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Adaptation and Adapting the West, April 20-23 San Antonio, TX, Proposal Deadline: December 15, 2010
full name / name of organization:
The Adaptation Section of the 2011 National Popular Culture & American Culture Associations Conference
Adapting the West
As always, papers on any and all aspects of adaptation will be considered, but since we are meeting in San Antonio this year we are particularly interested in adaptations centered on the American West. The American movie industry, by a strange coincidence, was born just as Fredrick Jackson Turner declared the U.S. frontier closed. The first practical movie cameras were created around 1890, and the first practical projectors didn’t arrive on the scene until around 1895. Films about the West quickly learned to speak the language of myth in their portrayals of cowboys and Indians, heroes and badmen, good women and bad ones, and Western characters and situations were quickly identified as “types” by moviemakers. Because of its supposed emptiness and purity, the West was seen as a place where human stories could play themselves out in a “natural” way. Every story was thus, potentially, not just the story of an individual, but the story of a people. This mythic approach many movie makers, critics, and viewers took to the West meant that characters and situations were often drawn with the broad strokes usually reserved for Greek myth. Details for some writers and film makers were unimportant in the face of the character’s mythic proportions.
We consider “adaptation” a way of looking at texts more than a particular brand of texts. Thus we welcome papers on video game adaptations, new media adaptations, literature to literature adaptations, and radio adaptations along with film adaptations. Papers on any and all aspects of adaptation (not just the West) will be considered.