Maia Gil'Adí (Assistant Professor, English, Boston University)
October 25, 2022
The horror genre has conquered the contemporary literary and popular market. From Jason Voorhees and Freddie Kruger to Hannibal Lecter and Pennywise the Clown, the monstrous figures of horror stories terrify and titillate us. Yet, there is an important tradition of Latinx literary and cultural production that mobilizes the tropes of the genre in unexpected ways, compelling us to reimagine what horror can be as it intersects with race and ethnicity. In this webinar, Gil’Adí examines Latinx horror to show how the genre addresses the unique experience of Latinx people in the Americas. She will show how the capacities of horror deepen our understanding of the foundational yet spectral presence of Latinx people in the “American” imaginary, treating monsters and haunting expansively. Attending to how writers use images of ghosts, zombies, monsters, and the otherworldly, we will explore shifting definitions of citizenship, nationhood, belonging, and identity. As we survey a variety of monstrous bodies, post-apocalyptic landscapes, and dystopian fantasies, we will consider questions such as: What is a monster? What is “Latinx”? How does the unique experience of Latinx people in the “New World” haunt conceptions of nation, citizenship, “illegality,” and personhood? Why do Latinx authors and filmmakers turn to horror to depict the Latinx experience?