Ancient Artefacts and Special Effects: The Return of the Mummy in Popular Film
Time: 10:30 - 13:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HF252
Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)
What is the course about?
This short course will introduce students to archaeology in popular film. Over two sessions we will explore how archaeologists and their work have been portrayed in cinema, and what makes the archaeologist such an iconic figure in the popular imagination. We will examine critically how women and non-Western cultures (both past and present) have been depicted in film, often in the horror and adventure genres. Covering a range of time periods we will look at the development of the character of the archaeologist from early mummy films to the present day.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- Archaeologists and mummies: from 1932 to the present
- Horror, discovery and exploration in the cinema
- Heroes, heroines and villains
- Orientalism and racism in archaeological films
Selected films to be discussed include: The Mummy (1932), The Mummy’s Hand (1940), "Pimpernel" Smith (1941), Secret of the Incas (1954), Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955), The Mummy (1999), The Mummy Returns (2001), The Indiana Jones Franchise (1981, 1984, 1989, 2008), The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010).
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- have an overview of how archaeologists have become successful popular figures throughout film history
- understand how cinema portrays the past and other cultures and examine this relationship critically.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course and does not assume any previous study or reading, although you will need a good grasp of English to keep up with the course. You will gain more from the course, in terms of enjoyment and learning, if you are able and willing to do some supplementary reading. As with most of our history and current affairs courses, an open mind and a willingness to listen to and think about views with which you do not always agree are more important than specific levels of skills.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will be taught via online platforms (Zoom/Google Classroom) and will consist of a mixture of lecture, Q & A, pair/group and class discussion using primary and secondary sources.
The tutor will provide you with all the reading and online materials you will need via Google Classroom.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
A list of recommended reading material, films and recommended websites will be provided, but this is optional.
General recommended reading:
Glynn, Glynn Basil, The Mummy on Screen. Orientalism and Monstrosity in Horror Cinema (Bloomsbury, 2019)
Holtorf, Cornelius. From Stonehenge to Las Vegas. Archaeology as Popular Culture (Altamira Press, 2005).
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Look for other Film Studies courses under History, Culture and Writing/Film Studies at www.citylit.ac.uk.
Hélène Maloigne is a historian and archaeologist who received her PhD from UCL in 2020. She has 10 years' experience working as an archaeologist in Turkey and the Middle East. She has been teaching archaeology and history at UCL from 2017 and at City Lit since 2020. Her research focuses on archaeology's engagement with the public, through popular media, and how interpretations of the past influence modern and contemporary society.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.