CFP: Horror After Psychoanalysis

Posted by Dale Townshend on September 08, 2011 in News tagged with ,

Call for Papers: ‘Horror After Psychoanalysis’, order A Special Issue of Horror Studies, edited by Dale Townshend.

Psychoanalysis, be it in its orthodox Freudian forms or via the revisionist theories of Lacan, Kristeva and Žižek, has become a dominant critical metalanguage in contemporary accounts of horror.  Notions of the unconscious, the uncanny and the abject are firmly entrenched within literary-critical discourse, while much film theory continues to invoke Lacan in its accounts of the cinematic gaze.  But, to paraphrase Deleuze and Guattari, has psychoanalysis not caught horror in the noose of an implacable grip?  For all the apparent transgressions of the mode, do psychoanalytic readings not effectively reduce horror to a predictable set of theoretical concepts, not least of all Eurocentric conceptualisations of subjectivity subtended by culturally and historically contingent notions of the family?  To what extent is psychoanalysis a legitimate theoretical lens with which to approach, say, Asian horror, and how might we employ it in a context in which Freudianism in contemporary Gothic writing is increasingly the subject of  parody and ironic critique?  Is there a place for horror beyond psychoanalysis?    Does contemporary culture attest to the emergence of what we might term ‘post-psychoanalytic horror’, and, if so, what are the political and theoretical implications thereof?  How might we begin to conceive of horror, filmic, literary and otherwise, outside of the therapeutic frame, beyond the analyst’s couch?

While acknowledging the important contribution that psychoanalysis has made to the modern critical vocabulary, this special issue of Horror Studies seeks to solicit essays on the theme of ‘Horror After Psychoanalysis.’  Topics might include, but are by no means limited to, the following:

  • Contemporary horror and the limits of psychoanalytic criticism
  • The Gothic after abjection
  • The politics of psychoanalysis in contemporary horror and its reading
  • Horror and ethics after the real
  • Freudian parody in contemporary horror film
  • J-horror, K-horror and the cultural limits of psychoanalysis
  • Vampires, Zombies and desire-without-lack.
  • The queering of Oedipus in modern and contemporary Gothic narratives

Potential contributors are required to submit articles of between 8 000 and 10 000-words in length (although longer articles will also be considered) to Dale Townshend at by 31 March, 2012.   The journal’s style guide, to which all authors are urged to adhere, may be accessed via a link on the following page:,name=journalstyleguide/

Timeline:   Upon receipt, manuscripts will be peer-reviewed, and those accepted for publication returned to authors with feedback and any suggestions for revision by early May, 2012.   Final versions of all reworked essays to be returned to editor by 31 July 2012, for publication in December 2012.

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