CFP: Undead in the West


Call for Contributors

Undead in the West: Vampires, Zombies, Mummies and Ghosts on the Cinematic Frontier  (anthology – under contract)

Deadline for abstracts: September 18, 2011

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.

Some questions to consider:

–       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?
–       In what ways do undead Westerns consciously use the undead elements of the plot to comment on the nature of traditional Western heroes and villains?

Possible topics include:

The Undead as Agents of Redemption and Retaliation:

1.      Clint Eastwood’s Undead Avengers  (as in Pale Rider)
2.      Quests for Redemption (as in Gallowwalker)
3.      The Undead as Guardians of the Sacred West  (as in Seven Mummies)

The Moral Order Under Siege:

1.      The Vampire as the Ultimate Outlaw (as in From Dusk Till Dawn)
2.      Renegades and Bounty Hunters (as in Dead Walkers)
3.      Moral Panic in the Heartland (as in Devil’s Crossing)
4.      Identity and Otherness on the Western Frontier (as in The Curse of the Undead)

Playing with Classic Western Tropes:

1.      Frontier Masculinity and the Undead (as in Bubba Ho-tep)
2.      The Gunfighters’ Code in The Quick and the Undead
3.      A Cowboy, a Soldier, and Geronimo’s Niece: The Undead and Classic Western Characters (as in Undead or Alive)

The ‘Spirit’ of the West:

1.      The Undead and Western Iconography
2.      Texas Ranger on a Fire-Breathing Horse: Sam Elliott as Western Icon in Ghost Rider (2007)
3.      Spirit Guides and Guardians: Native American Apparitions

Please send your 500-word abstract to both co-editors, Cindy Miller ( and Bow Van Riper (  Deadline for submissions is September 18, 2011. Accepted essays will be due in February 2012, for a 2012 publication.


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