De-Westernizing Horror Cinema, an academic conference hosted by King’s College London on the 31/10/2022 and 1/11/2022. 

Organised by Dr Iain Robert Smith, Dr Zubair Shafiq, and Dr Alice Haylett Bryan. 

In 2012, Saër Maty Bâ and Will Higbee published their necessary and urgent intervention, De-Westernizing Film Studies. The principle aim of their collection was to “consider what forms a challenge to the enduring vision of film as a medium – and film studies as a discipline – modelled on ‘Western’ ideologies, theoretical and historical frameworks, critical perspectives as well as institutional and artistic practices, might take today” (2012: 1).

This two-day in-person conference at King’s College London takes up the call of Bâ and Higbee and applies it to the field of horror film studies. By interrogating the dominance of the West within existing theorisations of horror cinema, we will ask how a transnational approach to the genre within Asia might help us work towards the broader goal of de-Westernizing horror film studies.

If you have any questions about the event, please contact the organisers at kclfilmconf2022@gmail.com 

The conference programme can be accessed here.

Curating Folk Horror: Reflections on Translation, Critical Transnationalism, and Cross-Over Festival Programming

Cüneyt Çakırlar (NTU) & Zeynep Serinkaya Winter (NTU)

This paper explores the themed selection of “folk horror” film screenings curated for the last Istanbul Film Festival (“Mined Zone: Folk Horror, 8-19 April 2022) by the investigator of the British Academy project titled Transnational Horror, Folklore, and Cultural Politics. The screening programme aimed to introduce Istanbul’s festival audiences to geographically diverse representations of “folk horror” in world cinema. Engaging with the recent revival of folk horror narratives featuring witches, shamans, trolls, djinns, demons, black magic and other folkloric/paranormal phenomena, the selected films ranged from contemporary examples to historically significant examples of (folk) horror. In parallel to these screenings curated with the support of MUBI Turkey and the film festival team in Istanbul, the investigator also edited a folk horror dossier published in Turkey’s leading film magazine ALTYAZI, which included the Turkish translations of the project participants’ original contributions to the issue reviewing a selection of films programmed for the festival and those released on MUBI Turkey as part of the festival programme. Critically reflecting on the curatorial possibilities and limitations in (i) de-westernising horror spectatorship and (ii) facilitating cross-cultural mobility of non-Anglophone horror cinema, this paper will provide an account of the project’s critical transnationalism to understand the contemporary revival of folk horror narratives and its reception in international festival settings.