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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Comparative American Studies An International Journal

For a Special Issue on
Reckoning with Western Nostalgia: New Perspectives on American Western History, Entertainment, and Mythology

Abstract deadline
15 January 2022

Manuscript deadline
01 June 2022

Cover image - Comparative American Studies An International Journal

Special Issue Editor(s)

Dr Malcolm Mclaughin, University of East Anglia
[email protected]

Dr John Wills, University of Kent
[email protected]

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Reckoning with Western Nostalgia: New Perspectives on American Western History, Entertainment, and Mythology

For many decades, academic historians of the West have been engaged in a process of investigating, interrogating, and ultimately overturning the hand-me-down mythology surrounding that phase of settler-colonialism once known as “the Frontier”. And yet simultaneously, in our twenty-first century networked world of media and consumption, nostalgia for that idea of the West remains as current as ever. Seemingly endlessly evoked in the cause of entertainment, the themes of the Western narrative genre have returned in new, self-aware (or self-satirizing) forms, but still recognizable of old, in film, television, podcasts, videogames, theme parks, and heritage sites, and have found outlet in political rhetoric and public life.

In this call for papers, CAS is seeking essays that offer surprising new perspectives on nostalgia and the West and thought-provoking commentary on emerging trends in research in this field. Contributions might examine attempts to bring diversity to representations of the West in literature, visual arts, music, or other media, or bring historical perspectives that further extend our understanding of the experiences of indigenous peoples, or settlers within a society cut across by intersecting lines of power, be it race, class, gender, sexuality, or disability, for example. On balance, have attempts by the media industries to update the Western genre for new audiences been successful, and how significant should we judge their reinterpretations to have been? Alternatively, papers might consider how Western nostalgia is shaping American culture today. How far has nostalgia been used rhetorically to assert nativist, populist, or other political identities? In a time of pandemic, culture wars, and climate crisis, how has Western nostalgia provided a source of solace? Can we understand Western nostalgia better in comparative perspective, particularly in light of the experience of other settler-colonial societies. In summary, if you have thoughts to share on changing cultural perspectives on the West and nostalgia, from whatever disciplinary expertise, we would like to hear from you.

Submission Instructions

Please email abstracts, papers and queries to the Guest Editors: Dr Malcolm Mclaughin ([email protected]) and Dr John Wills ([email protected]).

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article