Cultural Studies and Media Studies
/ Comparative Literature
Christopher McVey (Boston University)
Jack Dudley (Mount St. Mary’s College)
To what extent does horror operate as an allegory for the nation and the body politic? To what extent can horror function as an aesthetic space to engage and critique the sociocultural, political, and historical contexts from which it emerges? And what happens if or when horror—a genre that seems inherently interested in troubled borders, marginalized spaces, and unstable boundaries—reaches beyond the nation, into transnational and global contexts? As Sophia Siddique and Raphael Raphael write in Transnational Horror Cinema: Bodies of Excess and the Global Grotesque (2016), “From its origins, what would eventually come to be called ‘the horror genre’ has been deeply transnational both in contexts of production and reception.” Does this transnational valence iterate differently among media—e.g. novels, films, video games, and graphic novels—or is there something about twenty-first century horror that is uniquely global? - This proposed panel invites papers that interrogate the relationship between twentieth- and twenty-first century horror and the critical categories of the nation, the global, and the transnational. How do the particular conventions, tropes, and forms most associated with horror facilitate and/or complicate its relationship to the nation? Are the conventions, tropes, and forms of particular national traditions truly exportable and what are the limits of their cultural adaptability? Have recent examples of contemporary horror resisted the transnational and instead laid claim to specifically national visions of horror? By exploring these questions, this roundtable seeks not only to examine how the category of the nation and the transnational have shaped contemporary horror, but how what is still often denigrated as a marginal genre, horror itself, can help us continue to theorize the nation and the transnational as well.
This panel examines contemporary horror in any medium, from the 1960s onward, both within and beyond the nation to develop our critical understanding of horror as a transnational genre. Because horror is often associated with particular affects, forms, tropes, and conventions, participants are encouraged to consider how these characteristic qualities shape horror’s relationship with the nation and open up the possibility of the transnational. We seek not only to examine how the categories of the nation and the transnational have shaped contemporary horror, but how horror itself can help us continue to theorize the nation and the transnational as well.