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Charles Jackson Lecture Explores American West Before Lewis and Clark

KNOXVILLE—A distinguished historian will explore changes in the American West prior to Lewis and Clark’s famous 1804 expedition during a talk Monday, Oct. 3, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The UT Department of History will host Elliott West for a lecture titled “The West Before Lewis and Clark: Three Lives.” West is the Alumni Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Arkansas. His address is part of the annual Charles O. Jackson Memorial Lecture Series.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 5 p.m. in Room 103 of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, 1640 Cumberland Ave.

Many people are not aware of the tumultuous changes that had been shaping the West for more than a century before Lewis and Clark’s expedition in 1804. West’s talk will examine those changes through the lives of three ordinary people—a French teenager who became an accomplice to murder, a Native American woman who visited Paris during the reign of Louis XV, and a Spanish woman whose odyssey began when she was captured by Comanches at the age of 20.

West specializes in the history of the American West, environmental history and the history of American Indians. He is the author of eight books, including the award-winning “The Contested Plains: Indians, Goldseekers and the Rush to Colorado” and “The Last Indian War: The Nez Perce Story.”

West’s accolades include recognition as the University of Arkansas teacher of the year. In 2009, he was one of three finalists for the Robert Foster Cherry Award for outstanding classroom teacher in the nation.

The Charles O. Jackson Memorial Lecture Series honors the career of the late scholar of American culture and society, whose wide-ranging works explored American ideas about death and sexual deviance, food and drug legislation, and the social and military history of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Jackson was a member of UT’s history department from 1969 to 1997.

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