CFP: Afterlives 2021

The Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at CSU Long Beach and Forest Lawn Museum present:

Afterlives: Reinvention, Reception, and Reproduction

November 6, 2021

Forest Lawn Museum, 1712 S. Glendale Ave, Glendale, CA 91205

The deadline for submissions for Afterlives 2021 has passed.

We look forward to accepting submissions for our 2023 conference in Summer 2023.



Call for Papers

The Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at California State University, Long Beach, in collaboration with Forest Lawn Museum, invites submissions for the biennial conference, Afterlives: Reinvention, Reproduction, and Reception. We invite scholars from any discipline to approach the ways in which texts, objects, and images of the ancient, medieval, and Renaissance past have been reimagined, repurposed, reconstructed, and reproduced in later periods.

Recent scholarship has fruitfully traced the ways in which we construct narratives of the past according to contemporary desires. There remains, however, ample room for further investigation. Forest Lawn Museum is an ideal site for exploring the afterlives of the past as constructed in the present. Founded in 1906, Forest Lawn is home to dozens of reproductions of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance works of art and architecture. It was created with the goal of bringing the Grand Tour to Southern California when travel to Europe was not accessible to the vast majority of American society. From full-scale marble replicas of Michelangelo’s sculpture to buildings that freely combine classical, Romanesque, and Gothic elements in novel and imaginative ways, this version of the Grand Tour was both influenced by and influential upon the culture of twentieth-century California. Rather than simply replicating existing works of art and architecture, entirely new monuments were created, which simultaneously call upon the past while proliferating new experiences, meanings, and identities.

This conference invites investigation of such uses of the past with the broadest possible scope. We ask scholars to consider engagements with the past in terms of ongoing processes of reinvention, reproduction, and reception. Considering the vast and ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, topics analyzing the role of earlier pandemics on historical memory and the shaping of historical epochs are encouraged. Papers that address popular culture, such as contemporary fantasy literature and television, twentieth-century Hollywood epics, gaming, popular and folk music, theme parks and other immersive amusement sites, historical reenactments, costume design, and cultural or folkloric festivals, are welcome. Studies on medievalism and more traditional scholarship on reproductions of antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance are also encouraged, including investigations of architectural reconstructions, medieval and Renaissance narratives of antiquity, the role of medievalism in museums, and non-European perspectives on reinventions of the past. We welcome proposals for twenty-minute papers as well as planned panels of three papers pertinent to these themes and their manifestations anywhere in the world.

Afterlives: Reinvention, Reproduction, and Reception will be an in-person conference held in accordance with LA County Covid-19 protocols. Participants should be prepared to meet at Forest Lawn Museum on November 6. In the event that LA County Public Health rules prohibit an in-person event, the conference will shift to a virtual format and partial registration refunds will be processed.

Individual paper submissions should include:

  • abstract of approximately 150 words
  • contact information and one-page CV 

Panel Submissions are welcome and should include:

  • contact information and one-page CV for organizer / chair 
  • names and abstracts (c. 150 words) for all presenters 
  • one-page CVs of all presenters
  • short (c. 150 word) description of the panel itself 

Please send all application materials to:,, and The EXTENDED deadline for all abstracts and panel submissions is June 30, 2021.

Topics of exploration for individual papers or panels may include, but are not limited to:

  • Hybrid reconstructions of the past (Hearst Castle, Forest Lawn, Disneyland, The Getty Villa, The Citadel Shopping Center, etc.)
  • Medieval and Renaissance reconstructions of antiquity
  • Nationalism and referencing the past 
  • Posthumous cults of the artist
  • The medieval subject on the Renaissance stage 
  • Chivalry and its reliance on the past (in any period) 
  • University curricula and how we teach the past
  • Non-European reconstructions of the past
  • Philosophical traditions of citation and authority
  • Time travel and anachronism
  • Hollywood’s constructions of the past
  • Medievalism and the West: the American frontier and the distant past
  • Politics of historical accuracy 
  • The Ancient/Classical literary setting: Old English Biblical narratives, the Roman Antique and Romances of Antiquity, Middle English, Old French retellings of Troy, etc. 
  • Medieval/Renaissance fantasy in online gaming
  • The Renaissance pleasure faire and medievalist counter-culture in America
  • Industrialism and desires for the past
  • Dungeons & Dragons and participatory constructions of the past
  • Racialized imagery from the Medieval to the Modern
  • Post-Modernity and the past
  • The impact of pandemics in reconstructing and remembering of the past