full name / name of organization:
Scott F. Stoddart, Dean of Liberal Arts Fashion Institute of Technology / SUNY
Submissions are sought for a collection of essays titled The 9 / 11 Western: Re-Purposing the Hollywood Genre.
It is well known in scholarly circles that the American Western of the Hollywood studio era underwent a transformation in the 1960s. Trapped in the studio style of John Ford, Howard Hawks and Henry Hathaway, the Western reflected the grand patriotism in its heyday from the 1930s through the 1950s and proved ripe for revision in the turbulent 1960s. Directors like Sam Peckinpah, and George Roy Hill – and to an extent, John Schlesinger and Dennis Hopper -- retooled the genre and used the Western to directly comment on America’s involvement in Vietnam and the culture clash taking place on American campuses in response to the conflict. In that instance, the Western appeared to serve as a cultural barometer where fresh commentary regarding American patriotism and ethical responsibility could play out.
Between the mid-1970s and turn of the new century, the Western slid from the collective conscience of the American movie-going public. A few directors would try their hand at returning the genre in its former glory, for example Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves (1990); however, the genre was revisited merely for comedic purposes, in films such as Blazing Saddles (Brooks 1974) and the City Slicker films (1991; 1994). The genre seemed a part of the Hollywood past, re-freshened for a moment and rendered obsolete.
However, since the tragedy of 9/11, the Western has made a remarkable come-back, finding a real purpose blending its original, patriotic purpose with its redefinition as a critical commentary on America’s place in the global community.
I am seeking essays of 20 – 30 pages in length that address the new relevance of what I call “The 9/11 Western.” Essays can be readings of single films, or they can be more comprehensive discussions of how this new breed of Western captures the dichotomy of our times.
Some of the films and issues might include:
• The mythology of the West and its ability to reflect American ideas and political agendas;
• Comparative readings of classic Hollywood Westerns with 9/11 Westerns;
• The new place for women in the Western, evidenced in Open Range (Costner 2003), The Missing (Howard 2003), the Coen’s True Grit (2010);
• The remaking of classic films with contemporary spins, such as 3:10 to Yuma (Mangold 2007) and True Grit (Coen 2010);
• A renewed sense of sadistic violence in this new wave, such as in No Country for Old Men (Coen 2007)
• The revisiting of the place of the outlaw, as in The Assassination of Jesse James (Dominik 2007);
• The space created for the homosexual and its impact on the myth of the West, as in Brokeback Mountain (Lee 2005) and 3:10 to Yuma (Mangold, 2007).
1- 2 abstracts for proposed essays should be sent with a brief biographical sketch by 1 April 2011. Completed essays will be due by 1 November 2011. Please send inquiries and/or completed abstracts to:
Scott F. Stoddart, Dean
School of Liberal Arts, FIT/SUNY
New York, NY 10001
Dr. Scott F. Stoddart is the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts at the Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY. Prior to this, he was the Provost at Manhattanville College and an Associate Professor of Liberal Arts at Nova Southeastern University, where he instructed courses in American literature, cinema studies, and musical theatre history. He has published on the fiction of Henry James, E. M. Forster, and F. Scott Fitzgerald; the musical plays of Stephen Sondheim; and the films of the Coen Brothers, Jane Campion, Jack Clayton, John Ford, Oliver Stone and Martin Scorsese. He has also published on the image of the president in Hollywood film and television. His latest book, Analyzing Mad Men: Critical Essays on the Series (McFarland), is due out this spring. His first book, The 1980s: American Popular Culture through History is available through Greenwood Press. He continues work on his “Queer Eye” for a “Straight Dick”: the Queer Villains of Film Noir. And on another essay collection: Regal Reels: Hollywood’s Fascination with Royalty.