Urban Gothic: Haunted Cities, Spectral Traces (24 April 2010)

full name / name of organization: 
Ben Brabon, Edge Hill University
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Urban Gothic: Haunted Cities, Spectral Traces
A one-day conference in Liverpool, UK
24 April 2010

Organised by the North Gothic Network, a regional network of the International Gothic Association, in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University, Liverpool John Moores University and Edge Hill University.

Scholars of Gothic are increasingly welcoming historicised studies of Gothic and literary criticism examining how Gothic tropes and modes are inflected for a particular time and place. Even more specifically, critics call for studies not only of historicised Gothic, but of localised Gothic.

In a discussion of these recent trends, Roger Luckhurst suggests that Gothic criticism pay fresh attention to the way location functions, for, 'it is worth recalling that ghosts are held to haunt specific locales, are tied to what late Victorian psychical researchers rather splendidly termed "phantasmogenetic Centres". This might suggest that the ghosts of London are different from those of Paris, or those of California.'

This conference takes the specificity of urban 'phantasmogenetic centres' as an organizing principle, aiming to explore particular representations of urban gothic in literature, film, television and graphic novels. We invite abstracts for 20-minute papers focusing on identifying, untangling or savouring gothic elements in literary, cinematic and graphic representations of particular cities, both past and present.

Keynote speakers include Professor Sue Zlosnik (MMU), Dr Ben Highmore (Sussex), the artist Gerry Gapinski, who illustrates graphic novels of urban gothic, and Dr Heidi Grunebaum (tbc), scholar of South African urban topography and Apartheid.

Proposals are welcomed on, but not limited to, the following topics:

- Globalised cities, global Gothic
- Urban underworlds: crime and exploitation in urban space
- The labyrinthine city
- Gothic cartographies
- Gothic flâneurs/flâneuses
- Regional cities, regional Gothic
- Nineteenth-century urban Gothic
- The city as prison
- Paranoia in urban environments
- Haunted cities
- Monstrous cities
- Urban vampires
- Urban temporalities and nostalgia
- Vidler's architecture of the uncanny
- Tortured narrative and tangled streets
- Uncanny repetition in urban space
- Political subversion in urban gothic

Please send your abstracts to
Ben Brabon and Sara Wasson at
gothic@edgehill.ac.uk by 8 February 2010