The field of media studies has produced rich scholarship on the horror genre and the Gothic tradition in films, video games, and television. Horror has proved a consistently fertile ground for film and media scholars wishing to explore broader implications for the cinema and other media in terms of psychoanalysis, spectatorship and spectatorial identification, cognitive philosophy, cultural studies, industrial analysis, audience and reception studies, national cinema, new media studies and more. Horror in such media as cinema, television, literature, video games, comics, music, and the Internet have also attracted innovative approaches from disciplines including Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, and Gender Studies.
Since the publication of foundational books and essays in the 1970s and 1980s, academic interest in horror has remained constant, inspiring scholarship from many theoretical, historical and cultural perspectives. Currently there are two academic journals devoted to horror media, Horror Studies
and The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies
, while the Journal of Visual Culture
devoted a recent issue to contemporary horror across media. Meanwhile, there have been a growing number of horror-themed academic conferences, especially in North America. This proposal for a Horror Studies Scholarly Interest Group within the Society for Cinema and Media Studies answers a need for a central meeting place for the many strands of horror studies within cinema and media studies. Further, the horror genre has been an increasingly important genre for working through basic problems in media studies. Discussions of horror films have been (and continue to be) central to the elaboration of psychoanalytic film criticism, to feminist criticism, and, more recently, to affect studies. Horror’s status as a “body genre” has made it a privileged vehicle for working through alternatives to Classical accounts of spectatorship and narrative structure, and for exploring the affective possibilities of the medium.
SCMS has regularly hosted a slate of horror panels and presentations, and we seek to formalize its relationship with the field of Horror Studies through the creation of a Horror Studies Scholarly Interest Group. The Horror Studies SIG seeks to bring together the diverse range of scholars and approaches that engage with this genre. It also seeks to bring together scholars and practitioners from a variety of fields who share interest in the topic of horror. No existing SIG
serves this purpose. We recognize the need for community and scholarly recognition within our professional organization. The diverse and international group of interdisciplinary film and media scholars within SCMS is in fact eager for an intellectual, organizational, and networking structure for the purposes of sharing resources, distributing scholarly and professional information, and developing methodological approaches in the comparative arts. The Horror
Studies SIG will emphasize a transmedial approach, encouraging scholars working on the genre
in a variety of media to come together to share their research.
Goals and Objectives:
- The HORROR STUDIES SIG meeting, to take place annually during SCMS, will serve scholars working on horror in a variety of different media, historical eras, and national contexts.
- HORROR STUDIES will work with the Executive Committee and each year’s SCMS
Conference Program Committee as a source of expertise concerning screenings,
curatorial projects, translations, and publication initiatives.
- HORROR STUDIES will encourage Cinema Journal and other film and media studies
publications to publish special issues, dossiers, and interviews.
- HORROR STUDIES will promote a scholarly approach to horror cinema that spans both
“low” generic objects and avant-garde/art-house engagements with horror, and that
includes a wide range of mediums and broad geographical diversity
- HORROR STUDIES will take on special projects, such as designated panels, joint
conferences, plenary participation, screenings, workshops, and web-based initiatives.
The members of HORROR STUDIES will be in good standing of the Society for Cinema
and Media Studies.
- Three members of the SIG will serve as Co-Chairs for staggered terms of three years
each. The Co-Chairs will be elected at the first meeting of the SIG.
- HORROR STUDIES will report elections of Co-Chairs Board of Directors in a timely
- The Co-Chairs will prepare regular minutes of meetings for circulation to their members,
and submit an annual report on activities for the year and attendance figures for their last
meeting to the Board of Directors of SCMS two weeks prior to the annual conference.
- The Co-Chairs shall submit a request every year to the program Committee of the SCMS
Conference for a time and space to meet, as well as funding to support programming (in
response to the annual call made by the Committee).
- At all meetings of the SIG, ten members will constitute a quorum for transaction of
business. The vote of the majority of members present at a meeting at which a quorum is
present constitutes the action of the Group.
- When issues are submitted to members of the Group for vote via email, the members
shall have seven business days to respond. The subject line of the email shall contain the
word “VOTE” to alert the members to act.
- Action on behalf of the Group may be taken without a meeting if a majority of the
members of the Group provide consent by writing or by e-mail. The written consents
shall be filed with the minutes of the next meeting.
Adam Hart (Founding Co-Chair)
Ashley R. Smith (Co-Chair)
Johnny Walker (Co-Chair)
Brian Hauser (Secretary)
Sonia Lupher (Graduate Student Representative)