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Withdrawn Module: The American West (AM414)

Please note that this module was available
until 2014, but has since been
withdrawn and is no longer available.


Tutor: Dr. J. E. Smyth

Over a century ago, Frederick Jackson Turner argued that in order to understand American history, one had to study the unique phenomenon of the American frontier. A generation ago, Warren Susman argued that John Ford was potentially America's most influential historian of the twentieth century. This module explores the enduring mythic appeal of western history and its frontier ideology from the historiography of Roosevelt and Limerick to the novels of Cooper, Wister, and Ferber to the films of Ford, Peckinpah, and Eastwood.

This undergraduate final-year Advanced Option module provides the opportunity to study an important area of research in the cultural history of the American West, and is therefore suitable for anyone who wishes to explore the importance of the frontier as a historical and cinematic concept in American history. Although familiarity with the history of American cinema or U.S. political and social history will be useful, students with little prior knowledge of either will adapt easily. There are, in other words, no pre-requisites for this course, but be prepared to supplement the assigned reading with the recommended background reading the need arises.

Term 1

Term 2