CFP: 20 YEARS OF THE FINAL GIRL; PCA/ACA National Conference, 31 March-3 April, 2010; Propsal Deadline : 30 Nov.

full name / name of organization: 
Horror Area, Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association
contact email: 


18 pt
18 pt


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Carol Clover's "Her Body, Himself" was
published in 1989, and has since become a standard text for horror criticism,
especially of "slasher" films. Moreover, critics and filmmakers have adopted
Clover's concept of the Final Girl as a truism of the genre. Clover's essay,
which she expanded into the 1992 book, Men Woman and Chainsaws: Gender and the
Modern Horror Film, recasts horror film criticism in terms of the Final Girl,
the nearly-always female survivor of slasher movies who appropriates the
nearly-always male killer's gaze, throws off her female-coded victimhood, assumes
male-coded traits of resourcefulness and bravery, and in some way appropriates
the killer's phallic weapon in order to castrate/kill him.  Clover argues that the killer is
characterized by sexual repression, while the Final Girl is characterized by the
ability to perform masculine activity, and further, the Final Girl is linked to
the killer by her own sexual repression. Clover's theory is compelling, but as
Tony Williams has pointed out, problematic in that her "analysis elevates the
Final Girl into a rigid model. Her work does not closely examine relevant
specific instances within each particular film that often question the validity
of her thesis."


Despite Williams's criticism, there has been
widespread application but little interrogation of the Final Girl concept, and
the 20th anniversary of its publication offers an opportunity to do so. Is
Williams's point valid? Or is he offering a reductive view himself? Has the
Final Girl evolved in the two decades since Clover's essay? Does the concept
need revision, re-conceptualization, or renewal?


The Horror Area of the 2010 PCA Conference
invites submissions focusing on the Final Girl, either in critical work or
applied to individual films or groups of films.


Chair for this session: Will Dodson


We look forward to your submissions.


Submit proposals to Will Dodson: