Session Title

Still Getting Medieval on Television: Medieval-Themed Television of the Twenty-First Century and Its Impact on Medieval Studies (A Roundtable)

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages

Organizer Name

Michael A. Torregrossa

Organizer Affiliation

Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages

Presider Name

Suanna H. Davis

Presider Affiliation

Abilene Christian Univ.

Paper Title 1

Hybrid Medievalisms in Arthurian Romance and the Historical Evolution of the Genre from Print to Television

Presenter 1 Name

Kevin Teo Kia Choong

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Nagoya Univ.

Paper Title 2

When Bows Don't Bow: Sherwood and Camelot in Conflict

Presenter 2 Name

Elizabeth Bernhardt

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Abilene Christian Univ.

Paper Title 3

Kaamelott/Camelot on the Small Screen

Presenter 3 Name

Tara Foster

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Northern Michigan Univ.

Paper Title 4

Medieval Themes in the Contemporary Newsroom

Presenter 4 Name

Charlotte A. T. Wulf

Presenter 4 Affiliation

Stevenson Univ.

Paper Title 5

Medievalism in Television's Popular Series Once Upon a Time

Presenter 5 Name

Mikee Delony

Presenter 5 Affiliation

Abilene Christian Univ.

Start Date

9-5-2013 3:30 PM

Session Location

Fetzer 1005

Description

In the twentieth-century, film and later television were the primary media for disseminating information about the Middle Ages to mass audiences. However, in the twenty-first century, that paradigm has shifted—a fact we had not yet realized in organizing our 2007 sessions at both the Popular Culture Association Annual Meeting and the International Congress on Medieval Studies—with the “reel Middle Ages” of film giving way almost completely and the “televisual Middle Ages” becoming the dominant texts in our contemporary (re)construction of the medieval. Consequently, thanks to the healthy manufacturing of new works for distribution on television as well as (in defiance of the hithertofore ephemeralness of television programming) the preservation of older ones online and on DVD, we should not discount their impact on us and our students, both now and in the generations to come.

In apparent ignorance or (perhaps) denial of television’s usurpation of film’s role as the major innovator of medieval-themed texts, the study of medieval-themed film continues to expand, while research on televisual medievalisms remains limited despite the growing number of high profile programs both in the United States and abroad. Currently, television produces an overabundance of one-offs, series, telefilms, miniseries, commercials, and documentaries, all created in ever-increasing numbers for an incredibly diverse audience across the globe and provides viewers, starting with simple plots for young children and culminating in an increased sophistication and content for older adults, with vivid, informative and entertaining recreations of the medieval past (either as they truly were or, more usually, as we wish they had been) and/or transformations of that past in a vibrant medieval present. We can no longer ignore television’s Middle Ages as a fertile ground for discussion and debate—a fact addressed in the call for proposals for three recent collections on the topic. In this roundtable session, designed to continue the ongoing work of the Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages, we hope to further alleviate some of the disparity between filmic and televisual medievalisms and provide both a gateway into accessing this material as well as to evaluate how these programs might be profitably integrated into medievalist research and teaching.

Michael A. Torregrossa

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May 9th, 3:30 PM

Still Getting Medieval on Television: Medieval-Themed Television of the Twenty-First Century and Its Impact on Medieval Studies (A Roundtable)

Fetzer 1005

In the twentieth-century, film and later television were the primary media for disseminating information about the Middle Ages to mass audiences. However, in the twenty-first century, that paradigm has shifted—a fact we had not yet realized in organizing our 2007 sessions at both the Popular Culture Association Annual Meeting and the International Congress on Medieval Studies—with the “reel Middle Ages” of film giving way almost completely and the “televisual Middle Ages” becoming the dominant texts in our contemporary (re)construction of the medieval. Consequently, thanks to the healthy manufacturing of new works for distribution on television as well as (in defiance of the hithertofore ephemeralness of television programming) the preservation of older ones online and on DVD, we should not discount their impact on us and our students, both now and in the generations to come.

In apparent ignorance or (perhaps) denial of television’s usurpation of film’s role as the major innovator of medieval-themed texts, the study of medieval-themed film continues to expand, while research on televisual medievalisms remains limited despite the growing number of high profile programs both in the United States and abroad. Currently, television produces an overabundance of one-offs, series, telefilms, miniseries, commercials, and documentaries, all created in ever-increasing numbers for an incredibly diverse audience across the globe and provides viewers, starting with simple plots for young children and culminating in an increased sophistication and content for older adults, with vivid, informative and entertaining recreations of the medieval past (either as they truly were or, more usually, as we wish they had been) and/or transformations of that past in a vibrant medieval present. We can no longer ignore television’s Middle Ages as a fertile ground for discussion and debate—a fact addressed in the call for proposals for three recent collections on the topic. In this roundtable session, designed to continue the ongoing work of the Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages, we hope to further alleviate some of the disparity between filmic and televisual medievalisms and provide both a gateway into accessing this material as well as to evaluate how these programs might be profitably integrated into medievalist research and teaching.

Michael A. Torregrossa