Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Media Studies

Reader 1

Ming-Yuen Ma

Reader 2

Mark Andrejevic

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Rights Information

© 2016 Andy Wright


This essay explores the imperialist nature of the American road movie as it is defined by the film’s era of release, specifically through the lens of how road movies abuse the lands that are travelled through. To accomplish this, my essay analyzes a classic road movie, Easy Rider, a more contemporary parody, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, and the futuristic film, The Martian. All of these films treat everything that which is not the metropolitan traveller in a distinctly oppressive sense, and each time a new generation of filmmakers makes a road movie, it becomes entrenched in this hegemony in a unique and different way. Surely, this must mean that the structure of the road movie itself is inherently imperial, and I can no longer let that go unrecognized.


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