This seminar will approach the fascination with (body) horror in Western popular culture in the past and today. It applies a predominantly cognitive linguistic approach to the analysis of horror fiction in order to explore what exactly is angst-inducing about typical horror motifs (subjection, invisible enemies, disfigurement, strange places etc.) and how writers of horror fiction (re)contextualize these motifs in contemporary discourse. The cognitive linguistic perspective will be accompanied by theories about the social psychology and the cultural impact of feelings like fear, anxiety, angst, and horror, which have been outlined by theorists such as Sigmund Freud and Julia Kristeva, and by an overview of existing research on the history of horror fiction in literature and film in the Anglo-American world.
Based on prior research in the field, students will be asked to analyze and interpret pieces of horror fiction from the recent past and put them in a sociocultural context using methods of analysis from the field of Cultural Studies in order to find out what we, today, are afraid of, and what this tells us about the culture we live in. This may include a comparative look at other Western cultures (e.g. German, French or Spanish traditions).
BA IIM (S4-3); 4th Semester or higher
Exam: presentation and a written seminar paper/"Hausarbeit".
BA students of EAL (and potentially other "Anglistik" programs) are welcome in this seminar, but please note that you need to check in advance with the advisors and the "Prüfungsamt" of your degree programs if and how this seminar fits into your module plan, and if and how you can use the credit points. Exchange students with very good English skills are also very welcome.