Ancient Worlds, Digital Screens

deadline for submissions: 
August 10, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Braden Lee Scott / Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference 2017 (Chicago)


Call for Papers – Panel Proposal

Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference

22-26 March 2017



The ancient world on the cinematic screen has recently been resurging. Digital effects have enabled new worlds to be developed for television and cinema, allowing classic sword-and-sandal flicks to be reimagined with emerging technologies.  These mythical, biblical, and historical accounts from ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt have been marketed and distributed worldwide as major theatrical releases. Despite generally negative reviews, the classics keep coming—with a new Ben Hur scheduled for release at the end of summer in 2016. Considering Jeffrey Richards’ argument that “historical films are always about the time in which they are made and never about the time in which they are set” (2008), what does the resurgence of ancient themes in cinema mean? What are the reasons they are being produced despite hit-and-miss reviews? This panel is an exploration of the re-emergence of ancient themes in cinema, but pushes the idea of what they mean to contemporary society by considering the ways they move with emergent trends in media.

Paper topics may include:

-       Ancient and early medieval archaeology

-       Adaptation and remakes

-       Ancient themes on television and/or other media (eg. RomeSpartacus)

-       Ancient motifs in sci-fi and fantasy

-       Differences between historical accounts and cinematic representations of histories

-       Looking at classics through the emerging scholarship of media archaeology

-       Architecture and/of ancient worlds

-       National(ism), identity, and ancient Egypt

-       Ancient myth in contemporary art/film

-       Sexuality, race, and gender

-       Digital media, 3D cinema, and special effects

-       Historiography of classics in cinema

-       Process, context, and worlding across media

-       Media convergence of ancient themes across cinema, art, architecture, media


Please send a 250-300 word abstract with 5-7 sources, brief (1 page if you can) cv, and a 100-150 word biography to: by August 10, 2016. 


*** The Panel is not confirmed, and will be submitted to SCMS on August 31.