Cults, Cthulus, and Klansmen: (Hi)stories within Lovecraft Country

A Half-day Online Symposium

12.00-18.00 BST (0.700-13.00 EDT), May 20, 2021

2020 was a seemingly unprecedented year. A global pandemic erupted even as the US was seized by another wave of anti-Black violence perpetrated by law enforcement and supported by terrifying groups of armed Trump supporters. In the midst of this chaos, Misha Green released the award-winning series Lovecraft Country, based upon the Matt Ruff novel by the same name. The series explores America’s history on interracial, gendered, sexual violence and international violence through the metaphor of encounters with magic-wielding villains and other-worldly creatures. Notably, many of the most impactful and haunting scenes are not those featuring cthulu-like creatures attacking innocents but are rather scenes which recreate a history that is horrifically similar to the nation’s present state. And yet critics nonetheless argued that the show was not “enough like Lovecraft” and failed to replicate his tone and style sufficiently. However, such critiques miss the point: Lovecraft’s sensibilities are exactly what the series seeks to dismantle.

Hosted by the Centre for the History of the Gothic at the University of Sheffield, ‘Cults, Cthulus, and Klansmen: The (Hi)stories within Lovecraft Country is an online symposium that seeks to unpack the history, theory, and sociopolitical commentary neatly woven into the series Lovecraft Country. Remaining mindful of the show as a Horror series, this symposium will evaluate Green’s manipulations of Gothic and Horror tropes in conveying a powerful and complex critique of contemporary America. See below for details about the schedule, keynotes, and how to register.

 “Topsy! Bopsy! Go, Dee! Go” by DrFaustusAU https://www.deviantart.com/drfaustusau

Registration

Registration for Cults, Cthulus, and Klansmen is now live! The symposium is free to register and attend, and will be taking place on zoom from 12.00-18.00 BST (0.700-13.00 EDT) May 20, 2021. So, wherever you are join us as we explore and unpack the history, theory, and sociopolitical commentary neatly woven into the series Lovecraft Country. 

You can register for the conference here.

Tickets will be available until 23.30 BST so make sure you don’t miss your chance to register!

Schedule

Read the full schedule with timings for the symposium along with panel and paper titles here.

Keynotes

You can find details of our keynotes here.  

Code of Conduct

Participants and attendees of Cults, Cthulus, and Klansmen will be able to find the code of conduct for the symposium, with details of the organisers and how to contact them, in the conference pack. You can also read the Centre for the History of the Gothic’s code of conduct here.

We hope to make this symposium a friendly, welcoming, and safe online space for everyone so please do familiarise yourself with our Code of Conduct before the event. 

Archive

The Lovecraft Symposium Archive is now live! You can start exploring the archive here and we will be adding to and updating the page so do check back, and of course get in touch with us if you would like to submit any materials to the archive.

As part of Cults, Cthulus, and Klansmen we are curating an archive of materials inspired by the symposium that will continue the existing conversation surrounding Misha Green’s Lovecraft Country and the horrors of American history. This archive will be hosted by the Centre for the History of the Gothic on the Centre’s website and YouTube channel.

As such, we invite you submissions of any blogs/ vlogs, visual artwork, creative meditations (fictional and non-fictional), short films, music playlists, etc. that you may have created in relation to the series and that you wish to be a part of the archive.  We particularly welcome materials that explore the experience of watching Lovecraft Country.

Contributors will retain the rights and ownership of their work. For any enquiries, to express an interest in submitting to the archive, or to submit materials, please email the organisers at gothiccentre@sheffield.ac.uk