Final Project Topic- Matewan

My proposed project is a comparative look at the differences between a Hollywood rendering of history and a historical event through careful analysis of primary resource materials that still exist. Specifically, I plan to investigate the events surrounding the Matewan Massacre in 1921 and the 1987 film “Matewan” directed by John Sayles.

My intention is to focus on Sid Hatfield’s role as a character in the film and the actual event as a narrative thread between the film and event. But I want to avoid delving into a single character analysis and compare and contrast the event. I plan to approach this project in much the same way I would approach any research project. Though the medium is different, I plan to evaluate the this event through an analysis of the film, archival research in Charleston, West Virginia and The National Archives.

I also plan to include primary source materials such as new paper articles and the audio archives housed in Charleston  with over 100 known audio interviews. I am working to gain access to Sid Hatfield’s family records and contacts through his family members. I’m also consdering doing some research  and /or interviews in Matewan, WV as well.
I hope to investigate the these differences and whether the memory of this event changed or effected after the film was released in Matewan.

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One Response
  1. cjames says:

    Sounds interesting. Now I want to see that movie – unfortunately it’s not on Netflix! Out of curiosity, do you plan on getting movie clips? If so, how?