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Pitt’s Horror Studies Working Group Hosts Global Horror Conference, Queer Horror Events

By Adam Lowenstein, University of Pittsburgh Professor of Film and HSWG Founder

The University of Pittsburgh’s Horror Studies Working Group (HSWG) is the umbrella organization that works to link horror studies initiatives unfolding in four different sectors: the University Library System (home of the George A. Romero Collection and the Horror Studies Archive); the University Honors College (home of the “Horror Genre as Social Force” scholar community); the Global Studies Center (home of the Global Horror Studies Archival and Research Network); and the George A. Romero Foundation (home of vital partnerships and collaborations related to all of these sectors). Please visit https://www.horrormatters.org for more information on the HSWG, and to subscribe to our newsletter!

In September 2021, the HSWG held the second of what is planned as a three-part series of linked conferences on global horror studies that focus on Japanese horror through a pan-Asian and transnational lens. All of the conferences are free and open to the public.

The first conference, “J-horror and the Archiving of Global Horror Studies,” was a virtual event held in July 2021 and co-hosted by Kyoto University and the University of Pittsburgh. The second conference, “Global Horror Studies: Linking J-horror to Asia,” was a virtual event hosted by the University of Pittsburgh. In an exciting series of sessions unfolding over two days with attendees from all over the world, senior and emerging scholars shed new light on one of the most popular and influential horror movements of recent years and its implications for definitions of both “horror” and “Asian cinema.” Featured speakers included Chika Kinoshita (Kyoto University), Bliss Cua Lim (University of California, Irvine), Akira Lippit (University of Southern California), Angela Ndalianis (Swinburne University of Technology), Rick Warner (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Valerie Wee (National University of Singapore), and Kris Woofter (Dawson College, Montreal).

Our third global horror studies conference, focusing on Japanese and Australian horror, is in the planning stages for a fall 2022 launch. Please visit www.horrormatters.org for the latest news and updates, and we hope to see you there!

The HSWG also hosted an ambitious slate of programming on queer horror in October 2021. Events ranged from an academic lecture by philosophy professor Patricia MacCormack on queer death; a multimedia performance by Berlin-based artist Discoteca Flaming Star inspired by the work of George A. Romero; a screening and discussion of short films by a wide array of queer horror filmmakers; a conversation with queer horror authors Hailey Piper and Eric LaRocca; a queer horror screenwriting workshop with Tina Romero; and a conversation with Fear Street screenwriter Phil Graziadei. Read more about it here. 

Another recent HSWG highlight was a conversation in October 2021 with trailblazing French director Marina de Van, the creator of the unforgettably horrifying In My Skin. This extensive interview will be preserved in the University of Pittsburgh’s Horror Studies Archive, joining a number of recently recorded interviews with key women artists of horror.

This is all just the tip of the iceberg in terms of HSWG activities. Additional events with famous filmmakers, authors, and scholars of horror are always taking shape, so please stay tuned for the latest news at https://www.horrormatters.org. The HSWG looks forward to seeing you soon!

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