CFP: [General] Spectral Identities: Ghosting in Literature and Film (4/01/08; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Melanie Anderson
contact email: 

Spectral Identities: Ghosting in Literature and Film (4/01/08; collection)

“What does it mean to follow a ghost? And what if this came down to being followed by it,
always, persecuted perhaps by the very chase we are leading?” (Jacques Derrida, Specters of

Ghost hunting is not as recent as popular television programs might make it seem. The figure of
the ghost has changed many times over the past centuries. From Ann Radcliffe’s “explained
supernatural”â€"ghosts who were not even realâ€"to the dead reaching out to the living in
contemporary films like The Sixth Sense, ghostly characters often serve to reflect the changing
fears and anxieties of the cultures in which they reside. In our present moment, ghosts have
invaded our popular culture, literature, and academic and critical discourse. These ghosts,
however, do not have to be traditional supernatural apparitions. In works such as The Turn of the
Screw and The Haunting of Hill House and films like The Others and, more recently, The
Orphanage, the hauntings are open to interpretation and psychological in nature. Moreover,
critics including Kathleen Brogan and Avery Gordon have specifically commented on the social,
political, and cultural aspects of haunting. Through a type of “ghosting,” silenced individuals and
peoples can fulfill the role of the specter.

We are seeking abstracts for a proposed essay collection that will analyze these liminal, elided,
and/or repressed individuals, and, through this conduit of analysis, explore the ever-changing
role of the ghost. To this end, we would like to expand the discussion to include instances in
literature, film, and/or folklore. For this purpose, proposals should go beyond ghostly or
spectral appearances in a “fireside-ghost-story” sense, and move toward analysis of spectral
tropes and/or “ghosted” characters in literature and film that may or may not initially seem to be
overtly supernatural. Using the metaphor of the ghost, where are characters silenced,
marginalized, and how do they struggle through the liminal space or renegotiate the space into
one of power? As Avery Gordon notes, “To write stories concerning exclusions and invisibilities
is to write ghost stories.”

Topics may include, but are not limited to:
• Transgenerational hauntings
• Social ghosting (invisible, excluded, “throwaway” characters and elided history)
• Ghosts and gender
• Memories and Trauma
• Temporal and spatial subversion; time travel
• Global Gothic (ethnic and multicultural dimensions, specters in Japanese, Australian, South
African Gothic, etc.)
• Ghosts and hybridity
• Spectrality and spectral moments
• Self-erasure and/or doubling
• Gothic theories related to hauntings in lit and film not readily identifiable as “Gothic”

Please send abstracts of 300-500 words and a brief CV to Melanie Anderson at by April 1, 2008.

E-mail is preferred, but landmail submissions can be sent to Melanie Anderson or Lisa Sloan at:
The University of Mississippi
Freshman English Department
103 Somerville Hall
University, MS 38677

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Received on Tue Jan 15 2008 - 14:31:34 EST