Current IGA Conference
International Gothic Association Biennial Conference 2013
University of Surrey, United Kingdom
Gothic Technologies/Gothic Techniques
The ambition of the Surrey conference was to build on the multidisciplinary content of earlier IGA conferences and to broaden the international dimension of the audience by appealing to Gothic scholars from across the globe. This resulted in an IGA conference with over 200 participants from at least 27 different countries.
Because Surrey is a campus university, the majority of delegates took advantage of the on-campus accommodation, and events such as the wine reception, the conference dinner and the Goth disco took place in university venues such as the Austin Pearce Building, Hillside Restaurant and Chancellor’s Bar.
One of the positive things about a campus-based IGA conference is that it benefits from the positive atmosphere and collegial nature of the Gothic studies community, fostering lively discussions as well as encouraging picnics under willow trees and late-night kitchen parties.
But delegates also had an opportunity to experience the restaurants, pubs and cafes of Guildford, and were invited to go on Philip Hutchinson’s Ghost Tour of Guildford, which provided an entertaining and historical account of the haunted sites of Guildford.
Papers were presented by Gothic scholars from across the globe, from Australia and Thailand to Canada and Brazil and, like the delegates themselves, the subjects discussed often crossed disciplinary borders: there were, for example, panels on 18th-century literature, 20th century film, 21st century video games, Gothic drama as well as panels on musical subjects, digital technologies and popular culture. Our keynote speakers reflected the diversity of subjects discussed throughout the conference. On Monday, Fred Botting kicked things off with a captivating presentation that theorized and contextualized ‘automaton’, the mechanizations of body and mind, in terms of automated bodies, writing and the textual body of Gothic criticism. On Tuesday, Joan Hawkins spoke inspiringly on the cinematic oeuvre of Ken Russell, focusing particularly on his film Gothic. On Wednesday, Sandra Vasconcelos spoke about the transatlantic movement of the Gothic novel from Europe to Brazil, grounding her reading of ‘Tropical Gothic’ in the canonical 19th-century Brazilian novels of José de Alencar. On Thursday, the conference closed with an inspiring presentation by Roger Luckhurst, who offered new insights into the word ‘undead’ by weaving together historical analyses of the technologies that extend human life with engaging readings of films such as Coma. Many delegates expressed their appreciation for the quality of the keynotes and the high standard of the papers throughout the conference.
Back by popular demand (after his magnificent set at the Lancaster IGA conference) was the University of Surrey sociologist and part-time Goth DJ, Paul Hodkinson. The ‘Goth Disco’ followed the conference dinner on Tuesday night and it was a tremendous success: Paul had us on the dance floor (dancing to classics by The Cure, Depeche Mode, Marilyn Manson and many, many more) until the early hours of the morning. For the complete set list, please visit Paul’s website: http://www.paulhodkinson.co.uk/dj.php.
A short film of IGA2013 can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O843LAL2smc