Course Spotlight: Demons, Jinn, Curses, and Ghosts: Global Horror and the Supernatural with Prof. Karla Mallette
Can you tell me what this course is about and who the audience is?
This course uses horror movies of the 21st century to explore emerging ideas about religion and spirituality around the world today. Anyone who loves horror - especially supernatural horror - and/or is curious about religious studies is welcome!
What is the story behind the creation of the course? How did you get into this topic?
This is a great time to be a horror movie fan! There are so many amazing movies out there, and so many new ideas about this life and the next. I'm fascinated by the differences between horror movies from different parts of the world and what they have in common. What influence do American movies about demonic possession have on jinn possession movies from Muslim countries? How do American horror movies learn from movies produced in majority Buddhist countries, like Japan and Korea? When I realized that new traditions around witchcraft and wiccan rituals were influenced by The Craft, I knew this could be a great course.
What type of assignments can students expect to demonstrate their learning?
Students will watch one movie each week, chosen from a menu of options (so you can find your own horror comfort level). You'll write a weekly review of the movies you watch and you'll write brief response papers for each thematic section of the course. Readings will focus on both horror as genre and new religious studies. For a final project, you'll work in groups to create a film series exploring themes at the heart of the course.
Any favorite movie that you are looking forward to teaching about? Any reading you are excited about?
I love all the movies we'll screen! I'm a huge fan of American, J-horror and K-horror classics like Jennifer's Body, Ring, and A Tale of Two Sisters, but there are also international gems like Let the Right One In and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and deep cuts like the super-scary Dabbe from Turkey, the Senegalese spirit-magic epic Saloum, and the Canadian indigenous peoples zombie revenge film, Blood Quantum. The readings explore topics from the obvious (possession, gender, Mormon vampires) to the surprising (politics and magic, the Rainbow Bridge). I'm excited about it all.
If you have any questions about this course, please reach out to Professor Mallette (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the curriculum coordinator at email@example.com. More information on MIDEAST 305 can be found here.