Re/Making the Past is a two-day symposium focused on historical fictions on screen, stage, audio and on the page.

From popular television (The TudorsReignOutlanderVikings etc) to Booker-prize winners (Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies), film (The HandmaidenThe Young Victoria), video games (Assassin’s Creed franchise, Civilization The Legend of Sword and Fairy) and more, historical fictions are a significant part of twenty-first century culture.  Contemporary audiences engage with the past as entertainment more than they engage with it through education. Historical fictions reveal more about the time in which they were produced than they do about the period that they represent. 

This symposium aims to explore the cultural work done around identities in the twenty-first century by fictionalised pasts. How do we make who we are now by re-making the past? Which identities are included and excluded from narratives of particular periods? What present identities are projected back into, for example, ancient Rome, the European Middle Ages, eighteenth-century Japan, the English Regency, pre-colonial America, the Victorian era, the antebellum South? How do constructions of race, gender, sexuality, nationality, dis/ability and more use imagined pasts to create themselves in the present? How are hegemonic identities created or resisted by representing history? 

The symposium is convened by Dr Kelly Gardiner, Dr Kylie Mirmomahadi, Dr Catherine Padmore, and Dr Helen Young of La Trobe University.

The symposium is generously supported by the English and Theatre Disciplinary Research Program and the portfolio of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research)  of La Trobe University.

Our public event, featuring Kate Forsyth,  is generously supported by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature.


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