English 160 - Spring, 2013

Film as Narrative

Class Information

Instructor: Simmon, Scott
CRN: 62587
Time: MW 2:10-5:00
Location: 1309 Surge 3


    Film as Narrative: “The Western and the Modern West”

    This quarter, we’ll explore narrative through the West on film--both traditional Westerns and tales of the contemporary American West. (Of the full-length films screened, most are set in the twentieth or twenty-first centuries.) We will look into the Western’s way of narrating through landscape and coded gestures, into Hollywood's genre crossbreeding, and into experimental narratives from independent and international filmmakers. Demanding study too will be the Western’s heavy cultural baggage: its revealing representations of violence, race, and gender. Movies are our central subject, but we will also read an historical overview and several works of fiction that redeploys the genre’s conventions for new ends. (The six class hours each week will include one full-length screening and a number of excerpted sequences.)


    Two midterm quizzes, 15% each; critical papers, 40%, final, 30%


    All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy
    Frontiers: A Short History of the American West, Robert V. Hine & John Mack Faragher
    The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Sherman Alexie
    Little Big Man, Thomas Berger
    The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt
    West of Everything: The Inner Life of Westerns, Jane Tompkins