American Folk Horrors (edited collection)

deadline for submissions: 
October 29, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Dawn Keetley
contact email: 

There has been a veritable outpouring of both popular and academic writing on folk horror in the wake of folk horror’s resurgence in the post-2009 period. The last three years, for instance, has seen an excellent and comprehensive documentary film, Kier-La Janisse’s Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror (2021); a special issue of the journal Revenant: Critical and Cultural Studies of the Supernatural (2020) dedicated to folk horror (with a special issue of Horror Studies in the works); and four collections of scholarly essays either just published or forthcoming in 2023 (see Bacon; Bayman and Donnelly; Edgar and Johnson; and Keetley and Heholt).

While Janisse’s documentary devotes a significant length of time to American folk horror and at least two of the academic collections include a handful of essays on the topic, the overwhelming focus of this scholarship has been British folk horror. This is not surprising, of course, since the articulation of folk horror as either a genre or a literary and cinematic form emerged from writers’ engagement with specifically British folk horror (see, e.g., Macfarlane, Beem and Paciorek, Newland, Scovell, Cowdell, Rodgers, Thurgill, Chambers, and Luckhurst). In a self-perpetuating feedback loop, definitions of folk horror that center British texts inevitably render British texts more visible as folk horror.

This collection of essays will join the scattered critical essays that address American folk horror and will enter the conversation about distinctive ‘American’ folk horror traditions. Crucially, ‘American’ will be interpreted as broadly as possible, to consider the variegated traditions of folk horrors in the Americas (Canada, Mexico and Central and South America). The collection will also take up the ways in which ‘American’ folk horror inevitably has global tentacles, as other national folk horror productions become critical to the American tradition and the American culture industry shapes other national folk horror productions. Of particular interest are essays that theorize folk horror in light of: Indigeneity, settler-colonialism, migration, displacement, diasporas, uneven economic development, race, class, borders, land, ecologies, and climate – although all approaches are welcome. The collection will consider all media: literature, film, television, streaming, digital media, video games etc.

Please send an abstract of around 250 words and a 150-word bio to Dawn Keetley at by October 29, 2023. Acceptances will be sent out within three weeks, and essays of around 6,000 words will be due May 13, 2024. I do have a publisher interested in the proposal. Please feel free to send along any inquiries at any time. You can email me or message me on Facebook or Twitter.  

For the evolving bibliography of folk horror, see