Lectures explore mythmaking
in Hollywood westerns
“Political Psychology and American Myth: Violence and Order in Hollywood
Westerns” will be the theme of the 2008 Castle Lectures being presented
Feb. 18, 19 and 25 under the sponsorship of the Program in Ethics, Politics
This year’s featured speaker will be Robert B. Pippin, the Evelyn Stefansson
Nef Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago.
Pippin will present three lectures: “The Right to Rule in Howard Hawks’ ‘Red
River,’” 5-6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 18; “Who Cares Who Shot
Liberty Valence? The Heroic and the Prosaic in John Ford’s Film,”
4-5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19; and “The Politics and Psychology of
Revenge in John Ford’s ‘The Searchers,’” 4-5:30 p.m.
on Monday, Feb. 25. Each will be held in the Whitney Humanities Center (WHC)
auditorium, 53 Wall St. All are free and open to the public.
In his lectures, Pippin will explore the ways in which certain fundamental
political conceptions like legitimacy, authority and revenge find expression
in the medium of contemporary American film. By looking closely at three classic
Hollywood Westerns, he will examine the powerful relationship of mythical narrative
to the shaping of political beliefs, attitudes and values in American culture.
This year, as a complement to the Castle Lectures, the Program on Ethics, Politics,
and Economics — in conjunction with The Cinema at the Whitney and The
Whitney Humanities Center — will sponsor a screening of John Ford’s “The
Searchers” on Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. in the WHC auditorium. A light dinner
and refreshments will be provided for those who attend the screening, which
will be held after Pippin’s inaugural Castle Lecture.
Pippin, who has affiliations with both the Committee on Social Thought and
the Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago, has published articles
and books on Kant, Nietzsche, Proust, Hannah Arendt, Leo Strauss and Henry
James. He is perhaps best known for his work on Hegel.
The Castle Lectures were endowed by John K. Castle to honor an ancestor, the
Reverend James Pierpont, one of Yale’s original founders. The lectures
are intended to promote an awareness of and sensitivity to ethical issues facing
individuals in modern American society. The Castle Lectures are published in
book form by the Yale University Press.
For additional information, contact David Leslie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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