Call for Papers – South Asian Gothic

Article proposals are welcomed for an upcoming edited collection on South Asian Gothic, edited by Deimantas Valanciunas and Katarzyna Ancuta.

In recent scholarship on the gothic, it has become a common practice to position the term as a global phenomenon, which transcends not only its Western origins but also conventional narrative and aesthetical configurations. This decentralization of the gothic opened up new possibilities for including cultural productions from diverse geographical locations therefore the appearance of Asia in the broader discussions on the gothic is not an oddity anymore. However, these discussions on ‘Asian Gothic’ are quite often limited to the horror cinema productions from East Asian countries (most notably Japan and South Korea), with a recent addition of South East Asian horror film (predominantly Thai, Indonesian and Philippine productions), and occasional mentions of literature in the region. Surprisingly, India (or South Asia in general) is rarely represented in the ‘Asian Gothic’ category and even more rarely appears individually in the general discussions on the gothic. From the loose interpretation of Dracula in Pakistani film Zindaa Laash (1967) to romantic Bombay gothic tale of Mahal (1949), from Bhoot FM radio programme in Bangladesh to Manoj Chitra Katha horror comics series in Hindi and B-grade gothic horror films of the Ramsay brothers, and from recent Netflix horror mini series Ghoul (2018) to Sinhalese horror film Spandana (2015): the list is not exhausted, and demonstrates vigorous, rich and diverse cultural exploration of the supernatural in South Asia. Therefore, the proposed collection aims, for the first time, to localize, discuss and compare the gothic in this culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse region.

Rather than considering the gothic as a fixed aesthetical category, we propose its fluidity and take it a certain umbrella term, a conceptual framework through which distinctive local cultural practices, historical formulations, national and regional traumas, anxieties, collective violent histories and diverse belief systems are expressed. Gothic in South Asia could be read as a distinctive aesthetical and narrative practice, where conventional gothic tropes and imagery (monsters, ghosts, haunting, obscurity, darkness, madness etc.) are assessed anew and where global forms get consumed, appropriated, translated, transformed, and, even, resisted.

Below is a list of themes the edited collection is willing to address. It is not an exhaustive list and is intended as a guide, not as a set of limitations. We welcome suggestions and proposals on related topics and various media forms.

  • South Asian horror films and literature
  • Haunting memories, wars, trauma, military, partition, terrorism, history and historiography
  • Gender and sexuality and the gothic/horror
  • Myths and their contemporary adaptations
  • Local gods, demons and spirits; folk narratives and their contemporary reworking
  • Folk horror
  • Religion(s) and the gothic
  • Regional (South Indian, Bengali, Pashto, Bhojpuri etc.) gothic and horror
  • (Postcolonial) rewriting of the gothic canon
  • Gothic and horror in South Asian Diaspora literature and film

We are particularly interested in papers discussing cultural productions from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Proposals of no more than 500 words accompanied with a short biographical note of approx. 50 words should be sent to and by 30 November 2018.

The collection is planned for submission to University of Wales Press.

Note on the Editors:

Dr. Katarzyna Ancuta is a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. Her research interests oscillate around the interdisciplinary contexts of contemporary Gothic/Horror, currently with a strong Asian focus. Her recent publications include contributions to B-Movie Gothic (2018), The Routledge Handbook to the Ghost Story (2017), Neoliberal Gothic (2017), The Cambridge Companion to the Modern Gothic (2014), Globalgothic (2013) and A New Companion to the Gothic (2012), as well as two co-edited special journal issues on Thai (2014) and Southeast Asian (2015) horror film.

Dr. Deimantas Valančiūnas is a lecturer of film and cultural studies at the Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies, Vilnius University. His research interests include Indian cinema, postcolonial theory, diaspora studies, gothic and horror cinemas in Asia. He is an editor of a volume From Highbrow to Lowbrow. Studies of Indian B-grade Cinema and Beyond (2014) and a number of journal articles on Indian cinema.