Call for Abstracts - Essays for Neo-medievalism Media in the New Millennium

deadline for submissions: 
February 28, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Nicholas Diak
contact email: 

Call for Proposals: Essays for Neo-medievalism Media in the New Millennium

Introduction

The critical and commercial success of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy ushered in a new era of fantasy-medieval and historic-medieval texts in the new Millennium. These neo-medieval texts were not restricted to the big screen, but in true transmedia fashion, exploded on the small screen, in video games, comics, and a variety of other medias as the genre became popular and hence, lucrative. Nearly twenty years later, depictions of the medieval period, be it authentic or moored in fantasy, remain a dominate component in the greater pop culture, with shows like Game of Thrones, video games like Skyrim, many fantasy-medieval books, young adult comics, and the like.

With neo-medieval texts enjoying heightened popularity, it invites an academic gaze to unearth their importance. What is it about these texts that makes them fascinating, especially considering that they are rooted in the distant past as compared to the new Millennium we are living in? What are the different approaches we can take to make sense of these films, shows, books, etc. which in turn can be used to understand not just our present world, but the future we are going into?

This anthology is looking for shorter-form essays (2.5k – 4k words in length) that aim to explore fantasy-medieval and historic medieval films, television shows, comics, video games, literature, and other works that add and expand the genre’s canon. The result would an anthology of 22-28 essays that touch upon a variety of texts with a plethora of academic lenses and approaches, grouped together to support a series of wider topics under the neo-medievalism banner.

Potential Essay Topics

The following is a list of possible (but not comprehensive) topics that contributors could submit on:

Auteur theory on filmmakers and their medieval films/TV shows (e.g. Neil Marshall, Guy Ritchie, Uwe Boll, etc.)
Adaptations of the Matter of Britain
Adaptations/portrayal of historic figures (Robert the Bruce, Robin Hood, Marco Polo, etc.)
Adaptations of fairy tales, stories, and myths
Adaptations of video games (In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale [2007] (and its sequels), Warcraft [2016])
Blending medieval with other genres, such as horror (The Head Hunter [2018]) or sci-fi (Transformers: The Last Knight [2017])
Close readings of specific texts
Colonialism
Covid-19 and plague texts (A Plague Tale: Innocence [2019 video game], The Last Witch Hunter [2015], Black Death [2010]) 
Currency/economics in medieval video games (Skyrim, The Witcher, Final Fantasy) compared to current economic anxieties
Fan and fandom studies
Gender studies
History of the portrayal of medieval times from the past to the present
Intersectionality
Intertextual analysis
Medieval monsters as metaphors
Monomyth/heroes journey
Non-Occidental medieval films:
    Indian neo-peplum films: Baahubali: The Beginning (2015), Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017), and Veeram (2016 film)
    Late-era Mesoamerica films: Apocalypto (2006)
    Russian medieval films: Furious (2017)
    Chinese historic epics: Hero (2002), Genghis Khan (2018), House of Flying Daggers (2004)
    Adaptations of One Thousand and One Nights
Portrayals of religions and nationalities (Vikings, Saxons, etc.)
Portrayals of bodies (such body builders and muscular heroes)
Race portrayals (example: white characters in Eastern settings such as The Great Wall [2016])
Semiotic analysis
Surveillance/panopticon in scrying magic: Lord of the Rings films
Temporal texts (time traveling): medieval in modern times or modern times in medieval
Torture porn genre in movies with medieval torture scenes: Red Riding Hood (2011)
Vernacular film theory
And others

List of Media Texts

Below is a list of media titles (from films, TV, comics, games, etc.) that could potentially fit into the neo-medieval formula. This list is by no means complete, but it is presented to give title examples that fit within this genre and to inspire creative ideas on topics to write about. The below list contains titles that are historic-medieval, fantasy-medieval, and medieval combined with other genres.

