Monday, June 9, 2008

Edited Collection on Southeast Asian Horror Cinema - call for papers

Edited Collection on Southeast Asian Horror Cinema
Call for Papers

Abstracts are sought for a collection of essays on Southeast Asian Horror Cinema. Although relatively modest in terms of production and aesthetics if compared to the horror cinemas of Japan and Korea for example, it is undeniable that the horror genre contributes greatly to the cinematic histories and cultures of Southeast Asia although for various reasons (political, market, religion, etc.) it has, for a period, suffered a lackluster existence.

For example, although Malayan cinema basically debuted in the guise of the pontianak (loosely translated as female vampires) films, which continued to spawn successful sequels, since the 1970s, Malaysia has more or less "banned" horror from its sociocultural landscape due to politico-religious reasons. And despite longstanding histories of horror in Indonesian and Thai cinema, they have until relatively recently been merely low-budget affairs.

In the last 10 years however, there has been a radical shift in the way Southeast Asian cinema views its horror offerings, possibly influenced by the amazing achievements, on both critical and popular levels, of the horror cinema of Japan and Korea.

Technically, narratively and aesthetically more sophisticated, horror films in Southeast Asia have either made a comeback, or have undergone a significant facelift, drawing considerable attention not only from local audiences, but audiences in the West as well. Yet, despite this newfound "success", critical appreciation of the region's horror cinema remains scarce. While scholarship on Korean and especially Japanese horror cinema abounds, work on Southeast Asian horror has garnered almost no academic attention.

The main aim of this collection is to redress this vacuum. It seeks to be as comprehensive as possible, and would serve primarily as a critical introduction to Southeast Asian horror cinema. Suggested topics would include but are not limited to:

- The history of horror cinema in Southeast Asia

- Horror cinema and the socio-political climate

- Gender and sexuality in Southeast Asian horror cinema

- Religion and the horror genre

- Horror, nationalism and ideology

- The philosophical dimension of Southeast Asian horror films

- Symbols and metaphors in Southeast Asian horror films

- Theoretical interpretations of Southeast Asian horror films

Abstracts could either emphasize the horror cinema of a particular Southeast Asian nation, or be executed as a comparative study (historically, thematically, representations, etc.).

Please send abstracts of 500 words maximum before 31 October 2008 to Andrew Ng at or

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