Professor Nicola Behrmann

Vampires and zombies, doppelgänger and artificial humans continue to haunt our cultural imagination throughout the centuries. This course explores the return of the repressed in some of the most spellbinding creatures and fantasies. We will consider the psychological underpinnings of each tale and the ways in which a text or a film establishes, fears, safeguards or releases its horrific kernel. We will investigate why moving images relate particularly well to horror and the uncanny. And we will play close attention to the historical and political context of each tale of horror and to the ways in which these narratives speak of violence, racism, homophobia, and misogyny.

Readings include fairy tales by the Grimm Brothers, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Ludwig Tieck’s “Eckbert, the Blonde,” E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Sandman,” Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Black Cat,” Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw,” and Franz Kafka’s “A Country Doctor”. Filmic contributions are coming from F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu), Alfred Hitchcock (The Birds), Michael Powell (Peeping Tom), and Jordan Peele (Get Out), theoretical inflections from Sigmund Freud, Barbara Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, and Slavoj Zizek.

Taught in English. No prerequisites. Fulfills SAS core goals AHo and AHp.