Gothic Futures: Seminars

Gothic Futures: A Sheffield Summer Institute

Monday 8th - Friday 12th July, 2024

Students of our Summer Institute, Gothic Futures, will have the chance to attend one of four seminar strands led by an expert in the field. Each day, seminar leads will run a two hour morning seminar devoted to examining in depth their specific topic, giving students a chance to discuss readings and trace a particular topic in depth. Seminar strands are limited to 12 students per strand on a first come first serve basis, and you will not be able to change strand in the week. Students will be able to select their chosen strand when registering for the Summer Institute.  

Seminar Strands

Strand One - Contemporary Body Horror

Seminar Lead: Xavier Aldana Reyes (Manchester Metropolitan University)

This lecture and seminar series will cover the history and development of 'body horror', focusing on cinema and literature from the 1980s onwards. It will start by considering body horror's mediation of biological fears (disease, ageing, death) then move on to consider both the processes of biopolitical regulation it channels and the transformative ethos that has made the subgenre such a relevant form of artistic expression in the twenty-first century. Sessions will argue that body horror is deeply personal, political and socially committed, and will make a case for reading its various corporeal scenarios as encounters between the individual and an internalised, latent 'other', a dynamic that tackles the ethics of difference and discrimination via empathy, curiosity and radical change. Texts under consideration should include the films The Thing (1982), The Fly (1986), Sick Girl (2006), Crimes of the Future (2022), Fresh (2022) and Hatching (2022), the novels Tender Is the Flesh (2017) and Nightbitch (2022), and the short story collection Bound in Flesh (2023). 

Sessions will be led by Gothic and horror scholar Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes (Manchester Metropolitan University) and based upon his forthcoming book Contemporary Body Horror (Cambridge University Press, 2024).

Strand Two - Caribbean Gothic

Seminar Lead: Sheri-marie Harrison (University of Missouri)

Gothic literature, from its earliest history in England, is linked to colonial settings, where unfamiliar locales inhabited by unknown beings came to characterize what is frightening, forbidden, and needs to be controlled at a distance. European colonization of places like the Caribbean brought into the Gothic genre new terrors ranging from race, landscape, erotic desire, and invasion. In this seminar we will trace the 19th century origins of Caribbean gothic through the slave narrative where Gothic conventions play a key role in revealing slavery’s atrocities, to the 20th century where Caribbean writing returns the colonizer’s Gothic gaze in anticolonial pursuits, and finally to the 21st century, where Caribbean Gothic fiction disinvests from linear narratives of postcolonial progression as it grapples with the struggles of the present. Students who take this seminar can expect to read a sample of texts from and about each of these periods alongside criticism, and by the end will be able to identify and describe the conventions and major themes of the gothic genre in Caribbean literature; explain how gothic themes and conventions work in these different periods in primary texts; discuss the arguments about Caribbean gothic made in multiple secondary critical texts; and articulate original ideas about the Caribbean gothic that are informed by reading, discussion, and independent research inquiry.


This seminar will be led by Dr. Sheri-Marie Harrison. Dr. Harrison is the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Faculty Success in the College of Arts and Science. She is also an Associate Professor of English who researches and teaches Contemporary literature, and mass culture of the African Diaspora. Her first book Difficult Subjects: Negotiating Sovereignty in Postcolonial Jamaican Literature was published by the Ohio State University Press in 2014, and her work in progress currently includes two monograph projects: an author study of Marlon James and a study of genre in Contemporary Black fiction. She is also a co-editor of Jesmyn Ward: New Critical Essays (Edinburgh UP 2023) and the Routledge Companion to the Novel (forthcoming in 2025).

Strand Three - Indian Gothic

Seminar Lead: Aparajita Hazra (Diamond Harbour Women’s University)

This course will look into the various ways in which India has negotiated the Gothic right from the days of the Vedas in the 1500 BCE. The course, spanning from the Vedic ages, right up to the Gothic in the 21st Century, will provide a select reading of India’s interface with the Gothic through literature, popular culture, traditions and religious texts like the Advaita Vedānta.

Sessions will be led by Dr. Aparajita Hazra, Dean, Faculty of Arts, and Professor, Department of English, Diamond Harbour University, India.

Strand Four - The Art of Horror Poetry

Seminar Lead: Christina Sng (Poet, Writer, Essayist, Artist)

Dive into the world of horror: its origins and how it mirrors us and our fears. How do we carve our terrors into poetry? How do we shape our anxieties into art? We will examine the purpose of horror and how it can be a safe space for us to explore the dark side of life. Will it be horrific or cathartic? Let’s find out together.

Sessions will be led by Christina Sng, the three-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author of A Collection of Nightmares, A Collection of Dreamscapes, and Tortured Willows. Her poetry, fiction, essays, and art appear in numerous venues worldwide, including Interstellar Flight Magazine, New Myths, Penumbric, Southwest Review, and The Washington Post. She currently serves as Vice President of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association.

More information and registration details to be announced in due course.

We look forward to seeing you all this Summer!