Western Area: Film & History 2018 Conference

deadline for submissions: 
July 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Film & History
contact email: 

On the Western’s frontier, citizens and sociopaths abound—lawmen and outlaws, gamblers and gunmen, cavalry wives and soiled doves, the Indian chiefs and buffalo scouts.  How do these figures—materially or metaphorically—shape the creation, delivery and reception of the American West in film? The "good" citizen in a Western may seem easy to define, but when do some portrayals of citizenship succeed, inspiring audiences, while others backfire?  When might the actions of sociopaths be laudable?


This area, comprised of multiple panels, welcomes papers on the subject of “citizenship and sociopathy” about all aspects of the Western’s polis. How do ethics of compassion, truth-telling and honesty contribute to a Greater Good and build a new society in the Wild West? When is the America’s social ideal disguised in Western’s narrative, and when is it advertised? Why does citizenship fail and when does it succeed on the frontier—as an image, a means, or a principle—and for whom?


Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:


Community Service Frontier-style (Warlock, They Call Me Trinity, The Magnificent Seven, Silverado, Pale Rider, Sukiyaki Western Django)


Social Conscience in the West (Drums along the Mohawk, Shane, Hondo, Hud, Old Shatterhand, McLintock!, City Slickers, The Lone Ranger, Bonanza, Zorro, Big Valley, Little House on the Prairie)


Saddle Pals and Sociopaths (Three Bad Men, Vera Cruz, Ride The High Country, El Dorado, Death Rides A Horse, Duck You Sucker!, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Midnight Cowboy, Westworld)


More Sagebrush Sociopathy (Red River, Outlaw Queen, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, A Fistful of Dollars, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, True Grit, The Hateful Eight)


The Good, The Bad…and Ethical Behavior (The Searchers, The Good The Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon A Time in the West, The Wild Bunch, Unforgiven, Call of Juarez)


Frontier Vigilantes and Bounty Hunters (Stagecoach, Two Rode Together, Hang ‘Em High, The Outlaw Josie Wales, Pale Rider, True Grit; Wanted Dead or Alive)  


Frontier Women and The Greater Good (Annie Get Your Gun, Calamity Jane, Cat Ballou, The Belle Starr Story, Deadwood, Angel and the Badman, Jane Got A Gun; Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman)    


The Perils of Civic Duty (My Darling Clementine, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Support Your Local Sheriff, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Tombstone)


Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are also welcome. They must include an abstract and contact information, including an e-mail address, for each presenter.


Please e-mail your 200-word proposal by July 1, 2018 to:


Sue Matheson

University College of the North
smatheson @ucn.ca


Film & History (www.film&history.org) is pleased to announce a special event at this year's conference:

Opening Plenary Panel

As a special event at this year’s conference we will be running an opening
plenary panel on the afternoon of the first day of the conference.

We are pleased to announce that the panel members will include:

   * Robert Rosenstone (History on Film/Film on History,
http://rosenstone.com/) (via video)

   * Robert Burgoyne (The Hollywood Historical Film)

   * Alison Landsberg (Prosthetic Memory: The Transformation of American
Remembrance in the Age of Mass Culture

   * Kim Nelson (http://thekimnelson.com/)

   * Mia E. M. Treacey (Reframing the Past: history, film & television,

The panel will be a discussion based on the theme: What is the future of
screened history? Shaping citizenship and sociopaths via the past.