Call for Papers! Haunted Shores: Coastlands, Coastal Waters, and the Littoral Gothic

November 2020

We seek participants in an online symposium to explore coasts and shores in the Gothic and to discuss a potential edited volume of essays. At this early stage, we invite proposals for short, 10-15 minute presentations, but would also like to hear from anyone interested in attending or taking part.

The Online Symposium will take place on Friday 26th March 2021

Haunted Shores

The Demeter drifts in the fog into Whitby harbour; Melmoth stands on the cliff and laughs at the shipwreck below; the vacationers on Amity Island have a torrid Fourth of July weekend… The coast, the shore, the beach – these unsteady, and unsettling, meeting points between the sea and the land – figure prominently across the gothic, horror, and weird traditions. In the popular imagination, the shoreline may be a site of pleasure and recreation, a limit point of the nation state, a point of departure and return, a key site of industry – but darker currents eddy in these waters, too.

Haunted Shores seeks to explore the rich literary and cultural history of this space in our literatures of terror. It will explore the ways in which we can view the gothic as offering a disconcerting counterpart to the beach as a site of leisure culture, both rising to prominence in the late-eighteenth century. We will seek to raise questions that go beyond any single nation state, adopting a global perspective on its subject. The symposium will be informed by recent work in the Blue Humanities and the nautical gothic, but hopes also to open up these discourses in new directions, paying sustained attention to a very particular gothic geography and its human and nonhuman histories.

Proposals are invited for 10-15 minute presentations or papers that discuss any aspect of the coast, the beach, or the shore in the gothic and related genres, in any media, from any time period and any setting. Possible themes to explore within the gothic tradition include, but are certainly not limited to:

·        Invasion and incursion at the shore;

·        Coastal shipwrecks and drownings;

·        Pirates, piracy, and smuggling;

·        Critical theoretical approaches to the gothic coast;

·        Coastal structures and buildings, maritime, wartime, or other;

·        Ecogothic, the nonhuman, and the shore;

·        National borders and boundaries, migration and immigration;

·        Colonial and postcolonial histories of shorelines;

·        The coast as a site of labour, consumerism, capitalism, alienation;

·        Vacationing, seaside towns and attractions – and beach bodies…

Symposium logistics

The symposium will take place entirely online, mindful of participants’ safety and ongoing restrictions, and hopes to foster an international conversation between scholars of the gothic who may not otherwise get an opportunity to get together this year!

The symposium will run throughout Friday 26th March, with some pre-prepared presentations available in advance, asynchronous discussion in a Slack workspace, and a live Zoom session in the afternoon.


Please submit abstracts for presentations (~200-300 words) and brief biographies to by 31st January. Find us on Twitter @ShoresHaunted and on

Participants will be notified of decisions by 8th February.

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the organisers:

Dr Emily Alder (

Dr Jimmy Packham (

Dr Joan Passey (

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