CFP Global Mythology and World Cinema (interest - 31 October, 2010 - abstracts - 1 January, 2011)

full name / name of organization: 
Mikel J. Koven
contact email: 

Global Mythology and World Cinema
A proposed edited collection by Mikel J. Koven (University of Worcester)

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 Folklore: 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 ( 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.