CFP: Horror!

Submission deadline: January 26, 2020

Conference date(s):
April 3, 2020 - April 4, 2020

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Interdisciplinary Studies, Gettysburg College
Gettysburg, United States

Topic areas


Gettysburg College Philosophy and Film Seminar


Call for Abstracts

April 3 – 4, 2020

Seminar Director: Vernon W. Cisney,

Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Gettysburg College

Keynote Speaker:

Kendall Phillips, Professor of Communication and Rhetorical Studies, Syracuse University

Professor Phillips’ books include A Place of Darkness: The Rhetoric of Horror in Early American Cinema; Projected Fears: Horror Films and American Culture; and Controversial Cinema: The Films that Outraged America.

The Gettysburg College Interdisciplinary Studies Program, in cooperation with the Cinema and Media Studies Program, is delighted to announce the 5th annual meeting of the Gettysburg College Philosophy and Film Seminar, entitled “Horror!” From the earliest artistic expressions of the human spirit, we know that humans have always been enamored of, fascinated with, excited by, attracted to, and repulsed by, the horrifying. Few human experiences are as rife with paradox as our relation to the horrific; and with its combination of affective power and physical safety, few avenues of experience provide such tremendous possibilities for the exploration of horror as does film. Horror in film therefore provides multiple avenues of theoretical exploration and analysis, from the philosophical to the cultural, economic, sociological, theological, aesthetic, and psychological.

The Gettysburg College Philosophy and Film Seminar will be held on the campus of Gettysburg College in historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, just one hour from Baltimore and ninety minutes from Washington, D.C. The vision of the seminar is to provide an intimate setting where collegial and rigorous intellectual enrichment of an interdisciplinary nature can take place. In the true spirit of the liberal arts, we invite submissions of abstracts from across the spectrum of academic disciplines.

Suggested questions include, but are not limited to, the following:

-      Is there such a thing as ‘arthouse horror,’ and if so, what does it look like?

-      What do films like Get Out reveal about cultural differences of interpretation regarding horror?

-      What conceptually creative purposes can horror serve? 

-      How can we crave an experience for that by which we are repulsed?

Seminar Details and Submission Instructions

Dates and Events: The seminar will take place on Friday and Saturday, April 3 – 4, 2020. In addition to the seminar sessions, there will be a public keynote address delivered by Professor Kendall Phillips from Syracuse University; a Gettysburg College Student Panel, titled ‘Horror and the Subaltern’; and a public film screening. To ensure the intimate collegiality of the event, we will accept no more than twelve participants to the seminar. For this reason, we ask that seminar participants plan to attend all associated events over the course of April 3 and 4.

Format: To optimize intellectual enrichment, the primary format of the seminar will be discussion, as opposed to presentation. Accepted papers will be collected and distributed to seminar participants one week prior to the seminar, to allow a basic familiarity with the arguments in advance. The participant’s allotted time at the seminar will then be forty-five minutes, ten of which will be devoted to the presentation of key passages and elements of the argument. The remaining thirty-five minutes will be dedicated entirely to discussion. With this in mind, in preparing an abstract, participants should think in the direction of approximately 12-15 pages for their papers.

Travel and Costs: There is no registration fee for the seminar, and shuttle transportation to and from either Dulles airport in Washington, D.C. or BWI in Baltimore will be provided at no cost to seminar participants, for flights arriving or departing between the hours of 9 AM & 9 PM. In addition to light breakfasts, there will be light snacks, lunches, and dinners provided throughout the seminar, except for Saturday evening’s dinner, where we will go to a local brew pub (participants who join for dinner will be responsible for their own meal cost that evening). As the events span the entirety of both days, participants traveling by air will want to plan to arrive on April 2 and depart on April 5, though we also encourage extending your stay should you wish to visit the battlefield or the Gettysburg National Cemetery. The GCPFS has blocked rooms at a conference rate, discounted for seminar participants, at the Gettysburg Hotel in the heart of downtown Gettysburg, just a few blocks from campus.

Please submit detailed abstracts of no more than 600 words, in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format, to the seminar director, Vernon Cisney, at [email protected], no later than January 19, 2020. Any questions may be so directed as well. In the abstract, please include title, author name and institutional affiliation, and contact information.

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)