Arizona Harper Lecture with Robert B. Pippin

Myth and Politics in the Hollywood Western

$20/person for general admission
$10/person for recent graduates (College alumni of the past ten years and graduate alumni of the past five years)
Two complimentary registrations for members of the Alumni Leadership, Chicago, Harper, and Phoenix Societies 

Includes program and refreshments 

2:00–2:45 p.m. Registration and reception
2:45–4:00 p.m. Presentation and discussion

Online registration is now closed. Walk-in registration will be available at the event.

Like Greek myths, the best Hollywood westerns help us understand the present by telling a story of the past. Many westerns portray a traumatic and decisive political transition from one type of society to another: usually the conquest and settlement of the West after the Civil War.

John Ford’s 1962 film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a particularly interesting example of filmmakers using the myth of the American West to justify the outlaw violence necessary for a new regime to emerge. Robert Pippin will show scenes from the film and discuss their implications for these issues in political philosophy at the time of its making.

Robert B. Pippin is the Evelyn Stefansson Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought, the Department of Philosophy, and the College at the University of Chicago. He has written extensively about political philosophy, theories of self-consciousness, the nature of conceptual change, and the problem of freedom. He is also a winner of the Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award in the Humanities, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the American Philosophical Society.

To learn more, read Pippin’s article in Critical Inquiry, “What Is a Western? Politics and Self-Knowledge in John Ford’s The Searchers.


Event Contact
Mary Kovacs
Staff Liaison
Renee Finnell