A Virtual Conference, 7 – 8 May 2021

Keynotes: Dr. Rebecca Duncan, Linnaeus University
Dr. Darren Elliott-Smith

Early Career Researcher and Postgraduate Roundtable: TBA


Since the inception of Gothic Studies, scholars have noted the intersection between modes of horror storytelling and real-world political movements. Some, such as Johan Höglund, have argued that horror imagery has been used to reinforce existing hegemonic power structures. Others, such as Maisha Wester, have argued that the Gothic, while potentially a conservative discourse, is also able to offer commentary that can deconstruct and critique these same formations of power. In a related vein, the Warwick Research Collective has recently argued that the Gothic can be seen as a protocritical response to historical shifts in the capitalist mode of production. These debates regarding the effect and affect of horror upon political consciousness continue beyond literature and film studies circles to historical and contemporary conversations regarding political commentary, rhetoric, and policy the world over. Consider, for example, President Ronald Reagan’s ‘Evil Empire’ speech demonizing the then-Soviet Union, the emerging currency of the term “Brexit Gothic” to describe the contemporary British socio-political climate, or the rise of “Black Horror” to describe texts such as Jordan Peele’s Get Out (2017)and their resonance with real-world experiences of ongoing discriminatory violence.

In order to explore the interdisciplinary overlaps and contradictions surrounding the topic of horror and politics, we will be hosting a two-day interdisciplinary conference with papers, guest speakers, short films, and poster presentations. We invite paper and panel proposals focused on the role of horror and fear tactics in political commentary, political policy, and in film, literature, video games, comics, web series, and other media that demonstrate a clear connection to political sensibilities using horror imagery or affect. This conference welcomes scholarship from all levels of study and academic standing, including undergraduate, postgraduate, early career research, creative and/or craft pieces, and independent scholars. Suggested topics include:

  • Fear tactics in policy creation
  • Horror in reporting and journalism
  • Horror imagery and protest movements
  • Rise of Neoliberalism
  • [New] Imperial Gothic
  • Gothic and Religion
  • LGBTQ+ Politics
  • Slavery and Colonialism
  • Gothic Responses to Climate Emergency
  • Political Genesis of Early British Gothic
  • “Black Horror”
  • Gothic/horror images of military conflict
  • Gothic and World-Literature
  • Horror language in critical discourse
  • “Brexit Gothic”
  • Horror and Propaganda
  • Horror and Gender Politics

Please send abstracts of 350 words maximum with accompanying 150 word maximum author bios to by Friday, 26 February 2021. Final papers should be no longer than 20 minutes. Applicants will be notified of their submission status within two weeks of the final application date. For more frequent updates, follow us on Twitter: @stirlinggoths. For FAQ, contact information, programme, and ticketing information, visit our website: