The Gothic Age of Television: Edited Collection, Call for Papers

deadline for submissions: 
November 1, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Aoise Stratford and Joel Hawkes
contact email: 


The Gothic Age of Television

Edited Collection, Call for Papers


The last three decades have witnessed a proliferation of Gothic television programs. Some provide a platform for the Gothic’s most fantastic mode of expression, with vampires, werewolves, and zombies invading our screens. Closer to home but decidedly unheimlich, domestic spaces are haunted by uncanny secrets in programs from Twin Peaks to Top of The Lake. Still other programs, like Game of Thrones and Black Mirror, capture the Gothic’s obsession with barbaric pasts and threatening futures. Subtle elements of Gothic emerge in a wide range of non-Gothic programming, such as Mad Men and Breaking Bad, revealing the true extent of the genre’s influence.

Perhaps, just as Black Mirror’s techno-mediated future reflects – and reflects upon – the present moment, this Gothic resurgence responds to the transformations and uncertainties of our time.  In other words, we might read the Gothic, as it repeatedly has been, as a genre that re-emerges at times of cultural anxiety.

The screens, and the streaming services that play this Gothic programming might, then, themselves be read as “Gothic devices,” even more transformative than the technologies that that have inspired and shaped the Gothic narratives of past centuries.

This call for papers requests proposals that explore this resurgence in the Gothic as it is mediated through television programming, and the proliferation of screens and streaming services, at the beginning of the 21st century.

The collection looks to theorise this Gothic revival.  Papers might offer close readings of particular shows, ponder themes and tropes, trace trends in programming, consider the importance of the television medium in this revival, or examine the Gothic technologies of streaming screens and other devices. 

The collection looks to be, like Frankenstein’s monster, hybridic, a composite, and larger than the sum of its parts, deploying a range of critical methodologies and lenses--including Queer theory, postmodernism, and post-human studies--and seeking to embrace some of the many different ways in which we can have conversations about Gothic Television.

Essays might examine shows such as (but not limited to),

Stranger Things, Penny Dreadful, Carnival Row, Outlander, Buffy, Angel, Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Sherlock, Twin Peaks: The Return, Sharp Objects, Mad Men, Black Mirror, Top of the Lake, Game of Thornes, Frankenstein Chronicles, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Supernatural, The X-Files, Bates Motel, Hannibal.

Essays might explore a number of topics, and ask and answer a variety of questions of Gothic television, such as (but not limited to),

Streaming, binging, booting, seriality, and the structure of Gothic television

How do screen mediums and consumption habits speak to a sense of the Gothic?

21st century spaces / 21st century Gothic

How is space/place/setting important to Gothic television?  What Gothic implications are there for the “space” of the streaming screen?

Twin Peaks: The Return

Why is Twin Peaks: The Return important?  How does it make use of the Gothic?

Vampires and their slayers

How does the vampire inhabit the new century, this gothic revival, and an age of streaming screens?

Dissecting 21st century monsters

What and who are the important monsters of this Gothic television revolution?

Gothic nostalgias

How do Gothic shows (re)imagine the past?  What is the relationship of the Gothic to the plethora of reboots, returns, and sequels on our screens?

Gothic futures

How do Gothic television shows imagine the future?  What kind of future is Gothic programming creating?

Gothic fantasy

How do Gothic and fantasy interact on our screens?  What has led to the rise of this important sub-genre?

Gothic marginalities

How are those on the margins important to the Gothic?  How are questions of race, gender, class, or sexuality important in terms of marginality and isolation, but also community, inclusivity, and diversity?  What is the role of the so-called “normative”?

Abstracts of 300 words and a brief bio should be sent to the editors, Aoise Stratford (Cornell University) and Joel Hawkes (University of Victoria) at

Deadline for abstracts is 1 November 2020.  (Final papers will be of about 5000 words, due end of April.)