National University

National University Hosts Gothic Fiction Conference

A global community of academicians attended the inaugural Studies in Gothic Fiction Conference, sponsored by National University and held in San Diego last March.

Close to 60 scholars from nations such as New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Austria participated in the two-day event organized by Colin Marlaire and Franz Potter, both of whom have taught literature for the University’s College of Letters and Sciences (COLS) and edit a peer-reviewed journal, Studies in Gothic Fiction.

“The conference was a fantastic success,” said Professor Potter, who also serves as lead faculty for COLS’ Master of Arts in English program. “We hope to repeat the event every two years,” he added.

The keynote address was given by Katherine D. Harris, assistant professor with Department of English and Comparative Literature at San Jose State University who has written extensively about Gothic Short Stories in British Literary Annuals. The title of her address was “A New Intensity of Feeling: Secretly Enjoying Ghosts, Banshees, and Derelict Lovers in Gothic Short Stories of British Literary Annuals.”

Papers were presented, along with research and data, and attendees sat in on various panels and participated in a lively dialog on topics such as hybridity and the cultural adaptations that gothic literature has undergone as various tales have traveled from one country to another.

“It seems to be extremely rare for a conference specifically focused on the Gothic or aspects of the Gothic to be held in the United States,” wrote attendee Laura Kremmel, who has written several articles on gothic imagination. She posted a blog about the conference on a website hosted by the University of Sterling in Scotland. “And (I’m hoping) the existence of this much-needed conference speaks to a growing consideration there of the Gothic as a serious branch of study.” 

For more information regarding the Studies in Gothic Fiction Conference, contact Professor Potter at