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Monthly Archives: January 2019

ICFA 40 “Politics and Conflict”
When: March 13–17, 2019

Where: Marriott Orlando Airport Hotel, Orlando, Florida, USA

Guest Scholar: Mark Bould (University of the West of England)

Guest Author: G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel, Alif the Unseen)

Cost: Regular registration ($135 for nonstudent registrants, $55 for students) closes on January 30. Note that the Friday Guest Scholar lunch is included with your registration fee. The other meals cost extra.

Late registration closes on February 22. After that you must sign up on site.

Hotel update: The conference hotel is SOLD OUT. Thank you to all who support the conference by choosing to stay at the Marriott! However, we have negotiated a block of rooms at the conference rate of $140/night at the nearby Sheraton. The rate is good March 13 to 17. The last day to book is February 13.

The overflow hotel’s direct conference link is here:

Looking forward to seeing you in Orlando!

Karen Hellekson, ICFA Registrar (iafareg AT

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Open Topic Comics Panel at American Literature Association 2019

deadline for submissions:
January 28, 2019

full name / name of organization:
Comics and Graphic Narratives Circle at the American Literature Association

contact email:

Comics & Graphic Narrative Circle

American Literature Association
30th Annual Conference

May 23-26, 2019

Westin Copley Place
10 Huntington Avenue Boston, MA 02116

Call for Papers:

The Comics & Graphic Narrative Circle welcomes abstracts for an open topic panelat the 2019 ALA conference in Boston. We especially encourage proposals that highlight new directions and trends in the study of American comics, graphic novels, webcomics and other forms of graphic narrative. Established and emerging scholars are invited to apply.

Please email an abstract (of no more than 350 words) and a brief biographical note to Alex Beringer ( later than Jan 28th.

Conference on Narrative Games

deadline for submissions:
February 22, 2019

full name / name of organization:
Stefan Hall / High Point University

contact email:

Conference on Narrative Games

Keynote Speaker: Rachel Noel Williams (Narrative Designer at Obsidian Entertainment, Lead Narrative Designer at Telltale Games, and Narrative Writer at Riot Games)

Over the history of game design, a fundamental consideration for creators is the inclusion of narrative. Some might consider the introduction of narrative in game design as radical as the introduction of sound into film. Not all games require, or even benefit from, a narrative. For those games that involve narrative – from merely situating a player to deeply involving the player in the creation of a narrative experience – this inclusion can influence the games in a multitude of ways. Through the interrelation of interactivity principles, game mechanics, and narrative elements, games can tell stories in a way no other medium can. The success of recent games such as Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead, Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn, and Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us delivered narratively immersive experiences for their players. Long-running franchises from Zork to King’s Quest to The Legend of Zelda have narratives that not only span multiple games but also other media such as novels, comic books, and televisual productions.

To celebrate all the ways that games incorporate, create, and advance narrative, the Game & Interactive Media Design Program at High Point University (High Point, NC) is hosting a conference on narrative games. Soliciting a wide variety of perspectives on all types of narrative games – not just video games but tabletop games, board games, card games, wargaming, and more – this conference aims to both interrogate and celebrate the interplay of games and narrative.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Balancing player agency within a narrative-driven game
Franchise reboots and the impact on narrative history (such as Gears of War IV (2016) or God of War (2018))
Player Reception
Players’ interpretation co-construction of interactive narratives
Physical and cognitive aspects of narrative interactivity
Game worlds and cultures
Game narratives in larger society
Casual games, interactive text-based narratives, exploration and walking simulators, and other narrative-driven games outside of mainstream deployment/reception
Story-telling through environment and asset design
Transmedia storytelling, particularly engagement with game narrative across multiple media platforms (e.g. The Walking Dead as part of a large franchise)
Intersectional discussions of representation of characters and cultures
Encouraging values through narrative design
Abstracts should range from 250-500 words and include a sample bibliography.

Abstracts should be directed to any of the four members of the conference committee:

Dr. Stefan Hall –

Dr. Kris Bell –

Dr. Kelly Tran –

Mr. Brian Heagney –

Please indicate “Narrative Game Conference 2019” in the email header.

Conference presentations should be 20 minutes in length. Please note any AV needs in your abstract submission.

