The Technologies of Televisual Monster-Hunting
Is technology seen as good? As evil? As neutral? Do different kinds of people use different technologies? Is there a way in which horror television programs set technology up as its own sort of supernatural power? By exploring monster-hunting and technology, what are the underlying implications of this technology in the man vs. monster conflict?
One of the major themes of horror television is the conflict between humans and monsters; often, the protagonists are mere mortals placed at a disadvantage to supernaturally-powered creatures, such as vampires and ghosts. In order to confront these monsters, the humans must make use of technological devices. Depending on whether the television program is scripted or reality-based, the technology is put to different uses. For instance, often within dramas, the technology is used to battle the monsters – because monsters are immune to traditional weaponry, making it necessary to modify weapons – via targeting their primary weaknesses (holy items for vampires, silver for werewolves, etc.). In reality television series, humans use high-end real world technology, such as Geiger counters and ambient temperature measurement devices, as a means to confirm or debunk supernatural mysteries (i.e. hauntings and similar phenomena).
This panel seeks to explore how current horror television programs make use of monster-hunting technology and to discuss the underlying gendered, cultural, social and psychological implications of this technology’s role in the man vs. monster conflict. The panel will investigate both scripted and reality horror television series including, but not limited to, Supernatural (2005), True Blood (2008), The Vampire Diaries (2009), Proof Positive (2004) and Paranormal Cops (2010) and Ghost Hunters (2004).
Potential topics might include, but are not limited to:
· The use of monster-hunting technologies on television shows such as True Blood , The Walking Dead , etc., and the ways in which these technologies speak to issues of authority and power.
· The use of technology to hunt the supernatural in reality tv shows such as Ghost Hunters or Paranomal State , and the gendered discourses surrounding who uses the technology and when.
· The valorization of technology over human sensory perception/physical strength and comparisons of the technological to supernatural abilities
· Comparisons of the monstrous with the technological
Please submit a 300 word abstract, proposed bibliography and a brief author bio to Adam Yerima ([log in to unmask]) by Saturday, August 10th.
Wayne State University
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Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama: http://www.tcf.ua.edu