Gothic Studies

About Gothic Studies

Since 1988, the University of Stirling has been a world-leading research hub for the study of Gothic literature and culture. For thirty years, Stirling has been hosting major conferences such as the International Gothic Association; Halloween Gothic (2008); Globalgothic: Technology, Media, Horror (2009); Scottish Gothic, 1764-Present (2010); the Patrick McGrath Symposium (2016), as well as Gothic Pasts, Gothic Futures (2018). Since 2008, Stirling has also been home to several international AHRC-funded research projects, including Global Gothic, Writing Britain’s Ruins, and Popular Occulture in Britain, 1875-1947. By interrogating the boundaries of the ‘Gothic’ in an international context, research at Stirling leads the way in broadening understandings of this important cultural category for academic, public and student audiences.

An over-arching strand of Gothic research in the Division concerns the limits and possibilities of the term ‘Gothic’ as a critical and aesthetic category in an international context. Thus Professor Christine Ferguson’s groundbreaking research on the Victorian occult has led to major outputs such as Determined Spirits: Eugenics, Heredity, and Racial Regeneration in Anglo-American Spiritualist Writing, 1848-1930. Professor Justin D Edwards and Dr. Tim Jones examine Gothic from 18th century to present. Edwards continues to work on a variety of topics such as Pop Goth, B-Movie Gothic and Tropical Gothic. His book on 19th century American Gothic, Gothic Passages: Racial Ambiguity and the American Gothic, intersects with Jones’s major research on U.S. Gothic published in his book The Gothic and the Carnivalesque in American Culture.

The international aspects of Gothic are also explored by Dr. Inés Ordiz, whose research on Spanish literature and Gothic in the Americas has led to pioneering publications such as Latin American Gothic in Literature and Culture. Likewise, Professor Ann Davies’s work on hispanist Gothic cinema, literature and culture has resulted in the publication of her recent monograph Contemporary Spanish Gothic. Finally, Professor Elizabeth Ezra has published research on witches in early cinema and witches’ familiars in Harry Potter and His Dark Materials; she is currently writing a book titled Hexoticism: Witches and Alterity in Children’s Literature and Cinema, which examines the figure of the witch through the lens of gender, exoticism, and animal studies.

The Gothic Imagination website, established in 2008 continues to expand, and is now a major research resource, posting reviews and interviews by postgraduate students, academics and writers. It is an interdisciplinary forum for lively discussion and critical debate concerning all manifestations of the Gothic mode, be it historical or as manifested in more modern and contemporary cultural events. In addition to news about the various Gothic programmes and events at Stirling, the site steers and provides information about exciting new developments in Gothic studies around the world. This resource (managed by Timothy Jones) supports current postgraduates, as does the Gothic Reading Group.

The MLitt The Gothic Imagination offers an intensive historical, critical and theoretical investigation of this curious cultural phenomenon, from the rise of Gothic in the aesthetic and political discourses of the eighteenth century through to a range of contemporary Gothic manifestations in both literature and film. This course provides you with opportunities to explore the full range of Gothic writing, from its beginnings in the 18th century to the present day. The course caters to aspiring researchers as well as part-time students seeking to deepen their knowledge of the topic. The programme is directed by Justin Edwards. We have a strong track record of securing PhD funding for our students and welcome Masters and PhD applications and enquiries.

PhD Opportunities

Our PhD programme offers supervision in almost all areas of Gothic Studies. Recently completed doctoral dissertations include, among others, the following: 9/11 Gothic, Reading Chernobyl: Psychoanalysis, Deconstruction, Literature, South African Gothic, Zombie Monstrosity in the Postmodern and Posthuman Gothic, French and British Gothics 1789-1821.