West, Carroll Van 1955–
West, Carroll Van 1955–
Born January 29, 1955, in Murfreesboro, TN; son of W.C. (a laborer) and Sara (a teacher) West; married Mary S. Hoffschwelle (a professor), November 29, 1980; children: Owen William, Sara Elizabeth. Ethnicity: "White." Education: Middle Tennessee State University, B.A., 1977; University of Tennessee, M.A., 1978; College of William and Mary, Ph.D., 1982. Politics: "Democrat." Religion: Baptist. Hobbies and other interests: Travel, sports, photography, music.
Home—Murfreesboro, TN. Office—Center for Historical Preservation, Middle Tennessee State University, P.O. Box 80, Murfreesboro, TN 37132. E-mail—[email protected]
Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, professor, 1985—, director of Center for Historical Preservation, 2002—. Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, director, 2002—; conference participant; consultant to Western Heritage Center.
American Association of State and Local History, National Trust for Historic Preservation, American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, American Studies Association, Alliance of National Heritage Areas, Western Historical Association, Southern Historical Association, Tennessee Historical Society, Montana Historical Society, Vernacular Architecture Forum.
Associate fellow, Center for Great Plains Studies, 1994; American Association of State and Local History, certificate of commendation, 1996, award of merit, 1999; Tennessee History Book Award, 1999; recognition from National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2007.
A Traveler's Companion to Montana History, Montana Historical Society Press (Helena, MT), 1986.
Tennessee Agriculture: A Century Farms Perspective, Tennessee Department of Agriculture (Nashville, TN), 1987.
Images of Billings: A Photographic History, Western Heritage Press (Billings, MT), 1990.
Capitalism on the Frontier: The Transformation of Billings and the Yellowstone Valley in the Nineteenth Century, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 1993.
Tennessee's Historic Landscapes, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1995.
(Editor in chief) Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, Tennessee Historical Society (Nashville, TN), 1998.
(Editor) Tennessee History: The Land, the People, and the Culture, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1998.
Tennessee's New Deal Landscape, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 2000.
(Editor) Trial and Triumph: Essays in Tennessee's African American History, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 2002.
(Editor) A History of the Arts in Tennessee: Creating Traditions, Expanding Horizons, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 2004.
Contributor to books. Contributor to periodicals. Senior editor, Tennessee Historical Quarterly, 1993—.
Carroll Van West once told CA: "I want to explore, document, and interpret the transformation of rural American culture and history since the industrial age, and to convey those events through different media and publications. So, in my Montana work, I have written three books on that theme, one being a statewide study of historical landscapes (with little on the ‘cities’ of Montana) that came out of a 3,000-plus photographic survey of the state in 1984-85. The other two Montana books focus on Billings and the Yellowstone Valley, with the brief photographic history aimed at a broad audience while Capitalism on the Frontier: The Transformation of Billings and the Yellowstone Valley in the Nineteenth Century is an analytical model for exploring rural transformation and its impact on the peoples of a given region.
"As editor of the Tennessee Historical Quarterly I have tried to shape new directions in scholarship in addition to my own efforts. Throughout this work, themes of diversity, race, place, change, faith, and continuity are important."
Later West added: "Capitalism on the Frontier, in its blending of place and peoples, has informed all of my southern work, especially the more recent focus on my native state of Tennessee. I have had the opportunity of crafting narratives for different audiences from travelers and architectural devotees to college classrooms to reference users and the reading public. Each book is different, but they all share the broad goal of opening up the state's history, both in the topics addressed and in the questions that are asked. Tennessee's Historic Landscapes is clearly modeled after the earlier Montana effort, but it better integrates architecture, material culture, and history. My plan is now to update and expand that volume due to the fieldwork of the years from 1995 to 2005, when new significant trends in the landscape of the state emerged from my many field projects, especially the Rural African American Church Survey for the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University. The strong sense of place gained from the landscapes study, however, clearly influenced the design and content of the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, both the print version of 1998 and an online edition of 2003, as well as Tennessee's New Deal Landscape, a rather fun exploration of how the federal government reengineered the state and its people for the modern era. The encyclopedia was also part of a deliberate strategy of developing new interpretive tools and reference works for the totality of Tennessee history. The editing anthologies of Tennessee History: The Land, the People, and the Culture and Trial and Triumph: Essays in Tennessee's African American History were also parts of that strategy of placing better texts in the hand of teachers, students, and the reading public who engage with state history. The capstone of this effort was the collaborative production of A History of the Arts in Tennessee: Creating Traditions, Expanding Horizons, which is a first-of-its-kind in the literature of Tennessee history and culture.
"A second related, yet different, interest is beginning to shape my work—the impact of mass culture in twentieth-century America. This interest has not yielded any book-length manuscripts, but I have been exploring related questions through various field projects and through a few conference papers and published chapters and articles on such varied topics as Appalachian architecture, Rocky Mountains architecture, northern plains irrigation, and the civil rights movement."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Business History Review, summer, 1993, Richard S. Kirkendall, review of Capitalism on the Frontier: The Transformation of Billings and the Yellowstone Valley in the Nineteenth Century, p. 313.