Deadline for submissions: Friday, February 22nd

Acceptance notifications: Friday, March 1st

Conference: Friday-Sunday, April 12-14th

Registration fee: $40 for faculty, $20 for students (payable on site)

The Game & Interactive Media Design program is housed within the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication at High Point University (HPU). The program was named a Top 50 Game Design program in 2017 by the Princeton Review. HPU is located in High Point, NC, which is part of the Piedmont Triad including Greensboro and Winston-Salem. High Point is a short ride from the Piedmont Triad International airport (GSO) in Greensboro, the city is directly serviced by Amtrak, and is easily accessible from I-40 by car. The program also benefits from its close proximity to the Research Triangle which houses major development studios including Epic Games, Red Storm Entertainment, and Insomniac East.

Gothic Feminism 3: Technology, Women and Gothic-Horror On-Screen

deadline for submissions: February 15, 2019

full name / name of organization: Dr Tamar Jeffers McDonald, University of Kent

contact email:

Gothic Feminism presents:

Technology, Women, and Gothic-Horror On-Screen 

2 – 3 May 2019

University of Kent

Keynote speaker: Dr Lisa Purse (University of Reading)


Gothic and technology appear, on the surface, to evoke contradictory connotations. As David Punter and Glennis Byron highlight, the Gothic came to be a term associated with the “ornate and convoluted”, “excess and exaggeration, the product of the wild and the uncivilized, a world that constantly tended to overflow cultural boundaries” (Punter and Byron, 2004, 7). Technology, on the other hand, is a term often linked to science, innovation and progressive invention. If the Industrial Revolution is emblematic of what one imagines a technological revolution to be, then technology becomes synonymous with the associations defining 18th Century culture, described by Terry Castle as “the period as an age of reason and enlightenment – the aggressively rationalist imperatives of the epoch” (Castle, 1995, 8).

Yet technology and the Gothic have been linked and have interacted since the latter’s beginnings in fiction. From the earliest reception of the original novels that give our Gothic films their name, fans and critics alike referred to the “machinery” of the narratives, implying that that the mechanisms that made them go were audible. Clara Reeve, who wrote The Old English Baron – itself is a tad creaky – commented on The Castle of Otranto that “the machinery is so violent, that it destroys the effect it is intended to excite” (Reeve, 2008, 3). And Horace Walpole, himself, made reference to the story’s “engine” (Walpole, 2014, 6).  The Gothic can thus be conceptualised as metaphorically mechanical, a link explored within a different context by Jack Halberstam who writes that “Gothic fiction is a technology of subjectivity … designed to produce fear and desire within the reader” (Halberstam, 1995, 2).

Technology and the Gothic have also intersected in more literal terms, as with the horror created by the intersection of the two in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818). On the one hand, the novel stands as a canonical Gothic text, and Ellen Moers argues that the story can be defined as the Female Gothic, a term commonly associated with the women-in-peril narratives which later saw the influence of Gothic literature translated onto the cinema screen in Hollywood during the 1940s. On the other hand, the tale of an unnatural and scientific birth is credited with establishing the generic tropes of science fiction, a mode of storytelling which is indebted to technology and acknowledges “contemporary scientific knowledge and the scientific method”, as Barry Keith Grant suggests. He also continues: “Science fiction, quite unlike fantasy and horror, works to entertain alternative possibilities” (Grant, 2004, 17). However, Fred Botting notes that the combining of science fiction and Gothic – two “generic monsters” – reveals a “a long and interwoven association” whereby both genres “give form to a sense of otherness, a strangeness that is difficult to locate” (Botting, 2008, 131).

Our conference aims to explore this relationship between technology and the Gothic by focussing upon its intersection as depicted on screen within visual media, with a specific focus on how such concerns impact on gender representations and, in particular, women. This connection may be explored figuratively: the “machinery” identified in Gothic fiction can also be extended to the filmic Gothics which centre upon the Gothic heroine. The Hollywood 1940s Gothics possess noticeably excessive convolutions of plot, as with Sleep, My Love (1948), and one could argue this trend has continued in contemporary returns to the Old Dark House and horror with films like Crimson Peak(2015). Technology may also be physically present within these Gothic-horror films. If the “machinery is so violent” in Crimson Peak’s narrative, then this is additionally foregrounded within the diegesis: Thomas Sharpe’s engine for extracting the red clay from the ground stands as both a metaphor for the genre’s mechanical plot – drawing on familiar tropes which unearth deadly secrets – as well as functioning as a visual spectacle around which the climax of the film shall take place.

