Deadline Approaching!

Hi everyone! The 50th Anniversary WLA conference is quickly approaching, as is the deadline to register! Head to: Registration deadline is Tuesday 15 September, after which late fees will apply.
As you may know, we are also happy to offer extremely low room rates ($59/$99 plus tax) thanks to Harrah’s Reno, our conference hotel. We expect record attendance this year, and our room block is large but limited, so if you haven’t already done so, please go to… and book your room at the conference rate, which is available through Sunday
13 September. By doing so, you will qualify for a waiver of the hotel’s $10/day resort fee, complimentary wireless internet, free health club access, a 20% discount at the hotel’s many restaurants and cafes, and a $5 Starbucks credit. (Note that a one night’s deposit is necessary to book.)

CFP: Clint Eastwood’s Films


For a third collection of essays on the films of Clint Eastwood.

Please submit a 1 page proposal as soon as possible, but no later than September 15 to  or

Len Engel, CAS—1, Quinnipiac University &

Matt Wanat, University of Ohio

15 page papers due Jan 15, 2016.  Preference will be given to proposals that deal with Eastwood’s films

not covered in the previous collections and his films appearing since 2012.  Please see below the Table of Contents for the two previous collections.

(If you intend to send a proposal, please send a short note, within the next day  or two, indicating that.)

Clint Eastwood, Actor and Director:  New Perspectives (2007)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1–“Feminism and the Limits of Genre in Fistful of Dollars and The Outlaw Josey Wales” Brett Westbrook, St. Edward’s University, Austin, Texas

Chapter 2–“A Fistful of Anarchy: Clint Eastwood’s Character in Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy and in His Four ‘Own’ Westerns Beyond” David Cremean, Black Hills University, Spearfish, South Dakota.

Chapter 3 —“Irony as Absolution” Matt Wanat, Mayville State Universtiy, North Dakota.

Chapter 4—“’One hang, we all hang’: High Plains Drifter” Richard Hutson, University of California, Berkeley

Chapter 5—“Mocking Success in Every Which Way But Loose” Leger Grindon, Middlebury College, Vermont,

Chapter 6—“Subverting Shane:  Ambiguities in Eastwood’s Politics in Fistful of Dollars,High Plains Drifter, and Pale Rider” Stephen McVeigh, University of Wales Swansea.

Chapter 7—-“’All on Accounta Pullin’ a Trigger’:  Violence, the Media, and the Historical Contextualization of Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven” Brad Klypchak, Lon Morris College, Jacksonville, Texas.

Chapter 8—The Machinery of Violence:  Clint Eastwood talks about Unforgiven” John C. Tibbetts, University of Kansas, Lawrence.

Chapter 9—“Clint Eastwood’s Western Films and the Evolving Mythic Hero” Fred Erisman, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth.

Chapter 10—“Narrative Pacing and the Eye of the Other in The Bridges of Madison County” Raymond Foery, Quinnipiac University.

Chapter 11—-“The Old Man and the C: Masculinity and Age in the Recent Films of Clint Eastwood” Walter Metz, Montana State University, Bozeman.

Chapter 12—“Mystical Moral Miasma in Mystic River” Dennis Rothermel, California State University, Chico.

Chapter 13—“Million Dollar Baby:  The Deep Heart’s Core” John M.Gourlie, Quinnipiac


Foreward, “Why do we turn to Eastwood now?” Drucilla Cornell

One, “Landscape as Moral Destiny:’ Mythic Reinvention from Rowdy Yates to the Stranger,” Robert Smart

Two, “Thoroughly Modern Eastwood: Male/Female Power Relations in The Beguiled and Play Misty for Me,” Brett Westbrook

Three, “Clintus and Siegelini: ‘We’ve got a system. Not much, but we’re fond of it,'” Mike Smrtic and Matt Wanat

Four, “Rawhide to Pale Rider: The Maturation of Clint Eastwood,” Edward Rielly

Five, “Eastwood’s Treatment of the Life of Creativity and Performance in Bronco Billy, Honkytonk Man, White Hunter Black Heart, and Bird,” Dennis Rothermel

