A Critical Companion to Mel Gibson

deadline for submissions: 
June 15, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Prof. Adam Barkman, Dr. Antonio Sanna
contact email: 

Call For Papers

A Critical Companion to Mel Gibson

Edited by Adam Barkman and Antonio Sanna



contact email:




Part of the Critical Companion to Popular Directors series


Mel Gibson was one of the biggest film stars from the end of the eighties and the early 1990s. His movies were big international successes and he decided to become a director in 1993 with The Man without a Face, a low-budget film that already contains all the themes of his future oeuvre as a director. Obviously, Gibson is a real author, an artist who questions the ambivalence of the human being, a being who is capable of the best and the worst. This theme is also representative of his career as a director, because Gibson enjoyed fame (Braveheart won five Oscars, including that for best film in 1996) but also ostracization after The Passion of the Christ (2004). The latter film created a scandal, the director being accused of anti-Semitism, because of his portrayal of the Jewish people as the deicide people. In addition, Gibson’s personal life is also troubled as he himself is accused of being racist, homophobic and anti-Semist. However, like Christ, he managed to resuscitate in Hollywood first with Apocalypto (2006) and, more recently, with the war film Hacksaw Ridge (2016), which won two Oscars and six nominations—a feat for a director who has always worked on different film genres (drama, adventure film, peplum, war, etc.).

Now, Mel Gibson is once again an important director in Hollywood and this book shall demonstrate all the thematic and aesthetic richness of his work. We are particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches that can illuminate the various aspects of the director’s work and visual style. This volume will undertake to address the entirety of his work. As this volume will be peer-reviewed and scholarly, chapters are to be written at a high academic level.


Contributions could include – but are not limited to – the following topics:


-Christ figure(s)

- Father figures

-Mel Gibson’s vision of Film Genre (peplum, war, adventures, drama, historical, etc.)

-Violence and ruthlessness

-Human sacrifice and personal sacrifice

-Influence of Joseph Campbell

-The importance of myth

-Human ambivalence

-Prejudice and xenophobia


-Morality and transgression

-Representations of masculinity and femininity

-Sound and use of music

-Collaboration with James Horner

-War and rebellion

-The influence of Caravaggio

-Collaboration with Randall Wallace

-The TV series Complete Savages

-The individual facing the majority


This anthology will be organized into thematic sections around these topics and others that emerge from submissions. We are open to works that focus on other topics as well and authors interested in pursuing other related lines of inquiry. Feel free to contact the editors with any questions you may have about the project and please share this announcement with colleagues whose work aligns with the focus of this volume.

We are particularly interested in receiving abstracts/essays on the two films The Man without a Face and Hacksaw Ridge, or essays that focus on one of these two films alongside the others in Gibson’s oeuvre.

Submit a 400 word abstract of your proposed chapter contribution, along with a 100 word biographical note and complete contact information to Prof. Adam Barkman (abarkman@redeemer.ca) and/or Dr. Antonio Sanna (isonisanna@hotmail.com) by the 15th of June. Full chapters of 6,000 to 7,000 words (including endnotes and list of cited works) will be due after signing a contract with the publisher (we expect this to be a volume in the ongoing Critical Companions to Popular Directors series edited by Adam Barkman and Antonio Sanna and published by Lexington Books at Rowman & Littlefield). The approximate date for submission of first drafts is September 2022.

Note: Acceptance of a proposed abstract does not guarantee the acceptance of the full chapter into the completed volume.