We are delighted to host Katarzyna Ancuta, presenting her talk on “In Search of Asian Gothic”:
Where do we start with Asian Gothic? Gothic tropes and themes can be found in the earliest Asian texts. Sanskrit epics featured descriptions of the horrors of hell or gruesome deaths of heroes and deities. By the third century, the ghost story, was already one of the most prominent Chinese literary genres. Animistic practices, rich supernatural folklore, turbulent history and colonial experience have made local cultural production particularly open to gothic influences. And yet it took Gothic scholars a considerable amount of time before they were ready to turn their attention to the vast array of materials the region has to offer. Today, the global positioning of Gothic and the acknowledgement of its link to everyday cultural practices, has allowed it to transcend not only its western origins but also conventional narrative and aesthetical configurations. This decentralisation of the Gothic has opened up new possibilities for including cultural productions from diverse geographical locations, therefore the appearance of Asia in the broader discussions on the Gothic is not an oddity anymore. In this talk we shall discuss how Gothic methodologies can help us study Asian texts, but also how the study of Asian texts can enrich our understanding of the Gothic. We will approach Asian Gothic as a process of signification, where conventional Gothic tropes and imagery are assessed anew and where global forms get consumed, appropriated, translated, transformed, and even resisted.
Katarzyna Ancuta is a lecturer at the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. Her research interests oscillate around the interdisciplinary contexts of contemporary Gothic/Horror, currently with a strong Asian focus. Her recent publications include contributions to Neoliberal Gothic (2017), The Routledge Handbook to the Ghost Story (2017), B-Movie Gothic (2018), Twenty-first-century Gothic (2019) and Gothic and the Arts (2019). She also co-edited three special journal issues on Thai (2014) and Southeast Asian (2015) horror film, and Tropical Gothic (2019), and a collection on Thai Cinema: The Complete Guide (2018).
Professor Ancuta suggested three short stories to accompany her talk:
1. 'The Personal Knife', written by a Thai writer Chart Korbjitti, originally written in Thai in 1983, translated by Marcel Barang and published in English in a collection of stories An Ordinary Story (and others less so) in 2010.
2. 'The White House in the Cold Forest', written by a Japanese writer Otsuichi in 2006, translated by Terry Gallagher, published in a collection Zoo in 2009
3. 'Rotten Stench', written by an Indonesian writer Eka Kurniawan in 2000, translated by Annie Tucker and published in a collection Kitchen Curse in 2019
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