Theorizing Race in US Horror
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6/30/2018 at 2:14:17 PM GMT
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Theorizing Race in US Horror

As US culture struggles with the resurgence of white nationalism and racial resentment in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, horror stories are quickly becoming the “signature genre of the present moment,” according to LA Times critic Justin Chang. From the critical and commercial success of Get Out to the political commentary of American Horror Story: Cult, horror storytelling appears poised for a new era of political critique centered on issues of race, diversity, and power in America. And yet, mainstream horror in the US has always been more than willing to propagate the very fears that helped propel Trump to office in 2016, especially by focusing on stories of the white family under siege by evil outsiders, a staple of the genre.  

This panel will explore the historical role of race and power in US horror media, asking how popular stories of death and terror have reimagined the inherent violence of US race relations. Can horror stories expose the racial violence at the heart of the American Dream? What role does white guilt play in horror’s vision of pastness and trauma? Can horror media truly address the real horror of America’s history?

If you are interested, please submit (1) a title, (2) a summary no longer than 2500 characters, (3) 3-5 bibliographic sources, and (4) a bio no longer than 500 characters.  Submit materials to by August 6, 2019. Decisions will be communicated by August 20, 2019.

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