Sexual violence in ancient mythology and in 21st-century screen fiction

As vice director, Elina Pyy focuses on a three-year research project called “Rewriting Rape: Archetypes of Sexual Violence in Ancient Myth and on the Contemporary Screen” (2019-2022), concerning narratives of sexual violence in ancient mythology and retellings of the myths in 21st-century TV and movie fiction. On one hand, the research examines how the heritage from antiquity influences the way sexual violence is portrayed in modern screen fiction, while on the other how current discourses on the right of self-determination and the integrity of the body are affecting the interpretation and rewriting of ancient myths.
The research relates to the academic discussion on whose voices are heard in narratives of sexual violence, how the victim/survivor’s experience is verbalised (or not verbalised) and how textual subjectivity is formed in these cultural narratives.
Pyy adapts narratological methods on research on ancient literature and makes use of feminist film critique in examining the myths’ modern adaptations. She approaches ancient mythology as a living, changeable tradition, in which every retelling of the myths – from antiquity until today – not only mirrors the conditions of its own time, but also changes our view of the significance of the myths.
Pyy is especially interested in applying critical theory from gender, literature, language and film studies on ancient sources. Pyy has published several articles on e.g. the relation between heroism, masculinity and cultural identity in Roman lyrics, as well as the monography The Semiotics of Caesar Augustus (Bloomsbury, 2018), in which she studies the changes in meaning of the figure of Augustus in Western culture.