Undead in the West

Seems appropriate for Halloween weekend:

Call for Papers:   Undead in the West

PCA/ACA National Conference

March 31-April 3, 2010

St. Louis, Missouri

Deadline: December 1, 2009

Co-presenters are being sought for a panel on the “Undead in the West,” as part of the Westerns and the West area at the PCAs.

The frontier has long been framed as a landscape of life and death, but few scholarly works have ventured into the realm where the two become one, to explore portrayals of the Undead in the West – the zombies, vampires, mummies, and others that have lumbered, crept, shambled, and swooped into the western from other genres.  This sub-genre, while largely a post-1990 phenomenon, traces it roots to much deeper hybrid traditions of Westerns and horror or science fiction, and yet, shows ties to the recent A-Western renaissance.  What happens when traditional frontier figures, settings, symbols, and ideologies encounter these characters that defy the laws of nature?  How are western archetypes subverted or accentuated when confronted by the undead?  How do zombies, vampires, and the like, affect our understandings and interpretations of the West, and vice-versa?   Might these hybrid westerns function as the new anti-western, or do the undead facilitate a return to tradition?

Other possible issues include, bur are not limited to:

— Do vampires and zombies map on to traditional Western “bad guys,” such as Indians, Mexicans, and outlaws?  Have zombies become a “safe” substitute for Indians as aliens have for foreign soldiers in stories of war and invasion?

— How do the conventions of the Western intersect with the conventions of the Undead movie . . . Do the movies play with either set of conventions for dramatic effect (James Woods’ character Jack Crow as a vampire-hunting version of Clint Eastwood’s amoral Western avengers) or comic relief (the zombie sheriff and prostitute in Deadwalkers)?  .

— Do undead Westerns consciously use the Undead elements of the plot to comment on the nature of traditional Western heroes and villains?

These questions and more may be asked of films of the Old West, or the new, such as Bubba Ho-tep (2002), when a Stetson-wearing mummy menaces a nursing home in the East Texas backwater; From Dusk ‘til Dawn (1996),  when vampires prey on unsuspecting patrons of a Mexican bar; It Came From the West (2007), the puppet zombie western from Denmark; or Purgatory (1999), where the frontier town of Refuge serves as liminal space between heaven and hell;  and numerous other tales of the Undead in the West.

Papers presented in “Undead in the West” at the PCAs may also be considered for a larger post-conference project.

Please send your 250-350- word abstract to both co-organizers, Cindy Miller (cymiller@tiac.net) and Bow Van Riper (bvanriper@bellsouth.net).  Deadline for submissions is December 1, 2009.


CFP: Transnational Native American Studies

Charting Transnational Native American Studies: Aesthetics, Politics, Identity

Yanoula Athanassakis / Journal of Transnational American Studies
contact email: jtas.special.forum@gmail.com

Charting Transnational Native American Studies: Aesthetics, Politics, Identity
Extended Deadline: December 15

Guest-edited by Philip J. Deloria, Hsinya Huang, John Gamber, and Laura Furlan

In the context of an increasingly transnational globe, the master narratives of time and place have been open to various rethinkings. In hemispheric American indigenous cultures, central coordinates for the construction of individual and collective identity have emerged around spatial notions of homeland, territory, migrancy, diaspora, and removal. Equally critical have been complex understandings of layered, recurrent, multidimensional, and sacred time. These ways of thinking space and time have originated from multiple contexts, including tribal, cross-tribal, hemispheric and global exchange. They demonstrate multiple and longstanding forms of both tribal-national and transnational orientation. At the same time, methodological borderlines between inquiries into cultural impact, identity and politics, on the one hand, and analyses of literary, aesthetic and stylistic qualities, on the other, are also being redrawn, diversifying and complicating a discussion concerning the current place of Native Studies at large. These conversations are themselves explicitly transnational in nature—though perhaps not always visible in that form. This forum seeks to present work in transnational Native American studies and investigate the transnational dimensions of the field itself.