Six, “’You Can’t Hunt Alone’: White Hunter Black Heart,”  Richard Hutson

Seven, “The End of History and America First: How the 1990s Revitalized Clint Eastwood,” Craig Rinne

Eight, “A Man of Notoriously Vicious and Intemperate Disposition”: Western Noir and the Tenderfoot’s Revenge in Unforgiven,” Stanley Orr

Nine, “A Good Vintage or Damaged Goods?: Clint Eastwood and Aging in Hollywood Film,” Philippa Gates

Ten, “Space, Pace, and Southern Gentility in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” Brad Klypchak

Eleven, “Mystic River as a Tragic Action,” Robert Merrill and John L. Simons

Twelve, “Lies of Our Fathers: Mythology and Artifice in Eastwood’s Cinema,” William Beard

Thirteen, “Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima: The Silence of Heroes and the Voice of History,” John M. Gourlie

Fourteen, “Gran Torino: Showdown in Detroit, Shrimp Cowboys, and A New Mythology,” John M. Gourlie and Leonard Engel

Fifteen, “Invictus: The Master Craftsman as Hagiographer,” Raymond Foery

Sixteen, “Hereafter: Dreaming beyond Our Philosophies,” John M. Gourlie

Seventeen, “Citizen Hoover: Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar,” Richard Hutson and Kathleen Moran

Western American Literature (Spring 2015)

WAL 50.1 is now available on Project MUSE


“A Chaotic and Dark Vitalism: A Case Study of Cormac McCarthy’s Psychopaths amid a Geology of Immorals”

Sean Braune

“Social Space and the Suburb in Mike Cahill’s King of California: Mapping Race, Neoliberalism, and Narratives of the Past in the Southern California Landscape”

Emily Cheng

“New Frontiers for Post-Western Cinema: Frozen River, Sin Nombre, Winter’s Bone

Jesus Angel Gonzalez

Book Reviews

Michael K. Johnson, Hoo-Doo Cowboys and Bronze Buckaroos: Conceptions of the African American West.

Bryant Keith Alexander

Stephen Miller and Jose Pablo Villalobos, eds., Rolando Hinojosa’s Klair City Death Trip Series:

A Retrospective, New Directions.

Martin Camps

Brandon D. Shuler, Robert Johnson, and Erika Garza-Johnson, eds., New Border Voices: An Anthology.

Cristina Herrera

Claudine Chalmers, Chronicling the West for Harper’s: Coast to Coast with Frenzeny & Tavernier in 1873–1874.

Jessica Dallow

Stephen J. Mexal, Reading for Liberalism: The Overland Monthly and the Writing of the Modern American West.

Nicolas S. Witschi

Linda Scarangella McNenly, Native Performers in Wild West Shows: From Buffalo Bill to Euro Disney.

Arnold Krupat

Wendy Harding, The Myth of Emptiness and the New American Literature of Place.

  1. Alan Weltzien

Bernard Mergen, At Pyramid Lake.

Jeffrey Chisum

Ken Lamberton, Dry River: Stories of Life, Death, and Redemption on the Santa Cruz.

Hal Crimmel

Andrew Gulliford, ed., Outdoors in the Southwest: An Adventure Anthology.

Linda Helstern

Julia Corbett, Seven Summers: A Naturalist Homesteads in the Modern West.

Jeffrey Mathes McCarthy

Saul Sanchez, Rows of Memory: Journeys of a Migrant Sugar-Beet Worker.

Luis H. Moreno

Joshua Doleẑal, Down from the Mountaintop: From Belief to Belonging.

Gregory L. Morris

Tyra A. Olstad, Zen of the Plains: Experiencing Wild Western Places.

Francis Moul

Iver Arnegard, Whip and Spur.

Laura Rebecca Payne

Special Funding Opportunity for Graduate Students

Your 2015 WLA co-presidents want you to be aware of a special funding opportunity for graduate students in honor of this year’s 50th anniversary. We also want to remind you of the annual awards given to graduate students by the Association. Whether you are teaching in a graduate program or are a graduate student yourself, we hope you will share this information with others as the June 15th deadline for conference proposals approaches.

