Skip navigation

There is a metaphysical gravity that pulls consciousness towards the incomprehensible darkness of ‘dread,’ like the impulse to willingly dive into the abyss, as into something utterly unknown – an analogy made famous by Kierkegaard in The Concept of Dread. But what is dread, exactly, and what are the cultural, philosophical and physical significances of a genre that uses dread as its primary structure of feeling? Is ‘horror’ even a genre? Can it be encompassing of dread, terror, angst or revulsion? Contributions are invited for an edited anthology titled Something Stirs in the Shadows: Textualising Horror and Theorizing the Indian, which will focus on horror – body, dispositional, supernatural, cultural or cosmic – as the silence of philosophy, a (non)genre hard to pin down.

This volume will have two primary focii: horror as a (non) genre, and the Indian Horror Experience. The first concerns itself with the (in)validity of horror as the nihil negativum(negative nothingness), and will consist of theoretical attempts to come to grips with horror as a genre, while the second will consider the Indian Horror Experience as a canon which confirms/negates/problematizes the postulations of Part I. The anthology will therefore be open to horror narratives (literary, cinematic, musical, performative, et al) across time periods and spaces that engage with the Indian experience, as well as broader theorizations on the status of horror as a signifying narrative category.

The anthology attempts to fill the critical gaps that exist both with respect to the study of popular genres in India as well as more holistic theorisations on horror. It is targeted primarily at an academic audience and should act as a companion for the study of national and international genre narratives. It will, however, attempt to find new forms of engaging with horror as well – the interview, the graphic essay and other nontraditional ways of academic writing – and should, therefore, also be of interest to a non-academic audience concerned with a seemingly straightforward ‘consumption’ of horror. It will be published with a leading academic press. Written articles should be around 3000-7000 words (including notes and bibliography) and in English. Graphic essays and contributions in other non-traditional forms may be wordless or follow other narrative patterns. Contributions for Part 1 should have a strong theoretical underpinning and should engage with horror as whole or specific aspects of horror, while those for Part 2 should delve into significant issues of the Indian Horror Experience in whatever ways seem fit.

Possible topics for Part 1, on horror as a genre, include, but are not limited to:

What constitutes horror? Is it a genre or a mood/sentiment/structure of feeling? Is anything that engenders the emotion of “art-horror” (Noel Carroll, The Philosophy of Horror, or the Paradoxes of the Heart) generically “horror”?
Do the narrative delights of horror stem from form and/or content, its syntactical and semantic elements, or is it open to historical vagaries and reader response?
Horror as a philosophy- Is it binding, in Lovecraft’s words, “…to leave our humanities and terrestrialism at the threshold,” to appreciate the credo of horror? Is horror anti-humanistic?
Horror as space of theorizing – Julia Kristeva, for instance, takes horror as the manifestation of the resistive semiotic elements in classic literary texts in Louis Ferdinand Celine
The transnationality of horror
Genre deviations – comic horror, giallo, video games, etc.
The economics of horror
Postmodernity and horror

Possible topics for Part 2, on the Indian Horror Experience, include, but are not limited to:

Genre deviations in India
Cinema and the evolution of horror
Horror in vernacular/Indian-English literatures
Horror and folk narratives
Histories of the horror genre in India
Colonial/Post-colonial approaches to horror
Indian society, politics and horror
Psychoanalysis and Indian horror
Religion and horror

Abstracts of no more than 500 words are invited by October 15, 2016, to

Please attach a current CV with institutional affiliation along with your abstract.

Authors of selected abstracts will be notified by October 29, 2016. The deadline for completed articles is April 1, 2017.

Editors: Dibyakusum Ray (NIT, Silchar) and Sudipto Sanyal (Techno India University)

Contact Info:
Dibyakusum Ray (Assistant Professor, English, NIT Silchar, Assam, India)

Sudipto Sanyal (Assistant Professor, English, Techno India University, Kolkata, India)

Contact Email: