Full course description

Course Date:

Oct 17 - Nov 28, 2016


6 weeks


4 hrs/week



Course Type:



Badge, Certificate (free)


This course explores the development of the Western throughout the 1940s and 1950s and how this film genre provides insights into American culture and the American experience. As one of the first genres of silent film, the Western became the most popular among U.S. audiences from the 1930s through the 1950s, reinventing itself as Hollywood responded to the expectations of viewers. Since the 1970s, revisionist Westerns have questioned the thematic concerns and conventions of what has come to be considered the genre’s traditional or classic formatting.


Upon successful completion of this course, students will be conversant with presentations of the American character, Native Americans, and the American frontier in Hollywood Westerns of the 1940s and 1950s.

Course Instructors

Sue Matheson

Sue Matheson


Sue Matheson is an Associate Professor of English Literature and also specializes in the study of Western film, frontier narratives, and popular culture. Her interests in film, culture, and literature may be found in more than forty essays published in a wide range of books and scholarly journals. She is the author of “The Westerns and War Films of John Ford” (Rowman & Littlefield 2016) and the editor of “Love in Western Film and Television: Lonely Hearts and Happy Trails” (Palgrave 2013).

Laura Afatsawo

Laura Afatsawo

Course Designer

Laura Afatsawo is the Technical and Creative Designer for The Western: Part 1. Laura is a member of the Distance Learning Team at the University College of the North (The Pas, Manitoba, Canada).