Rethinking Epic is a 2 day interdisciplinary conference to be held at the University of Lincoln, UK, 21-22 July 2011, which aims to examine the nature and role of the Epic Film and its relationship with history in the 21st Century.
From Gladiator to 300, Alexander to Centurion, received wisdom dictates that the 21st century
so far has been marked by the much-heralded return of a once defunct genre. In fact, even the
tagline to the 2010 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World—not a film which we might readily associated
with the epic—makes a curious claim, announcing itself to be “an epic film of epic epicness”.
Yet, this conference will ask, to what extent is received wisdom to be trusted? What precisely is
the epic film, and are we sure we know how to recognise it? What is its relationship with
historical subjects, and are they always inaccurate? And what about the audiences: do people
flock to see Clash of the Titans out of a sense of nostalgia for the first film, or do they flock to
see monsters in 3D, or muscular heroes, or even an epic showdown between Gods and Men?
Finally, before we wholeheartedly accept that the epic is back, can we be sure that it ever really
went away in the first place?
Proposals for topics may include :
-The historical epic; history on film;
-Classical Rome and/or Ancient Greece on
-New media and the epic form (TV, video
-Technology and the epic (CGI, 3D)
-Gender and masculinity; issues of the body
-Violence and action cinema; genre theory
-Audience studies and reception
-The influence of other epic cycles or of
Individual films or comparative studies might include:
-Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven
-Troy, Alexander, Agora
-TV series such as Rome; The Tudors;
Spartacus: Blood & Sand
-Centurion, The Last Legion
-The Passion of the Christ
-Robin Hood, King Arthur
-Clash of the Titans (1981 and 2010)
-Epic series such as Lord of the Rings
-Key directors/producers: Ridley Scott, Jerry
Bruckheimer, Oliver Stone
Additionally, we would be interested in proposals which use earlier films to argue against our
conventional definitions of epics. We strongly encourage involvement from all levels (including
postgraduates) and multi-disciplinary engagement with the subject; hence contributions are
sought from film studies, media and cultural studies, history, literature, medieval/classical studies,
theology, sociology, gender studies and anthropology among others. It is anticipated that selected
papers will be published in a new collection.
Proposals for panels are welcome, but chairs are
encouraged to contact the organisers by email in advance, and no later than 17th December 2010.
Please send 200-250 word abstracts to Andrew Elliott at firstname.lastname@example.org, by the 15th January 2011. Enquiries by email are welcome at any time.
Dr Andrew Elliott
Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies Lincoln School of Media
University of Lincoln, LN6 7TS Email: email@example.com
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