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The Western & American Cultural Values

From the late 19th century to the present the Western has helped define a unique identity for Americans. Values like independence, freedom, fair play, and violence in defense of these values are exemplified in the heroes of western literature and cinema. This class proposes to use westerns from the late 19th century to the present to evaluate what it means to be an American and our place in the world. Students will wrestle with concepts of American power and evaluate if the western was, in fact, a casualty of the Vietnam War as many critics argue. We will begin with Ned Buntline’s popular graphic novels of the late 1800s and end with revisionist Westerns like “Little Big Man” and “The Unforgiven,” and perhaps even global perspectives of Americans as “cowboys.”


F 42


MW 12:00-12:50


Jason Pierce


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