The Other Western
This issue of Transformations seeks submissions from scholars in film and related fields concerning the 'other' Western. The 'other' Western is the possibilities implied by the Western itself, and how these possibilities might lead in other directions, other pathways. From its beginnings in the silent era, the film Western has always been at the forefront of innovations in cinematography, mise-en-scene, film style and the development of techniques of narration and characterisation. For Jim Kitses, the genre of the Western is
a vital structure through which flow a myriad of themes and concepts. As such the genre can provide filmmakers with a range of possible connections and the space in which to experiment, to shape and define the kinds of effects and meanings they are working towards. (Kitses, Horizons West, New Edition, 2004, p. 10)
The classical Western has been at the centre of the mythologizing of the American project: the taming and conquering of the frontier and the justification of the colonial will against indigenous peoples. The violence of Westerns poses questions concerning the right of land ownership in laws and principles embodied in certain character types and events, reaching into broader issues of politics and identity, and the paradoxes of freedom, individuality and the destiny of peoples beginning to emerge in modern, industrializing new world formations. In this issue we are looking for readings that challenge, re-appraise and subvert this classical position, either by examining the classical Western itself – its hidden contours, narrative aporias and excessive mise-en-scene for instance – or by looking at other ways in which the Western genre and formats have been, and continue to be used in different cultures and social terrains.
Some possible focal points include:
Modifications to the Western as a hybrid form;
The Western as a global or world cinema phenomenon;
New media experimentation with the Western format;
Silent era Westerns and questions of the archive;
Historical re-readings of the Western: its meanings, themes and cinematic innovation;
The politics of the Western: challenging founding myths and stories;
Race and the Western: revisions;
A re-appraisal of the feminine in the Western;
The Western mise-en-scene: counter-images;
The Western writes back: responses to the Western from the margins;
New readings of violence in the Western.
We are seeking abstracts of no more than 500 words in the first instance, setting out the focus, general argument and conceptual terrain, as well as the films, television, new media or other textualisations of the Western you will be addressing.
Abstracts due: 1 June, 2013
Authors Notified: 15 June 2013
Papers due: 15 September 2013
Please send abstracts and any other correspondence to either Grayson Cooke or Warwick Mules at the following email addresses:
For submission guidelines and to view Transformations online go to: