This week we’re joined by two new expert speakers to talk about two very different topics related to the Gothic and horror! You can sign up here
On Saturday, Mitra will be returning to give us a talk on ‘Genetics in Horror’
In cinematic and literary horror, the topic of genetics has been used to great effect to represent a powerful force of nature that eludes our command. This class will address the dramatic potential of genetics that stems from the sense of destiny created by the immense, undeniable importance of our genomes, chafing against our utter inability to change these biological ‘cookbooks’ – under normal circumstances. In horror, genes can be used to explore intergenerational relations, serving as a tool to show how children escape the full control of their parents. Genes may embody desirable or undesirable traits of a character, of their partner, or of their ancestors, which the character had hoped to promote or suppress in their offspring. Mutation, one of the primary forces of evolution, can serve as an especially vivid showcase for the unpredictability of inheritance. Additionally, because your genome is unique, and because your genome is also a technically quantifiable dataset, the field of horror has probed anxieties about the genome when viewed as a cut-and-dried, replicable representation of your personal identity. Furthermore, horror can reflect unease about developments in real-life genetic research: fictional advances in genetic understanding often depict an ‘unnatural’ thwarting of destiny and an ominous expedition into the realm of ‘forbidden knowledge’, including the blurring of human and non-human identities.
On Sunday we’re joined by Helen Oliver will be talking about ‘Every Brutal Choice has Elegance, Grace: Decoding Dress in NBC’s Hannibal
NBC’s Hannibal has a distinctive visual style in a class of its own. This distinctiveness extends to the wardrobe choices, which are not only carefully selected for characterization by costume designer Christopher Hargadon, but are a communicative textual element in their own right, deserving of as much attention as the dialogue, acting, cinematography and soundtrack. The costumes of NBC’s Hannibal not only foreground elements of the wearers’ characterization, but encode an internally consistent symbolic system that signals their state of mind, both in individual scenes and overall character arcs. While this symbolic system incorporates some intertextual allusion, it is decodable by anyone familiar with early 21st century Western popular culture and an interest in the filmography of the cast. In this presentation, I will explain the symbolic meanings of the colours and patterns used in the costumes of NBC’s Hannibal.