John S. Nelson

Written by John S. Nelson

John S. Nelson is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa. He is author and editor of several books, including Popular Cinema as Political Theory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013); Politics in Popular Movies (Paradigm, 2015); and Cowboy Politics: Myths and Discourses in Popular Westerns from The Virginian to Unforgiven and Deadwood (Lexington Books, 2017).

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As a popular genre, the western makes myths for politics in America and beyond. These symbolic stories of characters and communities help shape and explain our government, our society, and ourselves. They tell who and where we are, as individuals and as peoples. They also show what time it is for responding to our situations, and why. Thus western icons…