The International Gothic Association annual conference is one of the largest and most prestigious dissemination opportunity for an early career researcher in the fields of Gothic and Horror studies. I attended this conference shortly after submitting my PhD thesis. As such, it presented a unique and timely opportunity to connect with an international selection of scholars in my field. As this was the first event of its kind that I was able to attend in person since the covid-19 pandemic, it was a cherished opportunity to see new research, network, and meet scholars and publishers in my field in person.
The theme of “Gothic Interruptions” was particularly relevant to my research on horror representations of political and feminist consciousness after The Great Recession. With the CFP asking “How do these Gothic circumstances, terrifying as they may be, lead to change, looking toward new futures?” IGA2022 provided an exceptional intersection of my research interests and expertise. Participating in the conference permitted me to locate my own work on contemporary American horror cinema within that academic conversation.
My PhD research analysed American gender politics in the post-recession era as mobilised around the issue of sexual violence and as seen through selected demon-possession films produced in that time. My paper, “Demon Girls, Interrupted: Sexual Violence and Raised Feminist Consciousness in American Horror Cinema” used the case study of the 2011 film Lovely Molly (Sánchez) as an example of how contemporary demon-possession narratives relate to a reactionary, “popular” misogynist backlash to feminism’s fourth wave, particularly towards feminist theory and activism relating to sexual violence, harassment, and misconduct. I had a wonderful experience presenting my paper on a panel with researchers that were engaged in feminist and horror research and received thoughtful and supportive feedback and questions from the panel chair and attendees.
Dr Máiréad Casey is an early career researcher with a PhD in Film and Digital Media from Ollscoil na Gaillimhe/University of Galway (formerly NUI Galway) under the supervision of Dr Conn Holohan. She currently teaches at Trinity College Dublin and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org