Actual mechanical or technological inventions which impact upon the story may be wide-ranging: the railway, cars, telephones, recording devices, electric light and gaslight are just some examples of technologies integrated into the narratives of Gothic films, often with the intention of contributing to the imperilment and oppression of the central heroine. Technology can also do this by evoking the uncanny, itself a phenomenon which forms “the background and indeed the modus operandi of much Gothic fiction” (Punter and Byron, 2004, 286). Tom Gunning demonstrates this when he recounts several versions in early cinema of a woman-in-jeopardy story, Heard Over the Phone, which could almost be Gothic in that the woman is in her own home and menaced there by a male assailant. Drawing on Freud’s musings upon the ambivalent nature of technology, Gunning highlights the ambiguous – and uncanny – position of the telephone: it is a device which brings the absent near through sound, but actually this serves only to underline the actual distances involved. Gothic-type narratives, gender, and technology merge in these early films to reveal “the darker aspects of the dream world of instant communication and the annihilation of space and time” (Gunning, 1991, 188). 

More recent Gothic and Gothic-horror films may update these technologies to include computers, the Internet and mobile phones. Technology also includes film and the moving image itself: this conference will explore how filmic technologies mediate and emphasise the connection between technology, the Gothic, and gender, including through the use of visual effects. Film is a particularly apt medium through which to contemplate these ideas as cinema’s ontology embodies both technology’s scientific roots and the Gothic’s appeal to excess and the supernatural. As Murray Leeder notes: “With its ability to record and replay reality and its presentation of images that resemble the world but as intangible half-presences, cinema has been described as a haunted or ghostly medium from early on” (Leeder, 2015, 3).

These ideas may also be explored by expanding upon the original notion of Moer’s Female Gothic: if the literary Female Gothic is defined by female writers working in this mode, then this conference would also like to explore how female filmmakers have made use of Gothic-horror conventions. It is significant to note that the most iconic examples of Gothic films focusing on stories about the victimisation of women, particularly in the 1940s, were directed by men. By thinking about the technology behind the screen, this event will also consider what influence women filmmakers have had upon this tradition, including within present day, and what further reflections may be offered between this relationship of the Gothic to gender and technology.

With this third annual Gothic Feminism conference, we invite scholars to respond to the theme of technology in the woman-in-jeopardy strand of the Gothic and Gothic-horror film or television.

Topics can include but are not limited to:

– the tension between Gothic and technology as the supernatural, fantastic and paranoia versus the rational, reason and logic. How do these elements intersect with the representation of gender in film and television?

– the traditions of the Gothic heroine on-screen and her interaction with technology. Does technology help the female character or is it another agent of terror used against her?

– the technology behind the screen. How have female filmmakers used the genres of Gothic-horror to express themselves?

– the technology of the screen. How has the technology of cinema, including visual effects, been used, and how do these aspects interact with the representation of the central female protagonist/s?

Please submit proposals of 500 words, along with a short biographical note (250 words) to by Friday 15th February 2019.

We welcome 20-minute conference papers as well as submissions for creative work or practice-as-research including, but not limited to, short films and video essays.  

Conference organisers: Frances A. Kamm and Tamar Jeffers McDonald

This conference is the third annual event from the Gothic Feminism project, working with the Melodrama Research Group in the Centre of Film and Media Research at the University of Kent. Gothic Feminism explores the representation of the Gothic heroine on-screen in her various incarnations. 

Glitches and Ghosts – An Interdisciplinary Conference – 17th April

deadline for submissions: February 17, 2019full name / name of organization: Lancaster Universitycontact email:

Glitches are moments of disruption; they represent the exposure of technical process, moving away from the binaries of input and output to consider what comes in-between. The growing ubiquity of interconnected systems prompts a desire to understand such intangible networks around the user, an attempt to try and engage with these digital phenomena as alternate forms of ‘presence’ that cannot help but recourse to anthropocentric terms – virus, cloud, render ghost. The frequent ethereality of such language attempts to visualise, embody, and comprehend the profusion of technical systems that we share the atmosphere with, their very terming gesturing to their spectral protrusion into, ostensibly, ‘our’ reality. The eruption of pixels, voxels, and glitches haunts our peripheral vision, a deceptive representation of a far more intangible sphere.

