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The Cultures of the American New West

Neil Campbell


An introductory survey of the important debates about key issues in the cultural history of the contemporary American West. Neil Campbell introduces the ways in which the West has been represented and interpreted within American culture, myth and ideology, especially questioning the concept of the 'New West'. In so doing he looks at the way contemporary theories such as feminism, multiculturalism and environmentalism can be used to revise long-held notions of the West. The book looks in turn at the ways the West has been represented in landscapes and environments, art and photography, film, and literature

  • Introduces theoretical ideas from Bakhtin, Benjamin, Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari
  • Looks at the landscape photography of Ansel Adams, Mark Klett and Richard Misrach
  • Explores Westerns including The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Lonely are the Brave, Unforgiven and Heaven's Gate
  • Analyses the work of authors such as Cormac McCarthy, Edward Abbey, Terry Tempest Williams, Raymond Chandler
  • Includes Native American (Leslie Marmon Silko, Sherman Alexie and Gerald Vizenor) and Chicano/a (Gloria Anzaldua and Sandra Cisneros) literature

As well as functioning as a survey text, the book is original in its combining of ideas, texts and materials rarely brought together, and in its employment of the tools of cultural studies and interdisciplinary practice. As such it will challenge the reader to reconsider conventional ideas about the American West. Illustrated with black and white photographs, this is an accessible and exciting intervention in one of the most popular aspects of American history.

About the Author

Neil Campbell is Head of American Studies at the University of Derby. Author of The Cultures of the American New West (EUP, 2000) and co-author of American Cultural Studies (Routledge, 1997).


Provides excellent commentary on the concept of a New West and links history, film and theatre.
- Karen Jones, University of Essex
Campbell manages to move easily between discussions of art, culture, history, literature and issues of representation and this freedom of reference adds weight to the new analytical and methodological terminology that he proposes. The chapters on new landscapes, visualisations of the West, alternative histories and postmodernism and urbanism in the New West, each offer fresh and convincing readings of these emerging areas of approach.

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