Critical Approaches to Youth Horror

deadline for submissions: 
June 17, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Kyle Brett and Ethan Robles/Lehigh University
contact email: 

Most of us remember what scared us as children: the bumps in the night, the dark alleys, and the monsters, ghouls, and ghosts brimmed with the potential to terrify. The thrill of dodging the terror that waited in the shadows fuels many horror fanatics to return to the theatres, bookstands, and now podcasts to relive youthful feelings of dread. It should be no surprise, then, that youth horror media is pervasive. From Goosebumps and the upcoming release of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark to Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark? and the CBBC’s Creeped Out, there is an abundance of media that introduces children to the horror genre.

Despite this abundance of material, there is very little scholarship that identifies the purpose of such targeted horror. What end do these media strive for in targeting children? Does early saturation of these horror tropes in childhood, the stoking of fears, prep future viewers as they move on to more adult aspects of the genre? Does youth horror build on folklore, teaching its young viewers moral tales? This edited collection will chart the field of youth horror, specifically film and television. It will focus on the largely neglected collections of horror television shows and films created for young audiences, aiming to foster new thought regarding a population that is often considered to be vulnerable and susceptible to media messaging.  In the midst of a renewed interest in horror as a medium for the expression of cultural and social issues, this collection will take advantage of an underdeveloped field of scholarship and create new scholarly conversations focused on youth and young adult television and horror film.

We are looking for a broad base of scholarship from emerging and advanced scholars. We are open to chapters that include different types of media, but prefer chapters focused on popular youth horror film and television. To this end, here is a list of shows and films that we hope to cover within the collection:

  • Scooby Doo (Television series and films)
  • Creeped Out
  • Goosebumps
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?
  • R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog
  • Ahh! Real Monsters
  • Tales from the Crypt Keeper
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy
  • The Nightmare Room

Potential topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Spatial boundaries/unknown spatiality (e.g., basements, attics, sheds)
  • Representations of gender and race
  • Monstrosity and the abject
  • Depictions of Others and Otherness
  • Definitions and conceptions of folktales, myths, legends, and urban legends
  • Ecocritical and animal studies

We are sending this proposal to Lehigh University Press, specifically to the series Critical Conversations in Horror Studies.

Please submit abstracts of 500 words and a brief bio to Kyle Brett and Ethan Robles at by June 17, 2019. Articles will be limited to 5,500 - 6,000 (+500 words for notes and bibliography).

Proposed Timeline:

  • Abstracts due: June 17, 2019
  • Articles due: September 2019
  • Edited articles due: December 2019