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October 2010, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mikel Koven <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 7 Oct 2010 13:40:22 +0100
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Apologies for Cross-posting:

*Global Mythology and World Cinema*

A proposed edited collection by Mikel J. Koven (University of Worcester)

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*Global Mythology and World Cinema* will be a collection of essays which
discuss how a variety of world cinemas use their own indigenous cultural
mythologies. The *function* of these myths and their filmic counterparts
will vary from culture-to-culture and from film-to-film. The collection will
argue against the extant paradigm of “mythic cinema”, wherein the term
“myth,” co-opted by Jungians and Campbellians, refers to any vague perceived
universal archetype.  This collection will be about cultural specificity,
not universal generalizations, regarding the sacred and how that sacred is
manifested in world cinema.

In terms of a definition of “myth”, *Global Mythology and World
Cinema*begins with William Bascom’s 1965 definition (in “The Forms of
Prose Narratives” in *Journal of American Folklore* 78: 3-20) and builds
from there. Bascom defined myths as “prose narratives which, in the society
in which they are told, are considered to be truthful accounts of what
happened in the remote past”. Bascom continues,

 They are accepted on faith; they are taught to be believed; and they can be
cited as authority in answer to ignorance, doubt, or disbelief. Myths are
the embodiment of dogma; they are usually sacred; and they are often
associated with theology and ritual. Their main characters are not usually
human beings, but they often have human attributes; they are animals,
deities, or culture heroes, whose actions are set in an earlier world, when
the earth was different from what it is today, or in another world such as
the sky or underworld. (4)

While *Global Mythology and World Cinema* will not be limited to Bascom’s
definition, we use it here to make that distinction between the current
project and how other scholars have used the word “myth”, often in the same
generalized and universalized way that Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell have.
This current project seeks to rescue the genre from its use to refer to
(imagined) archetypes, and welcomes opportunities to bridge the
anthropological and folkloric definitions with more cultural studies
approaches (i.e. Levi-Strauss and Barthes).

We seek in-depth papers (approximately between 8000-10, 000 words) exploring
the indigenous mythic visions from the following cultural groups’ cinemas:

·         Japanese cinema

·         Chinese cinema

·         Korean cinema

·         Polynesian and South East Asian cinemas

·         Oceanic cinemas (i.e. Maori and Australian Aborigine)

·         Indian cinemas

·         African cinemas (from many regions and groups)

·         Middle-Eastern and Arab cinemas

·         and the cinemas and mythologies of Native Ameicans

Other topics may also be suggested; the above list is intended as
illustrative, not definitive.

While an academic publisher has been approached, and interest in the
collection has been expressed, we are not yet at the stage to request
abstracts: We are currently looking for statements of “interest”.

If you have an idea which you would like to be considered for inclusion in
this book, please email Mikel J. Koven ([log in to unmask]) with a brief
(informal) description of what you would like to write on by 31 October
2010. The deadline for formal abstracts (200-words) will be a few months
later, and final papers would not need to be submitted until January 2012.

Mikel J. Koven
Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
- Juvenal (Satires VI)

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