[UPDATE] Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference 2nd Futurist Theory and Fiction: Fear, Horror, and Terror(ism)

full name / name of organization: 
Lee Baxter & David Briggs / SETS Department of University of Guelph
contact email: 
future@uoguelph.ca

Stephen King once stated: “everything we do has a history. No matter where you come in on any situation, you are not coming in at the beginning.” King’s observation diagnoses a primary function of horror fiction: to remind contemporary audiences of their placement within this historical, gothic continuum. Horror narratives may, as Robin Wood famously suggested, reflect “our collective nightmares” but this collective is by no means limited to the contemporary moment for fleshing out these nightmares. Horror implicates readers and viewers by exhuming the past—monsters return, bodies rise from graves, and ghosts haunt the present. Furthermore within the Gothic imagination new terrors lurk beyond our social and technological horizons.
The aim of this inter-disciplinary conference is to investigate the complex and diverse ways concepts of the future play out in Canadian, American, and other narratives including gothic, dystopian, horror, and apocalyptic etc. How do terror and futurity intersect?
This conference seeks papers that explore ways in which concepts of futurity intersect with narratives of horror or terror, or that analyze the implications of monstrous progeny. Forms of representation include cinema, literature, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and (geo)politics.

Areas of inquiry for submissions may include, but are not limited to, the following topics and questions:

-fatalist visions of futurist dystopias depicted in narratives such as Resident Evil, The Road, I am Legend, and zombie / vampire stories

- science fiction portrayals of apocalyptic worlds (Blade Runner, Aeon Flux, Donnie Darko, Johnny Mnemonic)

- new elements or dimensions within horror subgenres (for instance, slasher films of the ’80s)

- delegated genre classics: horror films such as Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Night of The Living Dead and Halloween are credited as landmark films that continue to bear influence on the genre. How do these landmark films impact the future of horror? You may discuss filmmakers (and audiences) who evade the trajectory these films set.

-horror film sequels and book cycles

- the interface between horrific history (including terrorism) and fiction or non-fiction accounts

- the relation between discourses of terror, dystopia or the apocalyptic and the politics of security in a post-9/11 context

- the politics of images of the future that highlight the threat of invaders, real or fantastic

- more generally, how do horror narratives speak to our collective nightmares? Do horror narratives create conditions ensuring these nightmares continue? How does narrative mediate the horrific?

Please send abstracts of no more 300 words outlining your proposed paper to
future@uoguelph.ca by August 13th 2010. We look forward to your submission!
Hosted at the TransCanada Institute at the University of Guelph, Ontario
Friday 19th November, 2010

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