Valeria Dani (Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow)
Ruth Z. Yuste-Alonso (Hendrix College)
As a porous and allegorical cinematic genre, horror has inspired convincing theoretical analyses that unveil its political potential. Horror movies, especially in their depiction of the Other and definition of evil, have increasingly become a significant ground for interpreting shifting modern dynamics of gender and race. However, as Christopher Sharrett (1996) reminds us, overlooking the class dynamics produced by late capitalism when examining horror would fatally limit ourselves to a liberal understanding of identity politics. This seminar invites contributions that highlight the role of racial and patriarchal capitalism in representing class in horror films. In this light, together with Mark Steven (2017), we ask: how is horror absorbing, responding, or resisting the dynamics of capitalism? How is class and consumeristic accumulation portrayed in horror? Is this an inherently bourgeois genre? What are the fates of working class characters in mainstream horror films -- or, conversely, does their absence speak to an eloquent marginalization? We especially welcome submissions that focus on the following tropes:
Haunted houses and the architectonic crystallization of capital;
Domestic personnel and the politics of ‘serving’ the ruling class in horror;
Cityscapes and class stratification in the genre;
Articulations of otherness and evil;
The audience of horror and the ever-changing nature of fear;
Suburbia as the theater of horror.
Please submit an abstract of 200 to 250 words describing your proposed seminar paper by September 30th, 2021. Accepted participants must submit a complete draft paper no later than February 1st, 2022 to be shared with all seminar participants before the conference. Papers should be between 10-15 pages, typed (12p) and double spaced, and include a “Works Cited” section. All participants are expected to read each other’s papers prior to the session and provide a one-paragraph response to one person as assigned by the chairs.
This seminar invites contributions that highlight the role of racial and patriarchal capitalism in representing class in horror films. How is class and consumeristic accumulation portrayed in horror? Is this an inherently bourgeois genre?