Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Kapell and Elliott's Playing with the Past

Another title of relevance to our endeavors:

Playing with the Past: Digital Games and the Simulation of History
Editor(s): Matthew Wilhelm Kapell, Andrew B.R. Elliott

Published: 10-24-2013
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 400
ISBN: 9781623567286
Imprint: Bloomsbury Academic
Illustrations: 25
Dimensions: 6" x 9"
List price: $39.95

About Playing with the Past

Game Studies is a rapidly growing area of contemporary scholarship, yet volumes in the area have tended to focus on more general issues. With Playing with the Past, game studies is taken to the next level by offering a specific and detailed analysis of one area of digital game play -- the representation of history. The collection focuses on the ways in which gamers engage with, play with, recreate, subvert, reverse and direct the historical past, and what effect this has on the ways in which we go about constructing the present or imagining a future.

What can World War Two strategy games teach us about the reality of this complex and multifaceted period? Do the possibilities of playing with the past change the way we understand history? If we embody a colonialist's perspective to conquer 'primitive' tribes in Colonization, does this privilege a distinct way of viewing history as benevolent intervention over imperialist expansion? The fusion of these two fields allows the editors to pose new questions about the ways in which gamers interact with their game worlds. Drawing these threads together, the collection concludes by asking whether digital games - which represent history or historical change - alter the way we, today, understand history itself.

Table Of Contents

1. Introduction: To Build a Past that Will “Stand the Test of Time”: Discovering Historical Facts, Assembling Historical Narratives, Andrew B.R. Elliott and Matthew Wilhelm Kapell

Part I: History as a Process: Teleology, Causation and Technological Determinism
2. The Same River Twice: Historical Representation and the Value of Exploring Societal Concepts in the Total War, Civilization, and Age of Empires Franchises, Rolfe Daus Peterson, Andrew Miller and Sean Joseph Fedorko
3. What is “Old” in Videogames? Dan Reynolds
4. “Affording History”: Applying the Ecological Approach to Historical Videogames, Adam Chapman

Part II: History written by the West: Self, Other and Non-Western History
5. Phantasms of Rome: Video Games and Cultural Identity, Emily Joy Bembeneck
6. Modeling Indigenous Peoples: Unpacking Ideology in Sid Meier's Colonization, Rebecca Mir and Trevor Owens
7. Dominance and The Aztec Empire: Representations in Age of Empires II and Medieval Total War II, Joshua D. Holdenried with Nicolas Trépanier
8. From History to Literature to Game: Three Kingdoms and the Cultural Significance of Asian History, Hyuk-chan Kwon
9. Falling in Love with History: Japanese Girls and Otome Games, Kazumi Hasegawa

Part III: User-Generated History: Realism, Authenticity and the Playable Past
10. Selective Authenticity and the Playable Past, Andrew J. Salvati and Jonathan M. Bullinger
11. The Promise of Simulation: Realism, Authenticity, Virtuality, Josef Köstlbauer
12. Modding the Historians' Code: Historical Verisimilitude and the Counterfactual Imagination, Tom Apperley
13. Modding as Historical Reenactment: A Case Study of the Battlefield Series, Gareth Crabtree

Part IV: The Politics of Representation: Authenticity and Realism
14. Historical Veneers: Anachronism, Simulation and History in Assassin's Creed II, Douglas N. Dow
15. Air Power vs. Processing Power: Technology and Narrative Possibilities in WWI Video Gaming, Andrew Wackerfuss
16. Videogames in the popular Culture of Remembrance of the Cold War: A Case Study of Call of Duty: Black Ops, Clemens Reisner
17. Refighting the Cold War: Video Games and Speculative History, Marcus Schulzke

Part V: Looking Back on the End of the World: History as Utopian Possibility
18. Strategic Digital Defense: Video Games and Reagan's 'Star Wars' Program, 1980-1987, William M. Knoblauch
19. Fallout and the History of Yesterday's Impossible Tomorrow, Joseph A. November
20. History Out of Time: Fallout's Ironic America, Tom Cutterham
21. The Historical Conception of Biohazard in Biohazard, Robert Mejia and Ryuta Komaki
22. The Struggle with Gnosis: Ancient Religion and Future Technology in the Xenosaga Series, Erin Evans
23. Conclusion: Playing at True Myths, Engaging with Authentic Histories, Matthew Wilhelm Kapell and Andrew B.R. Elliott


Companion Website

For more details on Playing with the Past, please visit the companion website:

About Editors

Matthew Wilhelm Kapell has graduate degrees in biological anthropology and history as well as a Ph.D. in American Studies. He has published on genetics, urban history, African colonial history, as well as four books in film and television studies and has taught extensively in the United States and Great Britain.

