Queering Dark Academia: Investigating Cultural Expressions of the 'Other' (Seminar)


Cultural Studies and Media Studies / Women's and Gender Studies

Corina Wieser-Cox (University of Bremen)

Nina Voigt (University of Bremen)

Dark academia is a recently emerging term of phrase describing not only an aesthetic within popular culture but also a type of genre involving an academic background, elements of the gothic, and the spectacular. Similar to the speculative supergenre, dark academia often borrows freely from other literary and cultural categorizations, in the way of crime fiction, classical Greek & British mythologies, artistic aesthetics, paranormalcy, romance, villainy, stoicism, and posthumanism. Oftentimes within dark academia, the Other represents a romanticized villain and/or monster with whom the reader and reviewer empathizes with. Through this romanticization, we often find that nostalgia for a colonial history takes centerstage. This is also in relation to elements of abuse, sexual violence, and murder and their integral connection with colonialism, white supremacy, and gendered/sexual hegemony. Due to academia itself being rooted within Western ideology, such as Cartesian systems of knowledge and the Enlightenment, we often find that depictions of dark academia as aesthetic, literary, and cultural forms reproduces hegemonic ideals of colonial thought. This seminar seeks to investigate the many ways in which cultural productions of dark academia through cinema, series, literature, music & art signify Otherness and designate monstrosity. How we might counter and decenter this movement and its inherent nostalgia for an Imperial past by placing it into a more diverse and inclusive background is an integral aspect of this seminar.
This seminar investigates the emerging genre of dark academia and its numerous implications, critically examining its nostalgic approach to Western classical thought. It further questions the figure of the romanticized Other within the genre and its relation to elements of abuse, sexual violence, and murder and their integral connection with colonialism, white supremacy, and gendered/sexual hegemony.