This is a call for papers for the Westerns panel at the Midwest Popular Culture Association Conference (Cincinnati, OH, October 3-5, 2008). Despite some assertions to the contrary, the Western continues to be a viable genre through which to explore contemporary and historical issues on a range of topics. The influence of the frontier and its key narratives continues to resonate in popular culture and politics. Considered as a foundational myth or not, it certainly speaks to what has been constructed as “American” in the discourses central to defining the major tropes surrounding the United States. That being said, I am interested in papers dealing with any aspect of the Western, the history of the West, or the frontier in popular culture and politics. Papers examining the more recent incarnations of the genre, such as Deadwood, 3:10 to Yuma, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and Seraphim Falls would be appreciated, but studies of classic films, such as The Searchers or High Noon are also encouraged. Also, essays in historical analysis of the frontier or some aspect of it would be valued. Additionally, papers that attempt to look at contemporary events or cultural anxieties using a Western as a frame of reference are desirable.
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