Nationalistic approaches, which have come to the fore in a number of areas of Native American studies, have clear pragmatic importance for American Indian people and nations. Intellectually productive as well, such approaches nonetheless run the risk of oversimplifying complex tribal identities, erasing broad networks of interaction and community, and smoothing indigenous histories that have always included transnational elements. How might we think about the relation between nation and sovereignty, and how do we consider those concepts in relation to “post-sovereignty” arguments that position them within a colonizing Western frame? What are the critical genealogies of indigenous nationhood? More important, what does it mean to put such questions in a transnational frame—not only in terms of the global flow of people, ideas, and capital, but also in relation to the political and aesthetic situations defined by particular tribal nations? In what ways have indigenous conceptions of nationhood—and the movements between nations—challenged and complicated European and other colonial understandings of the nation? What kinds of advantages and disadvantages inhere in comparative global approaches to indigeneity, particularly in relation to tribal and national narratives that have been central to much of American Indian studies? How do indigenous American artistic expressions establish, reshape, challenge, and/or complement the formation of communities and collective cultural and literary entities? How, in these processes, do longstanding notions of homeland and nation interact with new modes of community formation and literary expression, drawn across spatial and temporal borderlines?

This special forum seeks to address some of the issues surrounding place and mobility, aesthetics and politics, identity and community, and the tribal and the global indigenous, all of which have emerged in the larger frameworks of transnational American Studies. We wish to contextualize Native American literatures and histories not only across national boundaries but also across the disciplines of literary and cultural studies. The editors of Journal of Transnational American Studies thus invite contributions that explore the consequences of transnationalism for Native American Studies, American Studies, and for the field of literary and cultural criticism in general.

Submission Guidelines

Please submit manuscripts electronically at http://repositories.cdlib.org/acgcc/jtas and indicate Special Forum when prompted for “Type of Submission.”

Submissions should not exceed 10,000 words, including endnotes, and are accepted on a rolling basis. Please follow the Chicago Manual of Style and include an abstract (not to exceed 250 words) and keywords. Submission guidelines and the style guide for JTAS can be found on our website at http://repositories.cdlib.org/acgcc/jtas.

Authors retain copyright for all content published in The Journal of Transnational American Studies (JTAS). However, authors grant to the journal the right to make available such content, in any format, in perpetuity. Authors may reproduce, in other contexts, content to which they possess the copyright, although in any subsequent publications JTAS should be acknowledged as the original publisher.


Recommended Readings

More new and recommended readings in Western American literature, fiction, criticism, etc.


Unexpected Places: Relocating Nineteenth-Century African American Literature
Eric Gardner
University Press of Mississippi
ISBN 9781604732832


Unexpected Places recovers the work of early African American authors and editors who have been left off maps drawn by historians and literary critics alike. Individual chapters restore to consideration black literary locations in antebellum St. Louis, antebellum Indiana, Reconstruction-era San Francisco, and several sites tied to the Philadelphia-based Christian Recorder during and after the Civil War.  In conversation with both archival sources and contemporary scholarship, Unexpected Places calls for a large-scale rethinking of the nineteenth-century African American literary landscape, including the black West.  In addition to revisiting such better-known writers as William Wells Brown, Maria Stewart, and Hannah Crafts, Unexpected Places offers the first critical considerations of several important figures including Jennie Carter, Polly Wash, Lizzie Hart, and William Jay Greenly. The book’s discussion of physical locations leads naturally to careful study of how region is tied to genre, authorship, publication circumstances, the black press and early black periodicals, domestic and nascent black nationalist ideologies, and black mobility in the nineteenth century.

Unexpected Places is exactly the kind of book most needed in the field right now.  It is a book of rare urgency and authority–a call . . . that emanates from deep within the archive and . . . has to do with the integrity of the field itself.”  –John Ernest, author of Chaotic Justice: Rethinking African American Literary History.

