CFP: The Horror of Relations: A Dark Philosophy of Interdependence Through Film

NEPCA Commentary  

We came across this on Boston-Area Digital Humanities Listserv, which if you’re not a part of, you really should be.  There’s lots of great projects being shared there as well as many (free) events and conferences on digital humanities in the greater Boston area.


 The idea of interdependence is all around us. It results from the explosive growth of “ecological thinking” broadly construed.  Fundamental to that idea is the view that, in some way, we’re all connected – to each other, to other organisms, and to our environments both analog and digital. And implicit here is the idea that this connectedness is a good and beautiful thing.  Being connected well makes us stronger, healthier, more engaged, and more thoughtful.  Yet lurking under this positive view is a dark view – a view that being connected is existentially horrifying.  Being connected in that strong sense of being interdependent with others threatens what it is to be a self, and what it is to be an individual. This darkness lurks in the closet of our subconscious like a spectre, haunting us without us even being aware of the root cause.  This volume seeks to turn on the light and reveal that spectre for what it is: the dark side of interdependence.

A toy xenomorph from the film Alien standing on wood.

(Source: Malte Sörensen)

Because of the deep-rooted implicit assumptions about the beauty and goodness of ecological thinking, this volume sets out to examine interdependence as a problem through representations of that dark spectre specifically through film.  In many film genres, particularly perhaps in horror and science fiction, implicit assumptions have a way of becoming seen. The ongoing success of television series like The Walking Dead, reboots of the Alien series, and the blockbuster movies like Interstellar evidence how films can help make the implicit salient, bringing us uniquely face-to-face with our dark spectres. Film also privileges engagement and access: thus, scholarly contributions for this volume should be written for a general audience.

I seek contributions to this volume focused on the problem of interdependence. Chapters might include considerations connecting film(s) to ecology, psychology, microbial biology, social relations, familial relations, political science and globalism, digital media and technologies, among others.  Contributions from advanced graduate students and junior faculty are particularly encouraged. 

If you are interested in participating in this volume, please submit an abstract of your proposed chapter of approximately 500 words, along with a brief cover letter describing how you see your work fitting within the scope of the volume.  The deadline for submissions is January 15th, 2019.

Proposals or any inquiries about the volume should be sent to Jonathan Beever (  Thank you for considering being part of this project

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