CFP | A Haunted Structure: Contemporary Horror Film and Class Analysis (NeMLA 2022 Seminar)

Ruth Z. Yuste-Alonso's picture
Call for Papers
June 16, 2021 to September 30, 2021
Maryland, United States
Subject Fields: 
Film and Film History, Popular Culture Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies

CFP | A Haunted Structure: Contemporary Horror Film and Class Analysis (NeMLA 2022 Seminar)

As a porous and allegorical cinematic genre, horror has inspired convincing theoretical analyses that unveil its political potential. Horror movies, especially in their depiction of the Other and definition of evil, have increasingly become a significant ground for interpreting shifting modern dynamics of gender and race. However, as Christopher Sharrett (1996) reminds us, overlooking the class dynamics produced by late capitalism when examining horror would fatally limit ourselves to a liberal understanding of identity politics. This seminar invites contributions that highlight the role of racial and patriarchal capitalism in representing class in horror films. In this light, together with Mark Steven (2017), we ask: how is horror absorbing, responding, or resisting the dynamics of capitalism? How is class and consumeristic accumulation portrayed in horror? Is this an inherently bourgeois genre? What are the fates of working class characters in mainstream horror films -- or, conversely, does their absence eloquently speak to a significant marginalization? We especially welcome submissions that focus on the following tropes: 

  • Haunted houses and the architectonic crystallization of capital; 
  • Domestic personnel and the politics of ‘serving’ the ruling class in horror; 
  • Cityscapes and class stratification in the genre; 
  • Articulations of otherness and evil; 
  • The audience of horror and the ever-changing nature of fear; 
  • Suburbia as the theater of horror.  

Please submit an abstract of 200 to 250 words describing your proposed seminar paper by September 30th, 2021 to the submission page: With your abstract, please include a statement acknowledging these obligations and expressing a commitment to fulfill them. 

Accepted participants must submit a complete draft paper no later than February 1st, 2022 to be shared with all seminar participants before the conference. Papers should be between 10-15 pages, typed (12p) and double spaced, and include a “Works Cited” section. All participants are expected to read each other’s papers prior to the session and provide a one-paragraph response to one person as assigned by the chairs.

Should you have any questions, please contact Valeria Dani ( and Ruth Z. Yuste-Alonso (


About the NeMLA Convention

NeMLA's annual convention is an opportunity for scholars across the humanities to gather for four days of intensive scholarly inquiry and discovery. The 53rd Annual Convention will be held March 10 to 13, 2022, in Barltimore, MD. The theme of NeMLA 2022 is CARE "as the practice of interdependency, admitting our vulnerabilities as humans, animals, and other living organisms of the Anthropocene." Given the ongoing challenges that we are facing, NeMLA invites proposals that allow for stimutating conversations about, but not be limited to, pressing questions of representation, migration, the environment, and identity.

Contact Info: 
Ruth Z. Yuste-Alonso, Ph.D.
Hendrix College
Contact Email: