Global Horror: Local Perspectives. An Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference
Horror pervades human experience. It affects us both as individuals and as members of social communities, it is recurrent in pop culture and arguably present in all fields of human knowledge and realms of storytelling, from Cronus eating his own children, to Freddy Krueger's sadistic murders in A Nightmare on Elm Street to media coverage of war. As a fundamentally paradoxical concept, horror simultaneously repels and fascinates us: we naturally dread it, yet we are drawn to it. We are taught to avoid that which is horrifying, but the appeal of horror, whether in the form of fiction or sensational news, is irresistible. Indeed, we simultaneously narrate, describe, imagine, consume, dread and crave horror in all of its dimensions, and with the most varied goals.
Horror taps into primal emotions of fear and disgust that are universal to the human condition, and finds expression across cultures and historical periods. Yet the texts that shape the ways in which horror is broadly understood historically reflect predominantly Anglo-European and American cultural, social, historical and geographical contexts.
Horror manifests itself in myriad ways, with ramifications that transcend the lines that demarcate disciplines, subjects and professions. It is only through interdisciplinary engagement that we can develop a more complete understanding of the mechanisms that nations and cultures around the world use to express, process, and cope with horror. The conference therefore offers a springboard for participants from diverse professions, practices and walks of life to engage in interdisciplinary dialogues on topics that include:
- Case studies of un(der)-represented horror traditions in nations and cultures
- How the history, religion, cultural norms of a nation/culture influence local perceptions and representations of horror in literature, film, television, music, art and videogames
- Impact of digital technology on creating and disseminating local perspectives on horror
- How globalisation as a cultural and economic force influences 'local perspectives' on horror
- Creative practitioners whose work shapes local perspectives on horror
- Dark humour and making fun of global horror
- Connections between horror in everyday life and fictional horror
- Impact of real or fictional global horrors on individuals (mental illness, trauma, nightmares, other physiological symptoms)
- Horror in religious/spiritual systems (martyrdom, grotesque/monstrous deities, rituals, etc.)
- Social practices associated with horror: cannibalism, (self-)mutilation, abusive rites of passage, suicide, heresies
- Horror in nation-building (slavery, war, genocide, etc.)
- Medical/clinical perspectives: interfaces of horror and medicine; dealing with patients struggling to cope with horrifying experiences
- Educational perspectives: how the curriculum shapes perceptions of horror, its uses and its impacts; horror in children's stories/horror as pedagogical tool, etc.
- Commodifying horror: dark tourism, etc.
- Technology as agent of horror (weapons, dissemination of fear, etc.)
- How national and international law facilitate and mitigate horror
- Activism as response to horror
- Horror and the media: news coverage, sensationalism
- Horror and space: streets, cities, towns, buildings, deserted areas
- The design of horror: images, branding, advertisement, commercial campaigns involving horror
- Urban legends and local horrors
- Best practice for researching and studying global horror
- Interdisciplinarity as a tool to overcome the indescribability of horror