Writes: Game Studies

Author of: Jacking In To the Matrix Franchise, Jacking In To the Matrix, Playing with the Past

Andrew Elliott is a Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Lincoln, UK, where he teaches cultural studies, media studies, history, film, and television. He is the author of Remaking the Middle Ages (2010) which concerns itself with authenticity, violence, and a semiotic reconstruction of the medieval period.

Writes: Game Studies

Author of: Playing with the Past

Elliott's The Return of Epic Film

Seems I'm very much behind here. More details on recent scholarship in the field.

The Return of the Epic Film: Genre, Aesthetics and History in the 21st Century
Edited By: Andrew Elliot
(Information from Edinburgh University Press)
(Information from Oxford University Press)

Edinburgh University Press
Publication Date: Mar 2014
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Extent: 240 pages
12 bw Ill., film stills

ISBN: 9780748684021
Price: £70.00

ISBN: 9781474402842
Price: £19.99

This book is distributed in North & South America by Oxford University Press USA

Hardcover (01 April 2014) for $120.00 (same ISBN as UK edition)

Paperback (available for pre-orders and will ship on 01 March 2015) $34.95 (same ISBN as UK edition)

Details (Edinburgh)

Explores the return of the ‘epic’ in twenty-first-century cinema

With the success of Gladiator, both critics and scholars enthusiastically announced the return of a genre which had lain dormant for thirty years. However, this return raises important new questions which remain unanswered. Why did the epic come back, and why did it fall out of fashion? Are these the same kinds of epics as the 1950s and 60s, or are there aesthetic differences? Can we treat Kingdom of Heaven, 300 and Thor indiscriminately as one genre? Are non-Western histories like Hero and Mongol epics, too? Finally, what precisely do we mean when we talk about the return of the epic film, and why are they back?
The Return of the Epic Film offers a fresh way of thinking about a body of films which has dominated our screens for a decade. With contributions from top scholars in the field, the collection adopts a range of interdisciplinary perspectives to explore the epic film in the twenty-first century.

Details (Oxford)

What does the new epic film now look like? How is it classified? Why has it returned?

The success of Gladiator re-launched a genre which had lain dormant for 35 years. The Return of the Epic Film is one of the first books to examine this return as a coherent body of films. Studying a range of films from Gladiator to Clash of the Titans, the various essays question how we define these new epics, their aesthetics, their relationship to history, and who decides which films should be in the canon. Over the course of 11 essays by key figures in the field, the book examines in what ways, why, and how the epic film has returned to our cinemas.

By embracing a range of approaches which take into account the production process, and by questioning the canon of films conventionally accepted as epics, this book will inspire Film Studies students and scholars to rethink the epic film.


Introduction: The Return of the Epic, Andrew B.R. Elliott (read online)

Part I: Epics and Ancient History
Sir Ridley Scott and the Rebirth of the Epic, Jeffrey Richards
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and America since the Second World War: Some Cinematic Parallels, Kevin J. Harty
There’s Nothing So Wrong with a Hollywood Script that a Bunch of Giant CGI Scorpions Can’t Solve: Politics, Computer Generated Images and Camp in the Critical Reception of the Post-Gladiator Historical Epics: Mark Jancovich
Popcorn and Circus: An Audience Expects, Robert Stow

Part II: Epic Aesthetics and Genre
Colour in the Epic Film: Alexander and Hero, Robert Burgoyne
Defining the Epic: Medieval and Fantasy Epics, Paul Sturtevant
Special Effects, Reality, and the New Epic, Andrew B.R. Elliott

Part III: Epic Films and the Canon
Pass the Ammunition: A Short Etymology of Blockbuster, Sheldon Hall
Epic Stumbling Blocks, Saër Maty Bâ
The Greatest Epic of the 21st Century?, Deborah Bridge
Ramayana and Sita in Films and Popular Media: The Repositioning of a Globalised Version, Aarttee Kaul Dhar


Andrew B.R. Elliott is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Lincoln, UK, where he works on the depiction of history in popular culture. In addition to his work on epics, he has written on the use of the Middle Ages, Robin Hood, Vikings, and Classical Antiquity in film, as well as the depiction of the past in video games and television.

