Gothic Trespass: Borders, Bodies, Texts

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
University of Texas at Austin - Program in Comparative Literature
contact email: 

Gothic Trespass: Borders, Bodies, Texts


Colloquium at The University of Texas at Austin

Date: April 1- 2, 2017           

Keynote Speaker: Catherine Spooner, Lancaster University


The Gothic literary mode has always been associated with transgression. Since its inception in the eighteenth century, characters in Gothic novels have trespassed myriad boundaries – sexual, social, political, filial, religious – in order to thrill, to chill, and to entertain, but also to either reinforce social, cultural, and political norms or to critique them. These themes have been taken up by scholars beyond the context of British Gothic, inviting the trespass of the boundaries of the discipline itself, and proliferating into a web of what is now known as Global Gothic. This still evolving wave in Gothic Studies challenges singular interpretations of Gothic literature and its provenance, not only by exposing significant Gothic elements in literature and film produced in diverse languages across the globe, but also gesturing at an increasingly fruitful transnational dialogue among texts. “Gothic Trespass” encompasses the thematic trespass with which the Gothic engages: puncturing of spatial and temporal borders, corporeal passing-through, textual violation. It also points to the way these transgressions are shaping the discipline of Gothic Studies by enacting and sanctioning geographic, linguistic, and generic transgressions.

The Program in Comparative Literature at UT Austin is delighted to host a symposium on the topic of “Gothic Trespass: Borders, Bodies, Texts.” This event aims to bring together new perspectives on the Gothic in a transnational, trans-media, and comparative context. Several fundamental questions will undergird our discussions: What characterizes Gothic dialogues that cross national, linguistic, and generic boundaries? How have various media and technologies of representation visualized the mode? In diverse cultural and political configurations, what lends the Gothic its power? What specific socio-cultural circumstances lead to the ruptures, fears, and anxieties we associate with the Gothic? Finally, how do these texts affect our broader understanding of the Gothic?

We invite papers on comparative and interdisciplinary approaches to these and other questions addressing “Gothic Trespass.” The symposium is intended to culminate in a scholarly publication of selected presentations in a special issue of an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal. 

Please submit a 300-word abstract to for a 20-minute paper, performance, or presentation by October 31, 2016. Proposals should include the title of the paper, the presenter’s name, a 50-word bio including institutional and department affiliation, the form that your presentation will take (if it is not a traditional paper), and any technology requests.