Medievalisms on the Screen.
The representation of the Middle Ages in Audiovisual Media in the 21st century (April 29th-May 1st 2021)
PhD Conference, Department of Medieval Studies
Central European University, Budapest/Vienna
The technological advancements in audiovisual production that have taken place in the first two decades of the 21st century have accentuated the multiple representations of the Middle Ages in popular media. The explosion of the videogame industry, the refinement in digital technologies for the recreation of past spaces, and the popularization of streaming services like YouTube and Netflix have all allowed for an increase in the venues for the representation of the medieval past. Be it the crusaders of Assassin’s Creed (2007) or the Scandinavian world of Vikings (2013-2020); from the fantasy universe of Game of Thrones (2011-2019) or bands like Rhapsody of Fire, to the hack-n-slash hell of Dante’s Inferno (2011), it is a non-academic version of the past which is more familiar to the general public.
The way in which media affects our perceptions of the past have real-world ramifications. A specific distorted version of the Middle Ages has served as fuel for acts of violence and the rise of authoritarian, xenophobic and racist political agendas. Interestingly, this is a process that has gotten outside of traditional “medieval” scenarios into a more global arena: the 2015 Indian film Padmaavati exacerbated Hindu-Muslim relations in some regions of the sub-continent, further highlighting the relation between media and politics regarding the representation of the past.
The purpose of this PhD interdisciplinary conference is to explore the characteristics and implications of calling an audiovisual product “medieval” in the 21st century. From products that purposely undermine their own historicity like A Knight’s Tale (2001), to those that rely on “accuracy” as part of their advertisement as in the case of videogames; from “European-based” productions like Dark Souls, to Netflix’s Kingdom (2019) set in Korea or Team Ninja’s Nioh (2017) set in Japan, we invite contributions from every area of knowledge relevant to this discussion.
Topics might include, but are not limited to:
- Periodization and setting
- Gender relations in medieval productions
- Middle ages and pedagogy
- (Sub)conscious political implications
- Middle-ages and fantasy
- Rock music and the middle ages
- Accuracy vs. authenticity
- Global middle ages in popular media
- Media and national identity
- Production, screenwriting and representation
- Gameplay mechanics, coding and procedural rhetoric
- LARPERS and the middle ages
- Museums, memory and cultural institutions
Paper proposals, no longer than 400 words in length for a paper between 25 to 30 minutes, should be sent to the organizers (e-mail account) no later than February 1st, 2021. The full slate of selected papers will be announced within two weeks after the submission deadline.
Juan Manuel Rubio Arévalo: PhD candidate in Medieval Studies, Central European University, Austria/Vienna: https://medievalstudies.ceu.edu/people/juan-manuel-rubio-arevalo
Karolina Anna Kotus: PhD candidate in Medieval Studies, Central European University, Austria/Vienna: https://medievalstudies.ceu.edu/people/karolina-anna-kotus
Juan Bautista Juan López:PhD candidate in Medieval Studies, Central European University, Austria/Vienna: https://medievalstudies.ceu.edu/people/juan-bautista-juan-lopez