Films

Black Death (2010)
Dragonheart: A New Beginning (2000)
Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer's Curse (2015)
Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire (2017)
Dragonheart: Vengeance (2020)
The Head Hunter (2018)
The Hobbit trilogy (2012-214)
The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016)
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)
Last Knights (2015)
The Last Witch Hunter (2015)
Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003)
Maleficent (2014)
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)
Robin Hood (2010)
Robin Hood (2018)
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Television

Britannia (2018-present)
Cursed (2020)
Deus Salve o Rei (2018)
Game of Thrones (2011-2019)
The Hollow Crown (2012, 2016)
Knightfall (2017-2019)
The Last Kingdom (2015-present)
The Letter for the King (2020)
Marco Polo (2014)
Miracle Workers (season 2)
The Name of the Rose (2019)
Robin Hood (BBC) (2006-2009)
The Witcher (2019-present)

Literature

Ascendance Series (Nielsen)
Codex Alera (Butcher)
The Kingkiller Chronicle (Rothfuss)
Ranger’s Apprentice (Flanagan)
Sabbath (Mamatas)
Sands of Arawiya series (Faizal)
A Song of Fire and Ice series (Martin)
Throne of Glass series (Maas)
The Witcher series (Sapkowski)
The Wrath & the Dawn (Ahdieh)

Comics

Berserker Unbound (Dark Horse)
Birthright (Image)
Cursed (Simon & Schuster)
A Game of Thrones (Dynamite)
Lady Castle (Boom!)
Nimona (web comic)
Northlanders (Vertigo)
The Witcher (Dark Horse comics)

Video games

Assassin’s Creed series
Chivalry: Medieval Warfare (2012)
Crusader Kings series
The Cursed Crusade (2011)
Fable series
The First Templar (2011)
Game of Thrones (2012)
Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series (2014-2015)
Kingdom Come: Deliverance (2018)
A Plague Tale: Innocence (2019)
Stronghold series
The Witcher series from CD Projekt Red

Music

Dungeon synth music
Adventure/power metal bands like Blind Guardian and Keep of Kalessin

Again, the above list is not comprehensive, but to illustrate a general idea of titles from different media that could fit into this essay collection.

Project Timetable

This anthology has not yet procured a contract, but will be submitted for consideration to Peter Lang Publishing to be part of the Genre Fiction and Film Companions series. The following a proposed timetable to realize this project:

February 28, 2021 – Deadline for abstract submissions
March 7, 2021 – Notification of acceptance
March 14, 2021 – Submission of preliminary table of contents to Peter Lang Publishing for consideration for their Genre Fiction and Film Companions series
    If rejected, submit to alternative publisher, repeat process
    If accepted, distribute style guide to authors
+ Five months after publisher acceptance – Chapter drafts are due
+ Four months – Chapter revisions are due
+ One month – Submission of manuscript to publisher

Drafts and revisions are strongly encouraged to be submitted before the deadlines.

Abstract Submission Information

Please submit your abstract(s) of roughly 500 words along with your academic CV/resume and preliminary bibliography to the email address below before February 28, 2021. Please use an appropriate subject line when submitting – have it contain the phrase “medieval submission.” I will confirm each submission via email within 72 hours. I will also accept multiple abstract submissions.

This CFP is open to all academics and scholars. Underrepresented scholars researching this genre are greatly encouraged to submit.

Nicholas Diak, editor

Email: vnvdiak@gmail.com
Website: http://www.nickdiak.com

Nicholas Diak is a pop culture scholar of neo-peplum and sword and sandal films, industrial music, synthwave, exploitation films Italian genre cinema, and H. P. Lovecraft studies. He is the editor of The New Peplum: Essays on Sword and Sandal Films and Television Programs Since the 1990s (McFarland, 2018) and the co-editor of Horror Literature from Gothic to Post-Modern: Critical Essays (McFarland, 2020). Along with Michele Brittany, he co-created and co-chairs the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference and co-hosts the H. P. Lovecast Podcast. He has contributed articles, essays, and reviews to numerous journals, academic anthologies, magazines, and websites.