Welcome to BARS

The British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS) was set up in 1989 by academics to promote the study of the cultural history of the Romantic period. Since then, BARS has organised eight International conferences at various locations in the UK, has published the BARS Bulletin and Review twice-yearly, and currently has more than 350 members.

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monstrous media/ spectral subjects

21-24 July 2009, Lancaster University, UK

Confirmed plenary speakers:

Elisabeth Bronfen, Tanya Krzywinska, Marina Warner
(Further plenary events to be confirmed.)


Gothic forms and figures have long been bound up with different media, from the machinery of Walpole’s modern romance to Robertson’s phantasmagorical shows in the eighteenth century; from uncanny automata to ghostly photographs and monstrous kinetograms in the nineteenth; from cinematic shocks to digital disembodiments in the twentieth. More than merely exploiting new technical developments in cultural production and consumption, Gothic modes, in adopting and adapting new media, engage with excitements and anxieties attendant on cultural and technological change.

Examining conjunctions of literary, visual, spatial and digital texts in relation to spectral and visceral effects and affects, the conference aims to stimulate discussions of the relationship between Gothic fictions and other cultural forms, media and technologies. Doubling monstrosity and spectrality, it sets out to explore the cultural production and consumption of monsters and ghosts from the eighteenth century to the present.

This interdisciplinary, international conference will be hosted by the Department of English and Creative Writing and supported across the University by colleagues in English, Film, Media and Cultural Studies, Gender Studies and the Contemporary Arts. It is hoped that international scholars from diverse fields will participate.

Topics which may be covered include, but are not limited to:

Early visual technologies (phantasmagoria/ magic lantern shows/spirit photography)
Gothic embodiments (staging, smoke and mirrors, automata and mechanical curiosities)
Gothic on screen
Digital Gothic (web, video games, hypertext)
Visualising Gothic narrative (graphic novels, comics and illustration)
Monstrosities (subjects, texts, bodies, forms)
Media monsters
Spectralities (subjects, spaces, environments, images)
Transgeneric crossings (cyborgs, science, fictions)

Send queries and 250-word abstracts to Dr Catherine Spooner and Prof. Fred Botting at monstrousmedia@lancaster.ac.uk by 5 January 2009.

Suggestions for panels and for sessions which break the traditional academic mould are warmly welcomed.

Further information to follow shortly at www.monstrous-media.com