Pacific Coast Philology Symposium: Horror’s Human Monsters 

This symposium for an upcoming issue of Pacific Coast Philology seeks essays that examine human monstrosity as depicted in horror fiction. Although horror is, as Xavier Aldana Reyes reminds us in Horror: A Literary History (2020), “[a]n eminently transmedial, transhistorical and marketable genre,” the issue’s focus on “entity-based” horror literature—those stories in which “monsters” (i.e., beings or supernatural forces who are lethal, disgusting, and may or may not be accounted for by contemporary science) are the issuing source of horror—is intended to highlight the ideological work that the author’s words and the reader’s imagination must do for a text to incite feelings of dread, fear, or terror. As Reyes notes, “[u]nlike cinema, which cannot help but show us images, fiction forces us to process information.” Indeed, the popularity of a literary horror text partly depends on how readers, who are not a monolithic group, process the images invoked and/or evoked by the author’s words regarding the individuals or groups a culture identifies as monsters. As Jeffrey Jerome Cohen argues in “Monster Culture (Seven Theses)” (1996), we can learn a great deal about a culture from the monsters it bears precisely because the monster is, in part, “an embodiment of a certain cultural moment—of a time, a feeling, and a place.” Thus, focusing on horror fiction that features human monsters, this symposium offers us an opportunity to explore those times, feelings, and places that helped to bring those monsters into being and, at the same time, to reconsider how, where, and why a culture draws the line between human and monster. 

Submissions: This symposium of PCP is looking for essays between 4000-6000 words, excluding Works Cited, that follow the guidelines of the MLA 9th edition. The due date for submissions is November 1, 2023. Please send queries to Jerry Rafiki Jenkins at [email protected].

Submissions should go to Additional submission guidelines are found at Submission notes should indicate that the manuscript is intended for the Symposium on Monstrosity.