The 2018 Western Literature Association (WLA) conference is set to take place October 24th to 27th in St. Louis, Missouri. Suitable for the city with the Gateway Arch, the theme of the gathering is “Indigenous Hubs, Gateway Cities, Border States”. St. Louis, located where the Missouri and Mississippi rivers converge, has served as a launching point for westward migration and trade since the early-19th century. The non-profit WLA was founded in 1965.

WLA site
St. Louis, Missouri / Image – westlit.org

The 53rd annual conference will be held at the historic Chase Park Plaza hotel, built in 1922. Details of the program can be found at ST. LOUIS. The gathering will host a wide range of presenters and topics, with such panels as “Borderlands of Genre”, “Cowgirls and Western Girlhood”, and “Indigenous Re-Mappings of the Mississippi River”.

This writer is pleased to share that, as part of a “Virtual Wests” panel, I will present a paper entitled, “The Video Game West: ‘Gateway’ to History & Issues”. My talk will explore how Western video games can be used as entry-point & teaching tool for discussion of Western history topics and attendant issues such as Indigenous territorial rights and the growth of corporate reach in rural areas. Red Dead Redemption (2010) and its soon-to-be-released follow-up, Red Dead Redemption II (2018), are among the games I will discuss. My paper will also examine how the game Call of Juarez: Gunslinger (2013) presents Western story-telling and myth-making, in addition to delivering historical information via in-game collectible cards. Here is a trailer for that latter game: 

For official information about the Western Literature Association, please visit the link WLA.

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)

One comment

  1. Hi Chad, Great to see the Arch again. In the 1980s, I was often in St Louis for work. Unfortunately, when the city centre became too rough, we were moved to a suburban hotel. I cannot remember any hotel names but do remember enjoying the river front as well as travelling up the Arch. Enjoy the conference! Warm regards. Marie

    Sent from my iPad

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