CFP: “What Has Antiquity Ever Done for Us?”

“What Has Antiquity Ever Done for Us?” The Vitality of Ancient Reception Studies, Now

An international virtual conference presented by Antiquity in Media Studies (AIMS)

15-18 December 2021

Deadline for submissions: 15 October 2021

The officers of Antiquity in Media Studies invite proposals for presentations that illuminate the ongoing vitality of antiquity in recent discourses. Despite decades of institutional disinvestment in the study of antiquity, a venerated deep past figured as a powerful shared imaginary remains a perennial, emotionally evocative, even highly lucrative concept in myriad contemporary media, around the world and across all manner of identity lines. Among antiquities, of particularly widespread interest has been the millennia of history centered on the Mediterranean and dubbed “classical” among successor societies, both self-appointed and colonized. From Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to Luis Alfaro’s Mojada, from Hideki Takeuchi’s Thermae Romae to Pat Barker’s Silence of the Girls, to politicians' and pundits' invocations of the Persian Wars and the fall of Rome, each year produces more receptions of this antiquity. Beyond the Greco-Roman-centered past, all antiquities mobilized for such cultural work today are welcome at this ancient reception studies conference. 

As an area of inquiry, ancient reception studies recognizes the currency of “antiquity” in media as diverse as e.g., television, comics, video games, fashion, film, fiction, and body art. Scholarly engagements with textual and visual phenomena recombine a variety of humanistic and social sciences theories and methods in analyzing cultural objects that can simultaneously enchant and trouble diverse audiences beyond academic specialists, from fanfic authors to game designers to deans and school board members. Part of AIMS’ mission is to connect engaged and invested participants in the reception of antiquity across the scholarly divide. To that end, at the plenary session of the conference we will workshop how to become more effective advocates in our own communities for informed engagement with the study of antiquity and its receptions.

We invite proposals on any topic in ancient reception studies. Proposals for this year’s annual meeting may include individual 20-minute papers, three-paper panels, roundtables, workshops, poster sessions, play-throughs, games, technical demonstrations, creative showcases, creator interviews, and other activities that can fit within a 60-90 minute time slot and be delivered remotely at this online conference. Proposals that take advantage of the online format are especially welcome; we’re open to experimenting with a mixture of live and pre-recorded elements in the program.

Please submit proposals of up to 500 words (plus bibliography) as an anonymized Word doc or PDF, including the title that would appear on the program and the type of presentation, as email attachments to AIMS Secretary-Treasurer Roger Macfarlane at <staims@antiquityinmediastudies.org> by 15 October 2021. (For three-paper panels, each presenter and the panel proposal as a whole may use up to 500 words, for a total of up to 2000 words.) In the body text of the email, please include the name(s) and current institutional affiliation(s) of applicants, or “independent scholar”. Please direct questions to AIMS President Meredith Safran at <presidentaims@antiquityinmediastudies.org>.

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