“Arabian Knights”: Rethinking the Oriental Gothic (PAMLA 2024 Special Session)

deadline for submissions: 
April 30, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
contact email: 

Deadline for abstracts: Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Conference Date(s): Thursday-Sunday, November 6-10, 2024 

Conference Location: Palm Springs, California

Format: In Person (no virtual option available!!) 

Submit abstracts via: https://pamla.ballastacademic.com 

Contact for Inquiries: Noah Gallego @noahrgallego@gmail.com, cc: Rachel Birke @ rbirk001@g.ucla.edu 


“In fact the whole of Japan is a pure invention. There is no such country, there are no such people.” In his seminal essay “The Decay of Lying,” Oscar Wilde highlights the integral yet problematic status of an immaterial East in the Western imagination. As Wilde’s “strange yellow book” in The Picture of Dorian Gray demonstrates, the Gothic has always been inflected by Orientalist fantasies. Drawing inspiration from Antoine Galland’s translation of One Thousand and One Nights, Gothic writers from William Beckford to Siouxsie and the Banshees have represented the East as a fantastic and horrific place rife with ghouls, sorcerers, and concubines. 

This panel seeks to explore the intersection of the Gothic and Orientalism across space, time, and media and illuminate the ways in which the East, broadly conceived, has been translated into the Gothic imagination. Some possible themes include: exoticism and fetishism, queerness, degeneration, and Eastern corporealities. 

Questions to guide prospective panelists are but not limited to: 


How has the monstrous and Eastern Other configured in the Western imagination?

What can the parallel configurations of Others and the self in these two literary and cultural aesthetic patterns tell us about colonial epistemology? 

How are eurocentric and imperial logics reproduced and enacted in Gothic fiction? 

How do ideas associated with the Gothic (like horror, terror, the sublime, and even pity) interact with racial and imperial ideologies? 

What do “the Gothic” and “Orientalism” mean? 

How can these paradigms be implemented in a modern anti-colonial dialogue? What is the future of Oriental Gothic in the 21st century?