New/Recent: Medieval Motion Picture: The Politics of Adaptation

Here's another recent book of interest. This one looks to be from mostly European scholars.

The Medieval Motion Picture: The Politics of Adaptation
Edited by Andrew James Johnston, Margitta Rouse, Philipp Hinz
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series The New Middle Ages

ISBN 9780230112506
Publication Date April 2014
Hardcover (256 pages)
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF)


Providing new and challenging ways of understanding the medieval in the modern and vice versa, The Medieval Motion Picture: The Politics of Adaptation highlights how medieval aesthetic experience breathes life into contemporary cinema. Engaging with the subject of time and temporality, the essays examine the politics of adaptation and our contemporary entanglement with the medieval: not only in overtly medieval-themed films but also in such diverse genres as thrillers, horror films, performance animation, and even science fiction. Among the films and TV shows discussed are productions such as HBO's award winning series Game of Thrones, Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula, Akira Kurosawa's Ran, and M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense.


Introduction: Temporalities of Adaptation; Andrew James Johnston and Margitta Rouse (read online)

1. "Now is the time": Shakespeare's Medieval Temporalities in Akira Kurosawa's Ran; Jocelyn Keller and Wolfram R. Keller

2. Dracula's Times: Adapting the Middle Ages in Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula; Cordula Lemke

3. Rethinking Anachronism for Medieval Film in Richard Donner's Timeline; Margitta Rouse

4. Otherness Redoubled and Refracted: Intercultural Dialogues in The Thirteenth Warrior; Judith Klinger

5. Crisis Discourse and Art Theory: Richard Wagner's Legacy in Films; Veith von Fürstenberg and Kevin Reynolds Stefan Keppler-Tasaki

6. Adaptation as Hyperreality: The (A)historicism of Trauma in Robert Zemeckis's Beowulf; Philipp Hinz and Margitta Rouse

7. Perils of Generation: Incest, Romance and the Proliferation of Narrative in Game of Thrones; Martin Bleisteiner

8. Arthurian Myth and Cinematic Horror: M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense; Hans Jürgen Scheuer

9. Marian Re-writes the Legend: The Temporality of Archaeological Remains in Richard Lester's Robin and Marian; Andrew James Johnston



Andrew James Johnston is Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English Literature at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, and author of Performing the Middle Ages from Beowulf to Othello.

Margitta Rouse is Assistant Professor at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany. She teaches medieval English literature as well as cinematic adaptation.

Philipp Hinz curates film festivals and publishes stage-to-screen adaptations on DVD.

Battis and Johnston's Mastering the Game of Thrones

Mastering the Game of Thrones: Essays on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire
Edited by Jes Battis and Susan Johnston

Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-9631-0
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4766-1962-0
notes, bibliographies, index
308pp. softcover (6 x 9) 2015
Price: $35.00

About the Book

George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is a worldwide phenomenon, and the world of Westeros has seen multiple adaptations, from HBO’s acclaimed television series to graphic novels, console games and orchestral soundtracks. This collection of new essays investigates what makes this world so popular, and why the novels and television series are being taught in university classrooms as genre-defining works within the American fantasy tradition. This volume represents the first sustained scholarly treatment of George R.R. Martin’s groundbreaking work, and includes writing by experts involved in the production of the HBO show. The contributors investigate a number of compelling areas, including the mystery of the shape-shifting wargs, the conflict between religions, the origins of the Dothraki language and the sex lives of knights. The significance of fan cultures and their adaptations is also discussed.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

A Note on Editions ix

Introduction: On Knowing Nothing (Susan Johnston and Jes Battis) 1

Language and Narration
The Languages of Ice and Fire (David J. Peterson) 15
"Sing for your little life": Story, Discourse and Character (Marc Napolitano) 35
What Maesters Knew: Narrating Knowing (Brian Cowlishaw) 57

"Just songs in the end": Historical Discourses in Shakespeare and Martin (Jessica Walker) 71
Dividing Lines: Frederick Jackson Turner’s Western Frontier and George R.R. Martin’s Northern Wall (Michail Zontos) 92

