Journeys, Detours, Breakdowns
The 2015 Film & History Conference

CFP: From the Underworld to the Moon: Re-imagining Ancient Journeys on Screen


When a character crosses the threshold of home, or the border of country, or a cosmic boundary, a transformative story is sure to follow. While Odysseus’ homecoming is the most iconic journey-narrative from classical antiquity, characters traveled for many reasons. Persephone’s abduction by Hades spurred Demeter to search the earth for her daughter; Orpheus descended to the Underworld to plead for his dead wife’s return. Jason embarked on a coming-of-age quest for the Golden Fleece and the kingship it guaranteed; Alexander the Great spearheaded one of the greatest military expeditions of conquest the world had ever known. A failed palace coup drove Xenophon and the Ten Thousand mercenaries onto a perilous trek back to Greece; the destruction of Troy turned Aeneas into a refugee with an imperial destiny. Herakles’ Labors sent him to the edges of the human world and beyond, while Lucian’s satirical voyage led into the belly of the whale and to the moon.

These journeys have intrinsically cinematic qualities. In addition to the allure of depicting grand landscapes, the characters’ geographical movement is often mirrored by psychological and emotional development, or deterioration. The mythic narratives offer not only the chance to get swept away into fantastic ancient worlds, but also endless possibilities for ingenious adaptation into modern settings.

This area invites 20-minute papers (inclusive of audio-visual presentation) that treat cinematic, televisual, or digital representations of journey-narratives that derive from classical antiquity. In keeping with the broader themes of the conference, papers may focus on the concept of the journey per se, a type of journey, a particular journey, and/or the detours, interludes, or breakdowns that characters experience en route to the journey’s destination.

Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are also welcome, but they must include an abstract and contact information, including an e-mail address, for each presenter. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (

Please e-mail your 200-word proposal by June 1, 2015, to the area chair:

Meredith Safran
Trinity College


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