The Prairie: American Myths & Movies

This talk could go in a couple of different directions. It’s being delivered by Dr. Peter Swirski, whose bio identifies him as a professor of American Literature & Culture at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, an honorary professor in American Studies at a couple of universities in China, and the author of 14 books.

On one hand, Swirski could venerate all the myths and self-aggrandizing misconceptions that have been generated by our culture about the settlement of the prairies through Hollywood movies — the most iconic means of transmission, certainly, although by no means the only one as TV shows, novels, poetry, visual art, music, history, and many other things have played roles too. That would be unfortunate, as we already have plenty of that out there. Although a talk about how all the myths and self-aggrandizing misconceptions came to be invented, and were subsequently refined and perpetuated over the decades would be interesting enough.

Another interesting angle Swirski could take would be to critique the myths and misconceptions to both highlight inaccuracies and explore the ideological impact they’ve had on our society in areas like politics, economics and social policy. That would be a dandy lecture.

Swirski will deliver his talk at AdHum348 at the University of Regina at 3:30 p.m. today. More information can be had by calling 306-585-4310. And to close, here’s the trailer from a 2010 documentary by Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond called Reel Injun that critiques the depiction of indigenous people in Hollywood films which is a HUGE component of Western prairie mythology.

Author: Gregory Beatty

Greg Beatty is a crime-fighting shapeshifter who hatched from a mutagenic egg many decades ago. He likes sunny days, puppies and antique shoes. His favourite colour is not visible to your inferior human eyes. He refuses to write a bio for this website and if that means Whitworth writes one for him, so be it.

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