"Weird and Superstitious" lecture explores impact of horror films

Dr. Kendall Phillips, Professor of Communication and Rhetorical Studies and Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at Syracuse University, will present a lecture titled "Weird and Superstitious: Horrific Cinema and the Construction of American National Identity? on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, at 7 p.m. in the Perkins Student Center Auditorium. This lecture is free and open to the public.

Arriving just thirty years after the end of the Civil War, motion pictures would play a major role in the development and popularization of what it meant to be an American. While other scholars have noted the place of genres like melodramas and westerns in the creation of an American cinema, few have explored the role of horror during this early period. But what role did tales of the terrifying and supernatural play in the forging of an acceptable national character? This talk explores the place of the horrific in the creation of a uniquely American cinema and identity during the period when the nation struggled to separate from its various cultures of origin and become an entity unto itself.

Phillips, who earned his Ph.D. from Penn State, is the author of seven books and many more essays. His books on film include: Dark Directions: Romero, Craven, Carpenter and the Modern Film; Controversial Cinema: The Films that Outraged America; and Project Fears: Horror Films and American Culture. Other books include Global Memoryscapes: Contesting Remembrance in a Transnational Age; Framing Public Memory; Testing Controversy: A Rhetoric of Educational Reform; and Beyond Survival in the Academy: A Practical Guide for Beginning Academics.

This lecture is presented by the Penn State Berks Communication Arts and Sciences Program and is funded by the Endowment for Guest Lectures at the Berks Campus.

For more information, contact Dr. E. Michele Ramsey, Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and Women's Studies, at 610-396-6148 or via e-mail at [email protected].