From Julie Weston:

My book, THE GOOD TIMES ARE ALL GONE NOW:  Life, Death and Rebirth in an Idaho Mining Town, is now out from the University of Oklahoma Press.  The official release date was September 15, although it was generally available the end of August.  I’ve been doing readings and signings in northern Idaho and Washington, which have been going well.  I’m also doing a “lecture” at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Ketchum, Idaho, in November as part of the Center’s multi-disciplinary mining exhibition,  Prospects:  An Exploration of Mining.  OU Press is going into a second printing in the near future.
The book is a memoir of place about Kellogg, Idaho, where I grew up.  Mary Clearman Blew, John Rember, Craig Lesley and Carolyn See all generously wrote blurbs for me.  I hope you’ll take a look at the book and blurbs on my website:  www.juliewweston.com and if you’re still interested, read my posts on my blog:  www.juliewweston.blogspot.com .
It’s been fun to have many people who lived and worked in Kellogg or had family or friends there or knew about the mines write me notes and letters, and nearly everyone tells more stories.  Maybe I’ll have to think about a follow-up with just stories.  As most of you on this list already know, the promotion and marketing of a book is a darn sight different than writing one, and a lot of hard work!

From Lowell M. White, a new collection of stories, Long Time Ago Good
ISBN: 978-0941720045

Best of the West Anthology

From Seth Horton:

I just wanted to send out a quick note to let everyone know that the series, Best of the West: New Stories from the Wide Side of the Missouri, has finally returned.  As some of you may remember, this yearly anthology of short fiction began in 1988.  The first two volumes were published by Gibbs Smith Books in Utah.  The series then migrated to New York City where Norton published the next three volumes. Those early anthologies contained stories by such luminaries as Ray Carver, Leslie Marmon Silko, Kent Meyers, William Kittredge, Joy Harjo, Ron Hansen, and Ron Carlson.

Now, after a hiatus of seventeen years, I am pleased to announce that the University of Texas Press has just released the sixth volume in the series; volumes seven and eight will appear over the next two years.  The current volume includes stories by Annie Proulx, Louise Erdrich, Dagoberto Gilb, Joyce Carol Oates, Antonya Nelson, Lee K. Abbott, and a number of emerging writers.  Rick Bass wrote the forward.  James Thomas and I co-edited the book.  You can see the table of contents for yourself at: http://www.utexas.edu/utpress/books/horbep.html.

The editors at the University of Texas Press have expressed an interest in establishing the series on a more permanent basis if these books sell, which would give western writers a steady platform through which to find an audience.  To that end, if any of you decide to use our anthology in your classes, I would be more than happy to engage in an online question and answer session with your students about how the book was edited, potential relationships between the stories, how various writers seem to conceptualizing the region, or anything else that you’d like me to address.  Just shoot me an e-mail and we’ll set something up.

Seth Horton

Saturday Activities

After the business meeting brought the Western Literature Association Conference to a close, we mostly dispersed to get out of the hotel and into South Dakota for awhile. Many people went to Deadwood, where the Festival of the Book was taking place. There was also a WLA sponsored tour of Spearfish Canyon, which continued on into Deadwood. There was also much interest in Devils Tower, Wyoming.


And, from Neil Campbell:


And, in the Badlands, off Highway 44 West:


Taking Care of Business

The WLA Conference concluded with Saturday’s business meeting, which was presided over by Bob Thacker, who was finishing out his term as Executive Secretary (which he has been doing for the past nine years). To thank Bob for his service (or maybe “thank” is not quite the word), the WLA A Cappella Group (Christine Smith, Alan Weltzien, Bill Handley, Judy Nolte Temple) treated us all to a performance of “Bob’s The Man” (sung to the tune of “Barbara Ann”). Even more expressions of gratitude followed:



Still Bob After All These Years

Because I'm Bob, that's why.

Because I'm Bob, that's why.