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For nearly two centuries, Americans have embraced the Western like no other artistic genre. Creators and consumers alike have utilized this story form in literature, painting, film, radio and television to explore questions of national identity and purpose. Westerns: The Essential Collection comprises the Journal of Popular Film and Television's rich and longstanding legacy of scholarship on Westerns with a new special issue devoted exclusively to the genre. This collection examines and analyzes the evolution and significance of the screen Western from its earliest beginnings to its current global reach and relevance in the 21st century.Westerns: The Essential Collection addresses the rise, fall and durability of the genre, and examines its preoccupation with multicultural matters in its organizational structure. Containing eighteen essays published between 1972 and 2011, this seminal work is divided into six sections covering Silent Westerns, Classic Westerns, Race and Westerns, Gender and Westerns, Revisionist Westerns and Westerns in Global Context. A wide range of international contributors offer original critical perspectives on the intricate relationship between American culture and Western films and television series. Westerns: The Essential Collection places the genre squarely within the broader aesthetic, socio-historical, cultural and political dimensions of life in the United States as well as internationally, where the Western has been reinvigorated and reinvented many times. This groundbreaking anthology illustrates how Western films and television series have been used to define the present and discover the future by looking backwards at America's imagined past.