‘Glitches and Ghosts’ seeks to diagnose and analyse contemporary cultural fascinations with the emergence of these digital artefacts, and how their spectral presence has come to define our current technological moment. This symposium aims to bring together researchers who are enticed by the prospect of re-conceptualising definitions of digital-based ontologies as a paradigm to engage with an era of technophobic anxieties and technophilic domination.

We are delighted to announce Dr. Will Slocombe as our keynote. Will’s research ranges between various aspects of twentieth and twenty-first century literature, focusing primarily on Science Fiction (particularly representations of Artificial Intelligence), Postmodernism, and metafictions of experimental literature. His upcoming book Emergent Patterns: Artificial Intelligence and the Structural Imagination is due out in 2019.

We welcome abstracts for 20 minute papers which engage with the confluence of glitches and ghosts within any medium or form. Suggested topics include:

• Digital art – glitch aesthetics, pixels, voxels, drone shadows, distortion etc. 
• Détournement and system subversion – e.g. hacker ‘heroes’ and neoliberal dissent.
• Technophobia – network alienation and technological anxieties. 
• Glitch and/or ghosts in music – synthwave, sampling, remixes, etc.
• Cloud spectrality, unseen network presences and how we visualise them. 
• Ghosts in the machine, electronic voice phenomenon, white noise etc. 
• Render ghosts, digital advertising and the disruption of imagined ontologies. 
• Doppelgangers, sample image databases and the ‘ownership’ of personal data. 
• Unshackled virtual consciousness, e.g. A.I. and the breaking of constraints.
• Disruption of the virtual – glitches, bugs, cheats and other subversions. 
• Digital spectres – eternal or lingering existence within the network. 
• Viral anxieties and data transmission; conceptualisations of network ‘presence’. 
• Secular digitalities, virtual ‘gods’ or spirits and ontological transcendence.
• Permanence and/or ephemerality of data, system collapse and user anxiety.
• Creative practice and the deployment of glitches and/or ghosts within media. 
• Remixed ontologies, disruption of identity boundaries and bricolage forms. 
• Omnipresent networks, ‘invasive’ devices (i.e. Alexa) and disconnection.
• Machine learning and emergent behaviour from algorithmic structures.

Please submit a 300 word abstract to with a 50 word bio-note by 17th February 
#glitchesandghosts #glitchconference @GlitchGhosts

ICFA 40 “Politics and Conflict”
When: March 13–17, 2019

Where: Marriott Orlando Airport Hotel, Orlando, Florida, USA

Guest Scholar: Mark Bould (University of the West of England)

Guest Author: G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel, Alif the Unseen)

Event details

Cost: Early registration closes on January 14. Regular registration goes up to $135 for nonstudent registrants and remains $55 for students. Prices go up again for late registration! Note that the Friday Guest Scholar lunch is included with your registration fee. The other meals cost extra.

Late registration closes on February 22. After that you must sign up on site.

Hotel update: January and the first week of February are usually our highest hotel registration periods. We currently have plenty of rooms except for the Monday before the conference, when the hotel block is sold out. Every other night except March 11, 2019, is currently available, but please do remember that the hotel does sell out, and once our block is filled, we will be unable to increase the block. If you are notified that our block is filled, please get in touch immediately. We will then negotiate for an overflow hotel, if possible.

Graduate students: Not sure yet if you got funding? Go ahead and book your room anyway. You can always cancel it, and the conference hotel nearly always sells out. Also, the room rates at the conference hotel are by room, regardless of the number of people in it. Feel free to share!

Problems logging in? What if the system fails to recognize your name/e-mail combination? Don’t create a new profile. STOP and e-mail me. I can update your info.

Do you have a credit? (The system will tell you.) Sign up as usual, which will generate an invoice. Then STOP. Do not pay. Instead, e-mail me with the invoice number or numbers and tell me to apply your credit. I will then contact you with your outstanding balance, if any.

Looking forward to seeing you in Orlando!

Karen Hellekson, ICFA Registrar (iafareg AT