First-World Medievalism and Participatory Culture

Masterclass & Lecture

by Andrew B.R. Elliott, Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Lincoln.

Monday 5 November 2018
RUG, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Oude Boteringestraat 38, 9712 GK Groningen, Court Room
10.30-13.00 Masterclass
16.00-18.00 Lecture


Organized by the Centre for Religion and Heritage in collaboration with the Agricola Seminar and the Netherlands Research School for  Medieval Studies.


Before 23 October at:
Registration for the masterclass implies registration for the lecture. For students in the Master Religion and Heritage, masterclass and lecture are compulsory.


Please note:

  • Masterclass and lecture (1 ECTS)
  • Students will be asked to write a peer review on a chapter of the book on which Dr. Elliott is working currently.
  • The Master Class is further open for MA-, REMA and PhD-students in medieval studies, communication studies, religion and similar fields.


Contact :

Dr. Mathilde van Dijk,



Tis event focuses on the way in which concepts from the past are appropriated in contemporary (popular) culture. More specifically, it focuses on the re-use of the medieval past. Its subject is the impact of contemporary internet culture on the ownership of the history of the Middle Ages, on contemporary medievalism.

Theorists of media often refer to “participatory culture”, an online creativity facilitated by the rapid expansion and adoption of communication technologies, as a symptom of a broader phenomenon of networked democracy. They often argue that these technologies have brought about a ‘third wave’, a technological democracy or a Web 2.0 revolution in which users are no longer passive absorbers of content, but active creators of meaning. [1] Such a revolution is often implicitly understood as a modern, digital forum, or a democratic enaction of Habermas’ ‘public sphere’, levelling the playing field for all, even if it is neither as open, nor as inclusive, as has been argued.

For the purposes of medievalism, however, such an ‘always-on’ culture poses important new questions about who gets to own, control, and write medieval history. As I have argued elsewhere, the challenge to authority in the writing of history has important ramifications for identity politics. This lecture will thus challenge both the rhetoric of convergence and the effect of such imbalances on the communication of medieval ideas, thoughts, beliefs and ideologies.




Andrew B.R. Elliott is Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Lincoln, where he works on the representation of history in film, television and video games. Author of Remaking the Middle Ages (on medieval film), and editor of The Return of the Epic Film and Playing with the Past (on the 21st-century epic and historically-themed video games, respectively), he has published on a number of aspects relating to historical film, television and video games, from the classical world to the Middle Ages. His recent research focuses on medievalism in online culture, political discourse and films from Tarkovsky to Tavernier. His most recent book is Medievalism, Politics and Mass Media: Appropriating the Middle Ages in the Twenty-First Century (Boydell and Brewer, 2017).


[1] Alvin Toffler, The Third Wave (New York: Bantam, 1984); Axel Bruns, Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage (New York: Peter Lang, 2008); Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide(New York: NYU Press, 2006); Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, Reprint edition (New York, NY Toronto London: Penguin Books, 2009).