Unweaving the Myth of ‘The West’: An Anti-Colonial Screening of John Ford’s ‘Stagecoach’ (1939)

Date / Time

February 22, 2022

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm


Unweaving the Myth of “The West:” An Anti-Colonial Screening of John Ford’s “Stagecoach” (1939)

The Western has been described as the “great American form,” and seemingly the most purely “American” genre. While the Western’s popularity has waned in recent decades, the conventions and tropes it generated — most visible today in action-adventure and superhero films — continue to influence our expectations for contemporary storytelling. Despite its significant impact on the global popular imaginary, most conversations on the Western do not contemplate its insidious properties: namely, the ways in which these romanticized plots continue to shape our understanding of history and to normalize hierarchies in our social and spatial relations.

Join us for an interdisciplinary conversation between History Professor Jeffrey Sklansky and Art History Assistant Professor Emmanuel Ortega to discuss John Ford’s celebrated “Stagecoach” (1939). Moderated by current MFA student Emmanuel Ramos-Barajas, we’ll speak on the Western’s entanglement of art, history, and politics — focusing particularly on the racialized representation and cinematic conventions of this early formative Western.

Please watch Stagecoach through your UIC Kanopy account before joining us Tuesday, Feb. 22, at 5 p.m. for the Zoom conversation

Meeting ID: 881 8298 7203
Passcode: Np30gKpP

This conversation is part of an ongoing screening project called “Content Warning: Cinema Conventions as Violence,” where we recontextualize film in a longer history of media technologies and visual literacy. At a time where film preservation and restoration institutions begin to grapple with how to screen older films with skewed spatial and racialized representations, re-articulating film’s future possible forms is an urgent task.

Presented by UIC’s Institute for the Humanities, Unsettling Journeys and Borderless Cultures.

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