CFP: Don’t Look: Representations of Horror in the 21st Century

includes “Horror and Nostalgia”

Capture d’écran 2017-11-18 à 17.01.34.pngOne Day Symposium

28th April 2018

University of Edinburgh


Keynote Speaker: Dr. Sorcha Ní Fhlainn (Manchester Metropolitan University)



We live in scary, uncertain times. In recent years, we have witnessed the rise of hard-line nationalism, the ascendency of racist alt-right politics and attacks on the increasingly fragile-looking institution of democracy. We contend, daily, with the threat of seemingly inevitable ecological catastrophe. The Horror genre has always been understood as a potent mirror and bellwether, able to digest the socio-cultural and political currents of a given moment and feed them back to us in uncompromising and disturbing ways. This conference seeks to consider how representations of horror are changing in our own contemporary moment, where the line between fiction and reality, truth and lies appears to be fraying beyond recognition.


Recent academic scholarship on horror has diverged towards topics such as: fear and the appearance of reality within found footage horror; the multisensory perception of horror in video games, television and theme parks; and the rise of concepts such as ‘The Horror of Philosophy’. There has also been a focus towards contemporary studies of Queer Horror and appropriation, audience participation, and changing tastes in horror fandom. This one-day multidisciplinary conference seeks to analyse representations of horror since 2000, with particular emphasis on current trends and cycles, and the ways in which horror can be said to reflect contemporary anxieties and fears.  We are specifically interested in determining some of the ways in which these aesthetics have changed and why. We would especially welcome research that addresses the causes of some of these changes in representations of horror across media and academic disciplines.



(for 20-minute presentations)


Topics might include (but are not limited to):


Contemporary Representations of Body Horror

Generic Mutations

New Horror Television (American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, Hannibal, etc.)

Abjection and Transgression

Horror and Trauma

Experimental/Avant-Garde/Underground Horror: Film, Art and Literature

Horror and Nostalgia


News Media Representations of Horror

Virtual Reality (VR) horror

Horror and Disability

Contemporary Cult Horror

New Genres, Subgenres and Hybrids

Horror and the Senses

Queer Horror and Performance

Horror Fandom and Audiences

Literary Horror Adaptations

Shudder, Chiller and Contemporary Horror Networks and Viewing Platforms




As a postgraduate led conference, we also welcome submissions from Masters and PhD students to present work-in-progress papers, which will be 15 minutes in length (as opposed to the usual 20 minutes). We believe these work-in-progress panels will be useful for gaining helpful feedback from peers on ongoing research.




Please submit proposals of 200-250 words, along with a short biographical note (100 words) to by Wednesday 7th February 2018. Accepted presentations should be 20 minutes in length (15 min for work in progress).


We also welcome video essay proposals. Contributors should upload their video to Vimeo, preferably to a password protected page, then email the relevant URL and password, along with a 200-word proposal and a short biographical note (100 words) to by Wednesday 7th February 2018. PLEASE NOTE: We ask that video essays be no longer than 10 minutes in length, to allow sufficient time to make a formal presentation after the video is screened.


Applicants will be notified of the outcome by Monday 19th February 2018.


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