Poetics, Politics, and the Ruin in Cinema and Theatre since 1945 [Day One]

Friday, April 2, 2021 - 9:00am to 4:00pm

Online Conference


Estelle Baudou, APGRD (Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama), University of Oxford; Anne-Violaine Houcke, HAR (Histoire des Arts et des Représentations), University of Paris Nanterre. 

Scientific committee 

Estelle Baudou (University of Oxford), Anne-Violaine Houcke (University of Paris Nanterre), Barbara Le Maître (University of Paris Nanterre), Fiona Macintosh (University of Oxford). 


References to Greco-Roman antiquity in Europe between the two World Wars ​were abundant: first the ​'Classical​' served the idea of 'a return to order' considered by some as necessary after the heresies of the pre-War avant-garde; ​it then went on to be manipulated by both Fascist and Nazi ideologies. This conference explores how, by reinventing antiquity through working with ruins both politically and poetically, artistic processes as well as works of theatre and cinema record the historical and artistic consequences of this trauma in Europe. While this research is initially rooted in classical reception and theatre and cinema studies, the conference intends to ​enter into dialogue with other fields including archaeology, aesthetics, political sciences, anthropology, and media theory. The aim is to study these processes from 1945 to the present where these traces continue to be detectable in the works of artists in Europe. 

Dates and booking

2 April 2021 (Oxford) and 22 November 2021 (Paris Nanterre)

The first day of this conference will be held online via Zoom. Please email with queries or to book a place.


Day 1: Friday 2 April 2021 - University of Oxford - held via Zoom

9.00-9.30 (London time: GMT+1): Introduction

9.30-10.45: history and myth / histoire et mythe

Respondent/Modération: Laura Marcus, University of Oxford, New College, Goldsmith’s Professor of English literature

  • Werner Schroeter et l’interprétation des ruines (Pierre Eugène, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Études cinématographiques)
  • Theatre amongst the ruins: The poetics and politics of South African adaptations (Mark Fleishman, University of Cape Town, Theatre and Performance Studies)

10.45-11.00 Break / Pause

11.00-12.15: setting and landscape / décor et paysage

Respondent/Modération: Justine McConnell, King’s College London, Comparative Literature, Classical Reception

  • The Ruin as an emblem for Contemporary European Theatre: Milo Rau’s Orestes in Mosul (Nicole Haitzinger and Johanna Hörmann, University of Salzburg, Dance Studies)
  • Antigone à ciel ouvert (Cléo Carastro, EHESS, Anthropologie religieuse et histoire culturelle de la Grèce ancienne)

12.15-1.15 Lunch / Déjeuner

1.15-2.45: war and violence / guerre et violence

Respondent/Modération: Tiphaine Karsenti, Université Paris Nanterre, Études théâtrales

  • Material and immaterial ruin: ta'zieh and Greek tragedy (Yassaman Khajehi, Université Clermont Auvergne, Études théâtrales)
  • Tony Harrison and the Unflinching Gaze (Agata Handley, University of Lodz, Literature Studies)
  • War in Fragments (Estelle Baudou, University of Oxford, Theatre Studies, Classical Reception; Giovanna Di Martino, University College London, Classics)

2.45-3.00 Break / Pause

3.00-4.00: plenary / plénière

Respondent/Modération: Pantelis Michelakis, University of Bristol, Classical Reception

Day 2: Monday 22 November 2021, online (Zoom) and in person (INHA, Paris)>>

Download the Programme