CfP: Queerness and American Horror Fiction

British Association for American Studies Annual Conference, University of Sussex 25-27 April 2019

In celebration of the fiftieth birthday of the Stonewall riots, this panel explores the intersections between queerness and American horror fiction. Despite the progress made in the past few decades, recent events such as President Trump’s proposed transgender military ban mean that LGBTQ+ rights are anything but a given in the current political climate. This makes the critical study of queerness and its fictional representations more urgent than ever before.

Horror is a particularly useful genre to study the constantly shifting position of queerness within American culture. As many theorists have suggested, horror visualizes cultural anxieties, brings repressed issues out into the open, and creates opportunities for the critical dissection of complex social dynamics (Caroll 1990, Clover 1992, Halberstam 1995).

This panel explores the many ways in which queer horror fiction in any medium intersects with American culture and politics of any era. Horror fiction can be read as a celebration of otherness, a form of social criticism, or even a potential source of political activism. On the other hand, horror fiction often maintains heteronormative stereotypes and thus offers a temporary indulgence in marginalised queerness without facilitating lasting social change. The relationship between queer horror fiction and its extra-textual context is anything but straightforward and merits further exploration.

Papers exploring the tension between celebration, activism and repression, are warmly welcomed, as are interdisciplinary approaches. Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

  • Representations of queerness in horror fiction
  • Horror fiction written by queer writers
  • Readings of horror fiction through a queer lens
  • BDSM, sadomasochism or kink in horror fiction
  • Queer pornography, eroticism and horror fiction
  • Representations of transgender, intersex, genderqueer or non-binary people in horror fiction
  • Asexuality and horror fiction
  • Queerness and monstrosity

This panel will submitted for Targeted Research Panel funding, an BAA initiative to build a more inclusive and diverse scholarly community. Submissions from historically marginalised communities and scholars without regularised institutional support at any stage in their career are particularly welcome.

Please send submissions consisting of a 250-word abstract and a 100-word bio to before 30 September 2018. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with Dr Coco d’Hont using this address or Twitter (@cococatani) in case of any queries.

Image Brett Sayles via Pexels



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