1) The new 50-Year Young Scholar Fund comes from a challenge posed by past and future WLA President Susan Maher. In response, members of the Association donated funds so that graduate student attending the conference will be awarded a reduced registration rate. (The precise amount will depend on the number of graduate students participating.) Along with the very low hotel rates at Harrah’s Reno, the Young Scholar Fund awards will offset the high costs associated with conference travel.

In addition to receiving this blanket award, graduate students are eligible to apply for several merit-based awards:

2) The J. Golden Taylor Award is given for the best essay submitted to the WLA conference by a graduate student. For further details see: This year, the award will be $200, in grateful recognition of Joyce Kinkead and Dorys Grover (see below).

3) The Dorys Grover Awards: In 1966 Washington State University graduate student Dorys Grover joined the fledgling Western Literature Association and started attending its conferences. From her books on WLA’s first Distinguished Achievement Award recipient Vardis Fisher to her work on Hemingway and Graves, Professor Grover helped to develop the field of western American literary studies. One of her doctoral students, Joyce Kinkead, Professor of English at Utah State University, has created the Dorys Grover Award in recognition of her mentor’s dedication to both western American literature and to graduate students. Now in its second year, the Dorys Grover Award, in the amount of $200 each, will be given to two graduate students presenting at this year’s 50th annual conference whose papers contribute to our critical understandings of region, place, and space in western American literatures.

Graduate students are welcome to apply for the above two awards once they have been accepted to present at the conference.

4) The Louis Owens Travel Award honors the late Choctaw-Cherokee writer, scholar, and WLA member. For further details, see:

As the Western Literature Association enters its second half-century, we are pleased to offer these opportunities to those who will direct the future of our organization and conduct the scholarship that makes WLA possible.

See you in Reno!

Susan Bernardin and David Fenimore

Frontier and Borders in American Literature (ALA Symposium)

American Literature Association

Symposium on

Frontiers and Borders in American Literature

San Antonio, TX

February 25-27, 2016

Keynote Speakers:
Lee Clark Mitchell, Princeton University

Eric Carl Link, Indiana University Purdue University, Fort Wayne

LocationSheraton Gunter Hotel
205 E. Houston Street
San Antonio, TX 78205

Hotel rate: $ 163 per night for single or double

Conference Director:
Steven Frye, California State University, Bakersfield.

Proposals are welcome on a range of topics related to varied conceptions of the frontier and American borderlands, including but not limited to nineteenth and twentieth-century narratives of the frontier, Western literature, the literature of nature and the environment, the literature of cultural contact, and science fiction. We welcome proposals for individual papers, complete panels, and roundtable discussions on any aspect of this important subject.

Send one page proposals or abstracts to Professor Steven Frye at
by October 1, 2015.

Conference Details:  The American Literature Association will return to San Antonio for a symposium on Frontiers and Borders in American Literature, February 25-27, 2016. Please plan to stay in the conference hotel as this helps us meet our commitment to the hotel and keeps our rates low.  The Sheraton Gunter is an historic hotel only a block from the famous Riverwalk and close to the Alamo in this wonderful city.

Sessions run Friday and Saturday, February 26-27, 2016. There will be an opening event and welcoming reception on Thursday evening; details will be announced a bit later. In addition to the receptions Friday and Saturday evenings, a full lunch will be served Friday and Saturday. Our emphasis on the receptions and meals reflects a belief that some of the most productive scholarly conversations happen in congenial social settings.

Individuals may propose papers or panels by emailing the conference director, Professor Steven Frye ( no later than October 1, 2015. The proposal should include the title of the presentation or panel, an abstract that provides a clear idea of the material that will be covered, a brief vita or description of the presenter’s qualifications and email addresses for all participants. The proposal should be both pasted into an email and sent as an attachment (preferably in WORD). All emails will be acknowledged in a timely manner.

The conference director welcomes proposals for roundtables and panels that deal with the development of important genres, literary movements, themes, and issues related to the symposium topic.

