IGA 2013 Debrief : International Gothic Association Conference

I’ve just gotten back from a month in Europe, where I attended the IGA 2013 conference. It is a biannual conference that brings together the biggest names in Gothic scholarship from all over the globe in one location. Having attended mostly conferences pertaining to the disciplines of MEMS and Shakespeare studies, it was a welcome experience to meet up with individuals who are familiar with critics who have become household names in the discipline, academics such as Jerry Hogle, Fred Botting , Anne Williams, and David Punter.


The first keynote address was delivered by Fred Botting, who discussed the idea of the ‘Automaton’ in the Gothic tradition, and its relation to the concept of the ‘Double’, using examples such as the figure of the vampire, and utilising psychoanalytic theories.


The second keynote was delivered by Joan Hawkins from the University of Indiana. I had the opportunity to catch up with Joan on several occasions – she specialises in horror film, and worked closely with Carol ‘Men Women and Chainsaws‘ Clover in the past. Joan’s talk was on avant garde horror and art horror, providing a refreshing look at films outside the ‘canon’.


Sandra Vasconcelos from the University of Sao Paulo gave the third keynote, going beyond the traditional Anglo-centric paradigms of Gothic critique to address the concept of ‘Tropical Gothic’. It is interesting to see how Gothic critique is increasingly expanding to include literary traditions from countries such as Japan, Australia, Asia, and in this case, South America.


Other interesting papers were Kelly Hurley’s paper on hysteria and body horror, Christina Morin’s paper on Irish, pre-Otranto Gothic, Laura Kremmel’s paper on Gothic and 18th century medical theory, Kathleen Hudson’s paper on the role of the servant in 18th century Gothic texts, Anne Williams’ reading of Walpole as a hysteric, and David Punter’s examination of penetration and the human body.


All in all it was a great conference. Got to know lots of people doing contemporary and 19th century stuff, but not many with an interest in Gothic poetry and pre-Otranto stuff. If you happen to be a researcher and have an interest in these fields, do hit me up!


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'horror': Middle English: via Old French from Latin horror, from horrere ‘tremble, shudder’.

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