The Dread of Difference(s): Horror, Gender, and Cinematic Defiance (NeMLA 2021 Seminar) (NeMLA 2021)
Organization: Northeast Modern Languages Association (NeMLA)
Event: NeMLA 2021
Since Carol J. Clover’s seminal work Men, Women, and Chainsaws (1992), feminist readings of horror movies have gained an enthusiastic theoretical momentum. In employing various frameworks and lenses and by complicating our spectatorial position, this rich corpus of literature has perhaps contributed to a resignification of the genre and its tropes. However, amid the emergence of luminous movies that defy and challenge horror’s misogynistic and racialized foundations, several questions arise: Is contemporary horror cinema really abjuring its heteronormative, original structure? Does mainstream horror still convey trite reactionary messages with renewed vigor? If a shift in the architecture of horror is truly in place, what are the most defiant examples of the “new wave”, and how do they accomplish this necessary ideological turn?
This seminar invites submissions that explore the ways in which contemporary filmmakers use horror in order to challenge or, conversely, reproduce hegemonic master narratives. Of particular interest are critical analyses of movies that tritely reproduce an oppressive understanding of the space that gender, class, and race occupy in the social. Proposals with an emphasis on Women’s Cinema(s) and LGBTQ cinema(s) are particularly welcome. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
- Postmodern Horror, Humor, and Agency
- Witches, Vampires, Zombies: Conventional or Radical Revisitations of Tropes
- Gender and “Horror Noire”
- Empowered and Disempowering Femmes Fatales
- Horror, or the Reinforcement of Heteronormativity through Fear
- Haunted Houses and Nuclear Families
- Found-Footage Horror and New Articulations of the Slasher
- Empty Vessels: Demonic Possessions and Women’s Bodies
NeMLA seminars require that papers be completed and circulated among participants prior to the conference. Participants will be asked to read all papers and be prepared to contribute to a structured discussion. Presentation time will be limited to a maximum of 10 minutes, focusing on an overview and/or highlights of the paper.
Please submit an abstract of 200 to 250 words describing your proposed seminar paper by September 30th, 2020, to the submission page: https://cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/18766. With your abstract, please include a statement acknowledging these obligations and expressing a commitment to fulfill them.
NB: Participants must submit a complete draft paper no later than February 1st, 2021, to be shared with all seminar participants prior to the conference. Papers should be between 15-20 pages, typed (Times New Roman, 12p) and double spaced, and include a “Works Cited” section. All participants are expected to read each other’s papers in preparation for the session and provide at the conference a one-paragraph response to one person as assigned by the session chairs.
Ruth Z. Yuste-Alonso