Journeys, Detours, Breakdowns
The 2015 Film & History Conference

CFP: Go West!

It seems that someone is always travelling somewhere in the Western. Be it progressive or populist, romantic or realistic, epic or tragic the American errand into the Western’s wilderness transmits sets of assumptions about the American Character and the American Experience. Commenting on the economic, psychological, political, and social fluidities of American life, the Western frontier is itself constantly in flux.

But not all Western journeys that chart the expansion of Manifest Destiny, trace settlement patterns, trail cattle drives and gold rushes, follow Cavalry patrols, track the flight of Native Americans, or pursue outlaws are successful. Detours and breakdowns occur along the way. Some travelers in West do not reach their desired destinations. Others are condemned to ride the range forever.

This area, comprising multiple panels, welcomes proposals on the subject of journeys, detours, and breakdowns in Western film and television. What kinds of men and women travel West? Is one journey more successful than another? How important are the means of travel? Are there significant detours along the way? What causes a journey westward to break down? What kinds of journeys matter to Western audiences? What kinds of journeys matter to Western directors?

Papers and panels may address any topic on travel in the Western.

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

Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are also welcome, but they must include an abstract and contact information, including an e-mail address, for each presenter. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (

Please e-mail your 200-word proposal by 1 June 2015 to the area chair:

Sue Matheson
University College of the North

Movie Posters