"All men must serve": Religion and Free Will from the Seven to the Faceless Men (Ryan Mitchell Wittingslow) 113
"Silk ribbons tied around a sword": Knighthood and the Chivalric Virtues in Westeros (Charles H. Hackney) 132

Cursed Womb, Bulging Thighs and Bald Scalp: George R.R. Martin’s Grotesque Queen (Karin Gresham) 151
"A thousand bloodstained hands": The Malleability of Flesh and Identity (Beth Kozinsky) 170
A Thousand Westerosi Plateaus: Wargs, Wolves and Ways of Being (T.A. Leederman) 189

Sex and the Citadel: Adapting Same Sex Desire from Martin’s Westeros to HBO’s Bedrooms (David C. Nel) 205
Beyond the Pale? Craster and the Pathological Reproduction of Houses in Westeros (D. Marcel DeCoste) 225

The Hand of the Artist: Fan Art in the Martinverse (Andrew Howe) 243
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies": Transmedia Textuality and the Flows of Adaptation (Zoe Shacklock) 262

About the Contributors 281

Index 285

About the Author(s)

Jes Battis is an associate professor of English at the University of Regina. His teaching and research focus on intersections between fantasy and sexuality as they occur across a number of historical periods, including the middle ages and the eighteenth century. He is also the author of the Occult Special Investigator series, with Ace Books. Susan Johnston is an associate professor of English at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada, where her courses include George R.R. Martin, J.K. Rowling, and literary historiography and theory.

Frankel's Women in Game of Thrones: Power, Conformity and Resistance

Sorry to have missed this over the summer:

Women in Game of Thrones: Power, Conformity and Resistance
Valerie Estelle Frankel

Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-9416-3
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4766-1554-7
appendices, glossary, bibliography, index
216pp. softcover (6 x 9) 2014
Price: $35.00

About the Book

Game of Thrones, one of the hottest series on television, leaves hundreds of critics divided on how “feminist” the show really is. Certainly the female characters, strong and weak, embody a variety of archetypes—widow queens, warrior women, damsels in distress, career women, priestesses, crones, mothers and maidens. However, the problem is that most of them play a single role without nuance—even the “strong women” have little to do besides strut about as one-note characters. This book analyzes the women and their portrayals one by one, along with their historical inspirations. Accompanying issues in television studies also appear, from the male gaze to depiction of race. How these characters are treated in the series and how they treat themselves becomes central, as many strip for the pleasure of men or are sacrificed as pawns. Some nude scenes or moments of male violence are fetishized and filmed to tantalize, while others show the women’s trauma and attempt to identify with the scene’s female perspective. The key is whether the characters break out of their traditional roles and become multidimensional.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Part I: Controversial Issues in the Series 5
Gratuitous Sex? 5
Rape 8
Male Gaze 16
Fake Lesbian Scenes 23
Race 26
Independent Action versus Acting for Others 31
Part II: Exploring Archetypes and Tropes 37
Female Archetypes 37
The Strong Females 40
The Warrior Woman Archetype 43
The Warrior: Arya and Brienne 47
The Bodyguard: Osha and Meera 55
The Pirate: Asha/Yara 58
The Career Woman: Talisa 61
The ­Warrior-Anima 64
The Feminized Females 71
Widows and Mothers: The Chatelaines and Queen Consorts 76
Maidens: The Innocent, the Orphan, and the Femme Fatale 98
The Prostitutes 112
The Crones 121
The Seers 128
Tricksters: The Sand Snakes 139
Great Goddess: The Heart Trees 141
Monstrous Woman: Stoneheart 144
The Hero Queen: Daenerys 147
Part III: Gender Roles in Westeros 161
Women in Westeros 161
Men in the Gender Biased System 167
Women Despise Men by Despising Women 172
Men’s Attitudes Toward Women 174
Fan Reactions 177
Conclusion 182
Appendix 1. Cast 185
Appendix 2. Episode List 188
Appendix 3. Archetypes 190
Works Cited 193
Index 201

About the Author

Valerie Estelle Frankel has been a storyteller, an award-winning novelist, and a lecturer at San Jose State University. The author of four recent books on popular culture and more than 100 stories and essays, she lives in Sunnyvale, California.