Film & History Horror Area CFP: Our Monsters, Ourselves

deadline for submissions: 
July 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Film & History Conference

CALL FOR PAPERS -- Abstracts due 7/1/18!!!

Our Monsters, Ourselves

An area of multiple panels for the 2018 Film & History Conference: 

Citizenship and Sociopathy in Film, Television, and New Media

November 7-12, 2018

Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, Madison, WI (USA)

Full details at:

DEADLINE for abstracts: July 1, 2018

It is often said that every era gets the monster it needs. Whether they maintain or challenge the status quo, guard or confront power, champion or eradicate difference, our cinematic monsters tell us more about our own lives than about the fantasy worlds they inhabit. Cultural, racial, and religious others often become those monsters, as anxieties about identity, loss, corruption, invasion, and rapid social change bubble over onto the screen. Likewise, we—and those like us—become the monsters as we cling to outmoded values and ways of being.

How do we use our cinematic monsters to craft the stories we tell about ourselves, and our ever-changing fears?  In what ways do our monsters defend or interrogate our ideas of nation? With so much real-world horror interwoven in our daily lives, how might our monsters be a source of coming to terms with—and perhaps healing—the evils of the world? 

Potential topics might include, but are not limited to: 

  • National horror (Don’t Breathe, The Witch, The Walling, The Purge)
  • Monsters among us(Invasionof the Body Snatchers, Cherry Tree Lane, Cloverfield)
  • Power, politics, and horror (Society, The People Under the Stairs, The Howling)
  • Making racism’s horrors explicit (Get Out, White Dog, Candyman)
  • Buying into the horror: monstrous consumption (Fido, The Stuff, Dawn of the Dead, American Psycho, Street Trash)
  • The horrors of aging (Drag Me to Hell, Rosemary’s Baby, The Visit, Rabid Grannies)
  • Fear and fascination: our romance with sociopathy (My Friend Dahmer, The Killer Inside Me, Zodiac)
  • Body horror: Fear of frailty (Malefique, Don’t Look Back, Tusk, Teeth)
  • Stuck in a post-9/11 horror film: What’s next?

Abstracts that engage with genre horror films as social commentary are particularly welcome. Proposals for complete panels of three related presentations are also welcome, but should include an abstract and contact information (including email) for each presenter. 

Please e-mail your 200-word proposal to the area chair: 

Ashley R. Smith

Northwestern University