Presentation

REWEST: RESEARCH IN WESTERN AMERICAN LITERATURE AND CULTURE

Most members in REWEST (Research in Western American Literature and Culture) have an extensive research experience within the field of Western American literature and culture. They have regularly worked together since 1997, when their first research project, focused on the analysis of minority literatures in the United States, was carried out. One of the main aims of the group is the study of regional literary spaces and their global effect, with special attention to the American West. In fact, one of the general interests of the group is to consolidate and encourage new critical interests toward the American West as a growing fountain of quality literature, always heterogeneous and with a multicultural flair, which goes beyond regional and national US borders. The members of this group will pay special attention to those authors who have stood out due to their capacity to renew and revise the traditional imaginary of Western American literature.

At present, most of the members of the group are carrying out the research project The New American West: Literature, Cinema and Artistic Transfers in a Transborder and Multicultural Space Fundamental Non-Specific Research Project (Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness): FFI2014-52738-P. This project is conceived as the continuation and development of the working line opened by the research group REWEST, materialized in the framework of two projects:  "Espacios literarios y regionales y su proyección global: la narrativa del Oeste Norteamericano" (2009-2011) and "La literatura del Oeste de los EEUU en el siglo XXI: ¿Un territorio sin fronteras?" (2012-2014). The first one aimed at exploring the impact of the new narrative of the West as well as its diversity and plurality. The second one focuses on the study of other literary genres such as poetry and theater in and about the West, analyzing the relevance of contemporary socio-political and historical phenomena in this literary corpus. The results of these projects have led us to the conclusion that cultural transfers between different disciplines in and about the West are becoming more abundant, complex and rich. Besides the traditional textual and cultural crossings between literature and film, cornerstones of the construction of the West as myth, other artistic disciplines are serving as a space for redefining the West and its mythology. In this regard, we note the need to examine not only the renewal of the Western imaginary in both literature and cinema, but also the cultural transfers among other disciplines, which we consider have not been paid enough attention.

In this context, the main objective of this project is to analyze the representation of the "New West" in the arts in general and in literature and cinema, in and about the West, in particular. The research group will aim at studying the New West as a contemporary, modern space, where myth and modernity, the rural and the urban, cohabit. For this purpose, we will examine the most traditional modes of representation such as fiction, poetry, drama and film, as well as new forms of artistic expression, such as contemporary music, the revisionist Western cinema, television, comic and other popular art forms produced in various formats (digital, pictorial, audiovisual, etc.). Based on the concept of the West as a transcultural, contemporary, living space, we will highlight the relevance of the cultural and disciplinary transfers that arise from a complex socio-political and geographical environment, which is concurrently mythical/archetypal/static and innovative/groundbreaking/in progress.

Similarly, the project will observe the impact of the new definition of the West as a plural space, which is in a constant process of reinvention, from the viewpoint of diverse and varied disciplines, such as ecocriticism, gender, sociology, history, ethnic studies, cultural studies, etc.. It is our aim to cover the plurality and diversity of the American West today. On the other hand, it will focus on the study of the American West as a global and transnational space, observing those literary and artistic works about the American West that arise from other geographical and cultural areas such as Europe in general and/or Latin America, among others.

The REWEST group has been recognized by the Basque Government as a consolidated group of the Basque University System for the period 2010-2012 (IT360-10), 2013-2015 (IT608-13) and 2016-2021 (IT1026-16: "A" Group). Besides, since 2012, it also participates in the UFI programme (Researchers Formation Unity) 11/06 implemented by the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), as a member of the research network gathered under the following denomination: "Language Adquisition, Literature and Translation in Plurilinguistic Formation".