Call for Papers: Progression, Regression, and Transgression in Gothic World Literature & Film: New Approaches to the Ethics of Difference

A Gothic-Without-Borders Conference – September 29th to October 2nd 2023, fully online

Hosted by the Department of World Languages and Literatures (WLL) at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Vancouver, Canada,

Coordinated by the SFU Center for Educational Excellence (CEE), and co-sponsored by the International Gothic Association (IGA)

Deadline for proposals: May 15, 2023
Send to the SFU Conference email: <>

When Horace Walpole explained his invention of the “Gothic Story” in his 1765 Preface to the second edition of The Castle of Otranto, he defined it as combining “ancient” and “modern romance,” thereby signaling that this mode should be regressive and progressive at the same time. He was also suggesting, as does the Otranto story itself, that “Gothic”, as he was recasting it, should be transgressive in an aesthetic sense (since it was a deliberately unstable crossing of generic boundaries) and transgressive in its subject-matter and characters (most of whom are already engaging or are being tempted to engage in transgressive behavior).

Keeping these roots in mind, this conference will underline the global comparative framework of World Literary discourses. We will entertain proposals from a wide range of media including Gothic literature, drama, film, television, cyberspace or other art-forms. In addition, the conference will explore how Gothic-themed productions in all of these modes can augment recent efforts to decolonize, ethnicize, indigenize, and degender academic fields of study. After all, the Gothic’s reinvention from conservative and revanchist to transgressive and revolutionary is still a subject for debate. Progression may also be seen in the widening of critical approaches to the Gothic, encompassing historical, feminist, psychological, queer, reader response, eco-critical, transnational, decolonial, and more. Papers utilizing any of these critical frameworks are welcome. This once “subliterary” genre now seems the appropriate choice for artists to reflect and respond to many issues, including recent concerns about tyranny, freedom, and democracy in our posthumanist world: papers may do the same for Gothic history, past and present. The medium for Gothic representation may be visual art, film, television, video games, music, poetry, drama, or fiction, and we also invite papers that explore the adaptation or remediation from one to another of these media.

The Conference Organizing Committee will entertain proposals about World Gothic in all media for a symposium to be conducted entirely online over 3-4 days. The proposals may range from abstracts for individual papers to suggested panels of multiple papers. The final papers should total 3600 words (or less).

We are following the procedure that proved successful at our first online conference in 2021. Once each proposal has been accepted (proposers will hear back by or before June 15), completed papers should be submitted electronically by September 1, 2023. These papers will be posted and made available to those who register so they can be read before the conference. At the conference, each presenter begins each session with a précis of his/her argument of no more than 10 minutes long; presenters and audience then participate in online discussions based on the full papers.

There will be no conference fee for anyone, but all participants are expected to register for the conference and to be paid-up members of the IGA, at least at the partial level

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We particularly welcome proposals from postgraduate students, other younger scholars, and specialists in Gothic from all parts of the world. The Conference Organizing Committee will attempt to schedule session times to match the time zones of the participants.

Proposals/abstracts for individual papers (proposals no longer than 300 words) should include titles, presenter names, institutional affiliations and e-mail addresses.

Proposals for entire panels that will take place in one-hour online sessions (with each proposal no longer than 800 words) should include a session title, the name and contact information of the chair and abstracts no longer than 200 words from each presenter, with his/her name and affiliation.

If all participants consent and depending on the available technology, sessions will be recorded and made accessible to conference registrants online.

Send all proposals as MS Word attachments, as well as any questions about this conference, to <> by May 15, 2023.