Cthulus, Cults and Klansmen: The (Hi)stories within Lovecraft Country

deadline for submissions: 
April 9, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Centre for the History of the Gothic


An Online Symposium

Date: May 20  

Extended deadline for proposals: April 9 2021

This symposium is entirely FREE to present at and attend as it will be held online. Stay tuned keynote speaker names and presentation titles.

2020 was a seemingly unprecedented year. A global pandemic erupted even as the US was seized by  another wave of anti-Black violence perpetrated by law enforcement and supported by terrifying  groups of armed Trump supporters. In the midst of this chaos, Misha Green released the award winning series Lovecraft Country, based upon the Matt Ruff novel by the same name. The series  explores America’s history on interracial, gendered, sexual violence and international violence  through the metaphor of encounters with magic-wielding villains and other-worldly creatures.  Notably, many of the most impactful and haunting scenes are not those featuring cthulu-like  creatures attacking innocents but are rather scenes which recreate a history that is horrifically  similar to the nation’s present state. And yet critics nonetheless argued that the show was not  “enough like Lovecraft” and failed to replicate his tone and style sufficiently. However, such  critiques miss the point: Lovecraft’s sensibilities are exactly what the series seeks to dismantle.  

This online symposium, hosted by the Centre for the History of the Gothic at the University of  Sheffield, seeks to unpack the history, theory, and sociopolitical commentary neatly woven  into the series Lovecraft Country. Remaining mindful of the show as a Horror series, this  symposium will evaluate Green’s manipulations of Gothic and Horror tropes in conveying a  powerful and complex critique of contemporary America. To this end, we invite brief papers  (5-8mins) for sessions which will be held in a roundtable format. We particularly welcome  presentations which focus upon the following themes in and/ or related to the series:  

 The problems of Lovecraft’s (and his successors) ideologies  

 The politics/ centrality of intersectionality  

 The challenges of adaptation  

 Ethno-weird writing as (corrective) fan fiction  

 Histories of anti-minority violence  

 The “magic” of white privilege  

 The politics of violence  

 Feminist Politics  

 Queer Politics  

 Ancestral Trauma  

 Gothic Afrofuturism  

Please submit a maximum 300-word abstract with a title, list of keywords, and 100-word bio  to maisha.wester@sheffield.ac.uk by April 9. Please use the  following for your email’s subject line: “Lovecraft Country Symposium abstract”.