Welcome to the course site for HSTR 467: History of Mountaineering, a Spring 2016 seminar at Montana State University.
This semester, our geographical focus will be on the so-called Greater Ranges – the high ranges of Asia that contain all of the world’s peaks higher than 7,000 meters – although we will be taking some academic excursions to other parts of the world, as well. We will take a three pronged approach to the history of mountaineering: first, we’ll look at the origins of modern mountaineering, the “basic” history of mountaineering in the Greater Ranges, and the historiography of mountaineering. Next, we’ll consider the ways in which mountaineering has been represented in popular culture, and how that reflects on the historiography. From the inspirational accounts of the early and mid-20th century to the “disaster porn” narratives like Into Thin Air, how has mountaineering been represented – and how have mountaineers represented themselves – at various periods? Finally, we’ll think about the ways in which these spaces, such as Tibet, Pakistan, India, and China have been represented and imagined by foreigners, as seen through the history and historiography of mountaineering. Along the way, we will consider how mountains and mountaineering relate to many issues – gender, imperialism, and race, among otheres – through reading, looking at, and watching a wide variety of materials, from serious academic monographs to popular accounts of first ascents and traumatic disasters.
For inquiries regarding the course or this site, please contact Dr. Maggie Greene (margaret.greene1 [at] montana [dot] edu)