Please note that no audiovisual equipment will be available for the symposium.

Those proposing papers and/or panels will be informed of acceptances in mid-October.  Participants will be asked to make their hotel reservations immediately and to pre-register on-line.  A program will be placed on the ALA website prior to our meeting, and printed programs will be available at the symposium.

ALA Guidelines: The most common ALA format is a time slot of one hour and twenty minutes with three papers and a chair. This permits time for discussion and three papers of approximately 20 minutes (or nine typed double-spaced pages). Organizers of panels are free to use other formats provided they respect the time limits. Furthermore, the ALA encourages panel organizers to experiment with innovative formats including discussion groups and panels featuring more speakers and briefer papers. Chairs will make sure that the panels start and end on time and that no speaker goes beyond the allotted time limit.  We prefer that chairs not present papers on the panels that they are moderating, and no one may present more than one paper at an ALA symposium.

The conference fee covers the costs of the conference including two meals and two receptions. We encourage all of those who are on the program to pre-register. The conference fee is $150 for all participants.  We regret that we are unable to offer a lower rate for graduate students and independent scholars.

ALA Membership: Membership in the ALA is not required in order to propose or present a paper.  In fact, technically the members of the American Literature Association are the various author societies.  Individuals may keep informed about the activities of the ALA, including our symposia and conferences, by checking our website (

Please note that the American Literature Association maintains the lowest conference fees of any major scholarly organization because it operates without a paid staff. If you have any questions that are not answered by this announcement, please contact the conference director at or Alfred Bendixen, Executive Director of the ALA, at

WLA in 2015 Conference

We are happy to see conference paper and panel proposals beginning to stream in for the Western Literature Association’s 50th annual meeting, 14-17 October 2015 in Reno, Nevada.

The proposal deadline is 15 June 2015 (click for link to CFP).

In response to several queries, your co-presidents want to explain the “ConfTool” management system and our reason for once again adopting this software package that some members have viewed as an unnecessarily cumbersome change to the old system of emailing abstracts. (It may be worth remembering that, 20 years ago, requiring email submissions was also viewed as an imposition!)

We, along with several past presidents and their teams, believe ConfTool to be a worthwhile bargain. It trades off a few extra minutes of each member’s time to create an account and fill in a few fields in exchange for saving conference organizers untold and unwelcome hours reformatting and even retyping submissions that are sometimes incomplete or inconsistent, and consolidating them into a draft program with many subsequent revisions. It automates the persistent problem of reconciling conference registration and WLA membership status with proposals. In sum, it distributes these minor administrative tasks among the membership, to free the organizers for the more substantial jobs associated with conference preparation.

  • For preformed panels, the system requires each panelist to submit an individual proposal, keyed to the panel title. So, for example, if an organizer creates a panel, say, “Animals and Asterisks: Decentering Biohegemonic Transubstantialities” each of the panelists have to submit (after creating an account) their own individual contribution (by clicking “Preformed Panel”) with the title of the panel and then the title of their individual contribution preceded by the panel title, for example, “Animals and Asterisks: Decentering Biohegemonic Transubstantialities” / “Where is the Senator for the Salmon? Gary Snyder’s Pescopolitics”
  • If the panelist does not have a separate title for an individual contribution, she or he can just enter “Animals and Asterisks: Decentering Biohegemonic Transubstantialities” / Panelist [or, if appropriate, “Moderator” or “Organizer”]
  • While this feature of ConfTool has perhaps generated the most critical attention, it ensures that all panelists are on board with the proposal and that we can quickly and efficiently communicate with them regarding schedule changes, A-V needs, and the like.
  • So, we encourage you to log into ConfTool at and submit your proposals. It’s going to be a great time in Reno, the “Biggest Little City” of the Intermountain West!

    Questions? Contact us at

    Susan Bernardin and David Fenimore

So, we encourage you to log into ConfTool at and submit your proposals. It’s going to be a great time in Reno, the “Biggest Little City” of the Intermountain West!

“American Sniper” as Western


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