Well folks, the biannual International Gothic Association Conference has come and gone! This year the academic Gothic community was pleased and privileged to have been invited to Cholula, Mexico to attend this event at Universidad de las Americas Puebla. As a proud member of the IGA, I was very excited to have the opportunity to present research on servants and the Gothic to my peers, to meet with a wide range of fellow scholars, and to reconnect with some of my oldest and dearest Gothic friends.
As part of a panel on “18th Century Gothic and the Literary Tradition”, which also features papers by James Udon of Boston University and Maria Teresa Marnieri, I presented research related to the “Servants and the Gothic” project. My paper, entitled “‘Either heare my tale or kisse my taile’: Gothic Servant Narratives and Literary Tradition”, traced the origins of certain servant narrative idioms in the early Gothic mode to early modern engagements with class-specific oral traditions. In doing so I argued that Gothic servant narratives constitute a conscious engagement with oral traditions and use these links as a means of destabilizing identity and restructuring political and social realities. This work was developed from research undertaken while developing my future monograph publication, and served as both a brief summary of my on-going work and a potential pathway into new areas of inquiry.
The conference itself was a diverse and exciting collection of research panels, keynote presentations, and entertaining Gothic-themed events. Featuring keynote talks by speakers such as Isabella van Elfren of Kingston University, Maisha Wester of Indiana University Bloomington, and Aurora Pineiro of National Autonomous University of Mexico, the conference provided attendees with a fascinating insight into new developments in Gothic studies and linked that research to an ongoing negotiation with the concept of ‘tradition’. Other conference highlights included the breaking of Gothic-themed pinata’s at the conclusion of the conference, and a film screening of the short film Los misterios de las monjas vampiras (Primer misterio: Las monjas vampiras contra el hijo de Benito Juarez), followed by a Q&A with the director and lead actress following the screening. The film was a very well received creative cross-section of Mexican Gothic visuals and storytelling, and you can find out more about the film and the artistic vision of its creators at: http://alvarezmoran.com.mx/
The conference also included a panel hosted by the “Reimagining the Gothic” Project, chaired by the University of Sheffield’s Mary Going and featuring papers by Catherine Gadsby-Mace, Lauren Nixon, and Daniel Southward. Sheffield Gothic members Mary Going and Hannah Moss also presented their research in separate panels.
I think I speak for many IGA members when I say a special thank you to Enrique Ajuria Ibarra, fellow Goth, professor at Universidad de las Americas Puebla, and IGA 2018 conference organizer, as well as the entire IGA support team for the amazing work they’ve done. You guys have done an incredible job and made IGA Mexico 2017 one of the most memorable conferences I’ve ever been to. Thanks!
In breaking with the biannual schedule, the next IGA conference will take place next year and will be hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University. In 2019 the IGA conference will be hosted at Lewis University in Chicago, and will be the first ever IGA conference to take place in the United States.
Those interested in joining the IGA or finding out about the many resources IGA membership offers should visit their website at: internationalgothic.group.shef.ac.uk/
Those interested in the “Reimagining the Gothic” Project at should check them out at: reimagininggothic.com/
As always, please follow the “Servants and the Gothic” Project on twitter at @gothicservants