Dave Ward

    Location

    On Campus

    Old Main

    Dates

    10/3/2019 - 10/3/2020

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

  • A Commemoration honoring the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Publication of Vine Deloria, Jr.’s, Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto

    Location

    On Campus

    Wolf Law

    Dates

    9/13/2019 - 9/13/2020

    Public or Private

    Public Program (open to the public)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

Sponsoring Units

  • College of Arts & Sciences

  • Center of the American West

Audiences Served

  • Adult Learners
  • Alumni/Parents/Friends
  • Families
  • General Public
  • Government
  • Media
  • Minority Group(s)
  • Non-Profit Organization
  • Rural Communities
  • Senior Citizens
  • Socio-Economic Disadvantaged
  • Teachers - High School
  • Urban Communities
  • Tribal Communities (in U.S.)
  • Indigenous Populations (International)