American Studies 224 - The Neo-Western

The Neo-Western

Robert Hayashi

M/W | 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM

Amherst College
Chapin Hall Room 210

From the advertising copy and backdrop of truck ads to the democratic rhetoric of politicians, the West as a place of national mythology still permeates American culture. In this course, we will analyze the evolution of the West as a prominent site of American myth and the contemporary representations of it in literature and film, the Neo-Westerns. Students will read works by authors such as Annie Proulx, Cormac McCarthy, Sherman Alexi, and Percival Everett, as well as view recent popular films by Ang Lee, Clint Eastwood, and John Sayles. The course will also include readings in history, as well as other disciplines, to contextualize the creative works and to gauge how the myth of the West compares to its reality and how truly revisionist its most current representations are.

Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Hayashi.

How to handle overenrollment: Preference will be given to American Studies majors.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Writing and collaborating are central practices and goals in this course. Students will write regularly--during class sessions, reflecting on discussions and course materials, composing short essays and a final cumulative essay. Students will engage in class discussions and collaborate in small groups.

Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.