CFP: The Western Heroic and Anti-heroic: Wandering Gunfighters,Good
Indians, Helpful Women, Sheriffs, Sidekicks, Superhorses
Join the trail drive to Kansas City for the Film and History
Conference on the West in Film and TV Conference, November 7-10,
2002. We seek contributions that explore the heroic themes in film
and TV depictions of the western mythscape.
Consider submitting a paper on these topics, or invent your own.
1. The Death of the Western Hero: did it really happen, and if so
why? Done in by Vietnam, feminism, multiculturalism, Blazing Saddles,
or had the formula worn itself out in variations?
2. Survival of the Western Hero: the quintessential hero was a
sagebrush savior with an inerrant gun. Did these scourges of evil
simply move to urban settings in the personae of Dirty Harry, Charles
Bronson, Steven Seagal, et. al.
3. Helpful Women?: usually subordinate and tough to persuade about
the need for righteous violence, women usually relented (Molly in The
Virginian) and occasionally helped (Amy in High Noon). Plus an
assortment of school marms, prostitutes and other service workers.
How often did the Western allow women to act heroically in their own
4. Superhorses: Trigger (Roy Rogers), Champion (Gene Autry), Silver
(Lone Ranger) seemed as miraculous in physical performance and
infallible in moral judgment as their owners.
5. Criminals as Heroes: In the bizarre plots of Billy the Kid
Returns(1938; Roy Rogers), the singing cowboy plays a Billy the Kid
who restores justice to Lincoln County; John Wayne's The Shootist
replays the John Wesley Hardin story heroically. How often did
Hollywood restyle the outlaw in this way?
These are just a few possibilities. Deadline for proposals is August
15, 2002. Please respond with an abstract of a proposed topic (250
words or less) and help us build thematically coherent panels.
Publication opportunities will grow out of participation. Our last
conference on American Presidency in Film and TV is producing edited
volumes at Syracuse University Press and the University Press of
For further information on heroic-related panels, contact
758 Spruce Street
Berkeley, CA 94707
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John Cawelti (The Six Gun Mystique, Adventure, Mystery and
Romance),will be a featured speaker. Conference location is the
Kansas City Marriot Country Club Plaza Hotel with significant nearby
For full details on room and registration costs,airline deals, and
rental car rates, see the Film and History site
John S. Lawrence
758 Spruce St.
Berkeley, CA 94707-2041
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Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite