Jack Halberstam argued of Bram Stoker’s seminal horror text that “Dracula is otherness itself.”In doing so, he contextualized the novel’s configuration of the period’s social anxieties toward sexuality, modernity, and antisemitism through the vampire figure. Further, Halberstam suggests that “Dracula is indeed not simply a monster, but a technology of monstrosity,” encompassing a perspective of the horror genre which recognizes its fundamental capacity to express anxieties and fears about the contemporary world.

Written eight decades before Dracula, Frankenstein often earns Mary Shelley the title “the mother of science fiction.” At the same time, this novel also converges around conventions of Gothic fiction and horror to express anxieties about modern technology and science and its relationship to the human, concepts which remain integral to contemporary examples of the genre across mediums.

When writing about modern horror Mikal Gaines reflects how the genre has largely evolved beyond its historical depictions of Black and BIPOC individuals as casualties or monsters to the driving force of the story. Gaines addresses how racism in Jordan Peele’s Get Out functions as the monster, and narrativizes the horror of racialization. Per Gaines’ argument, Peele draws on the tradition in the horror genre of complicating perspectives on race or class, as many argue George Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead film did.

The standards of monstrosity of a particular era manifest in its films, television series, novels, games, and other materials in or adjacent to the horror genre. The definition of horror or monstrousness changes continuously according to the evolution of culture and societal norms and as generic themes and modes of horror enter into the broader cultural consciousness. This call for papers seeks articles that explore what contemporary horror deems monstrous, in what ways, and how this presentation has changed over time. We hope to present an interdisciplinary exploration of how the horror genre has influenced aspects of contemporary culture, including its narratives across media forms and beyond media.

Possible topics for exploration include but are not limited to:

  • A close reading of modern (2010 and later) horror novels, films, television series, or games that critically analyze their relationship to modernity
  • The evolution of an archetype: how have depictions of original horror icons (the vampire, the zombie, Frankenstein, etc.) changed over time? How have they been typified, particularly in their more modern iterations?
  • The transition of depictions of horror icons across media – how have depictions of, for example, zombies, changed across media, such as in the Night of the Living Dead film, the Walking Dead comic or TV series, the Last of Us video game?
  • Real-world ‘horror’ (climate themes, pandemic themes)
  • How have modern horror video games tackled their subjects compared to older iterations in the same or similar series?
  • Topics that explore how horror conventions change across media modes
  • The true crime phenomenon – the rise in popularity of true crime media and its influence on the broader cultural consciousness
  • Exploring the aesthetic differences in presentations of horror across different media modes
  • Compare the evolution of horror in different national contexts
  • Address the lineage of horror in relation to its Gothic origins to a contemporary understanding of the genres

We are seeking articles of 5000-7000 words for publication in the next issue of Scaffold: theJournal for the Institute of Comparative Studies of Literature, Art, and Culture, an open-accessgraduate student journal. Articles will be double-blind, peer-reviewed, and published digitally through OJS. More information can be found here: https://ojs.library.carleton.ca/index.php/J-ICSLAC/index

Please email proposals of approximately 300-500 words to scaffoldjournal@gmail.com, including a brief author bio, by April 29th 2024. Accepted authors will be informed by early May, with full articles due for review by August 5th 2024.

CFP link: https://ojs.library.carleton.ca/index.php/J-ICSLAC/index

Issue publishes December 2024.