Join us for a Doctoral Seminar by
Stefan “Steve” Rabitsch
(University of Graz/University of Warsaw)

Chewing on Big Rock Candy Mountain: Reading and understanding the “real” American West in two essays

Thursday, June 24
at 4:00 p.m.


This is an online event. To attend, click the button below or enter into your browser, and join the meeting.

Before the meeting, please get familiar with the two essays by Wallace Stegner. You can access them here.


The Trans-Mississippi West has served as an iconic topos for the United States as a whole in the (popular) imagination of countless people, at home as well as abroad. In its excessively mythologized and romanticized permutations, the American West is a place of potent symbols, memorable characters, and little to no ambiguity. Engaging in close reading and discussion of two essays written by Wallace Stegner, one of the foremost scholars, writers, and thinkers of the region, we will excavate and “chew on” the West’s many complexities, historical, contemporary, and imaginary alike.

The participants are expected to read two short essays by Wallace Stegner (linked above), which will be discussed during the seminar.

The seminar is also open to interested M.A. students.


Stefan “Steve” Rabitsch currently serves a visiting professor in American Studies (ZIP Programme) with the American Studies Center at the University of Warsaw and is an affiliated postdoctoral scholar with the Center for Inter-American Studies at the University of Graz. A self-declared “Academic Trekkie,” he is the author of Star Trek and the British Age of Sail (McFarland 2019), co-editor of Set Phasers to Teach! Star Trek in Research and Teaching (Springer 2018), and co-editor of the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of Star Trek. His professorial thesis project, i.e., his second book—“A Cowboy Needs A Hat”: A Cultural History of Cowboy Hats—not only received the 2019 Fulbright Visiting Scholar Grant in American Studies, which allowed him to work at the Center for the Study of the American West (West Texas A&M University), and the 2020/21 Henry Belin du Pont fellowship by the Hagley Museum and Library, but it has also been awarded a book contract from the University of Oklahoma Press.

This event is funded by the The University’s Integrated Development Programme (ZIP).