Now that the reviewer reports are back, I am pleased to officially announce the forthcoming publication of Embodying Contagion: The Viropolitics of Horror and Desire in Contemporary Discourse. Bringing scholarship from cultural and media studies into conversation with scholarship from the medical humanities and social sciences, this collection (edited by myself, Sandra Becker, and Sara Polak) aims to give readers a fuller picture of how we make sense of contagion in contemporary global culture.
COVID-19 may dominate today’s news, but from Outbreak to The Walking Dead, apocalyptic narratives of infection, contagion, and global pandemic have always been an inescapable part of twenty-first-century popular culture. More importantly, vocabulary and metaphors from these fictional outbreak narratives have infiltrated how news media, policymakers, and the general public view the real world and the people within it. Where previous scholarly work has examined the spread of epidemic realities in horror fiction, the essays in Embodying Contagion also consider how epidemic fantasies and fears influence our reality. In an age where fact and fiction seem increasingly difficult to separate, contagious bodies (and the discourses that contain them) continually blur established boundaries between real and unreal, legitimacy and frivolity, science and the supernatural.
The book will be part of the new ‘Horror Studies’ series published by University of Wales Press, arriving early 2021. I will post a link to the book and other details here, as soon as it is available on their website. We are in any case very excited to be with UWP (not least because they publish in paperback!). We hope this book will be accessible to a wide, interdisciplinary audience.
If you read Dutch you can check out Sara Polak’s recent interview with the Leidsch Dagblad, where she talks a bit about the project. She has also shared some information about it on the Leiden University blog (in English).