Research area

Gothic Studies

Stirling has been a world-leading base for Gothic Studies for the last 25 years. In 2008 a two-year AHRC Networks grant positioned Stirling as a centre for the study of Global Gothic, involving collaboration with academics from USA, Canada, Thailand, Britain, Australia, and Europe to investigate the dynamics of globalisation and modes of cultural production from nations beyond the Anglo-American frame. This network consolidated Stirling’s international standing in the field, and led to a Routledge collection, Gothic Worlds, edited by Glennis Byron and Dale Townshend and Globalgothic, edited by Byron for Manchester University Press. As the Presidents of the International Gothic Association (IGA) acknowledge, ‘Glennis Byron’s AHRC-funded network for the Global Gothic set the agenda for a new attention to Gothic beyond its traditional territories’. Our attention on Gothic cultural forms continues to address the literary past. John Drakakis’s and Dale Townshend’s Gothic Shakespeares has opened up innovative ground, inspiring interest internationally in early modern and subsequent formations of the Gothic. Townshend’s individual work focuses on Romantic-era Gothic; he is currently editing a CUP collection of essays on Ann Radcliffe with Angela Wright (Sheffield), and his research on Gothic writing and architecture will be included in a British Library exhibition in 2014, ‘Dark Horror! hear my call!’, for which he is the academic advisor. A further over-arching strand of Gothic research in the Division concerns the limits and possibilities of the term ‘Gothic’ as a critical and aesthetic category. Thus Townshend works on the relationship between Gothic architecture and fiction, and Byron on the multifarious fictive forms of vampires; both examine work from the eighteenth century to the present. The appointments of Scott Brewster, Ann Davies and Jason Hartford extend these interests further to investigate tourism and travel, Irish and Spanish Gothic, and extending into consideration of the horror genre across different media, national cultures and languages. By interrogating the boundaries of the ‘Gothic’ along a range of dimensions, research at Stirling leads the way in broadening understandings of this important cultural category for academic, public and student audiences. 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 Townshend) supports current postgraduates, as does the monthly Gothic Reading Group.

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