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January 2008, Week 4


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Cynthia Miller <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 23 Jan 2008 18:29:27 -0500
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Call For Papers: Film & History special issue on The Classical Era


Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal invites article proposals (250-500 words) for a special edition focusing on classical antiquity, an era that can be defined as the period beginning with Homeric poetry (circa 8th century BC) and ending with the fall of the Roman Empire (476 AD).


Films dating back to the silent-film era have sought to depict this foundational period of civilization, immortalized by Edgar Allan Poe's famous words "the glory that was Greece, the grandeur that was Rome!" Major figures from antiquity-Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Achilles, Spartacus, Alexander, Darius, Ptolemy, Phidias, Aristotle, Attila, among others-have been given recent treatments by Hollywood either on television or on the big screen (e.g., HBO's "Rome" and the films Troy, 300, and Alexander). 


Although Hollywood often emphasizes military history (or romance), Film & History seeks explorations of all filmic representations of antiquity, including genres like feature films, documentaries, and television programs and topics like religion, economics, race, sex, food, art, and ritual. Proposals should seek to break new ground and/or intervene in the existing discourse on Hollywood's vision (or revision) of the history of the classical era. Possible approaches:


1. Historical accuracy vs. aesthetic form. The nature and consequences of accurate vs. artful representation of antiquity. 

2. Social commentary, including filmic representations of race, gender, sexuality, and otherness. For example, a discussion of Spartacus as a racial allegory of the Sixties' Civil Rights movement or an analysis of films with imperialist themes that support contemporary notions of the current military/industrial/media complex.

3. Mythological texts as reinforcing or resisting the status quo. For example, a discussion of possible connections between Hollywood's timing of the release of Alexander and/or Troy and the American agenda in the Iraq war. 

4. Religion and treatments of real and mythological saints, sinners, and Gods. A comparison, perhaps, of the putatively authentic physical appearance of Jesus vs. Hollywood representations in The Greatest Story Ever Told and The Passion of the Christ.

5.  Audience receptions. Analyses of the receptions of particular films, which could include media reviews and/or comparisons of box-office successes (or failures) with scholarly and mainstream critiques.


6. Cinematic revisionism, such as discussions of aesthetical similarities and differences between silent-era films and their contemporary remakes, i.e., the two Cleopatras and or the two Ben-Hurs.


The list above is only a starting point to stimulate thoughtful contemplations. F&H especially welcomes collaborative efforts between scholars in classics and film to write in partnership about themes of mutual interest. 


Contributors to Film & History have submitted work from around the U.S. and the world, and we expect the readership of this particular issue to command international interest.


Please forward your proposals by email to the feature editor:


Rob Prince, Feature Editor: The Classical Era

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The deadline is Friday, May 30, 2008.


Film & History is published by the Center for the Study of Film and History ([log in to unmask]).

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