The Mythological Legacy of the American West:
An Hour-Long Lecture With Songs
Bobby Bridger's epic trilogy A Ballad of the West was the inspiration for a course offered to incoming Freshman students at the University of Texas/Austin from 2001-2005. Designed by Dr.'s Richard and Patricia Richardson and Bridger, the course, Manifest Destiny and Environment: Fur Trade To Globalization, was part of the landmark Connexus: Connections in Undergraduate Studies Program at UT/Austin. Based on the classic seminar concept of fifteen students, the "Connexus Program" was launched in the late 1990s by the University of Texas as an antidote to the often-overwhelming hundred-student lecture classes incoming Freshman students normally encounter. Moreover, intending to introduce students to diverse perspectives, the "Connexus" classes were structured to be inner-disciplinary in order to present multiple academic approaches to a subject.
After the "Manifest Destiny and Environment" course at the University of Texas ended in Autumn 2005, Bridger created an hour-long lecture with an emphasis on the Native American and Euro-American mythology springing from the Trans-Missouri region of North America. The lecture features four songs from A Ballad of the West that illustrate particular historical/mythological events from both a Native American and Euro-American perspective. The lecture also links the mythology and history of the American west of the 19th century to those of the 20th and 21st centuries.