Make America Hate Again: Trump-Era Horror and the Politics of Fear
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This research seminar, hosted by the Music, Drama, Film and Museum Studies research unit at the School of Arts and Humanities, is free and open to all interested parties.
Offering a rejuvenating, optimistic, and positive perspective on popular culture as a site of cultural politics, McCollum’s latest volume, Make America Hate Again: Trump-Era Horror and the Politics of Fear (Routledge, 2019), represents the first major exploration of the horror genre through the lens of the Trump era, investigating the correlations between recent, culturally meaningful horror texts (films, television shows, podcasts and online parodies), and the broader culture within which they have become significant. This seminar will explore how the horror genre has adapted itself to the recent transformation of contemporary American politics and the mutating role of traditional and new media.
As McCollum notes, film and TV executives were quick to pivot toward the archetypal values, evangelical tone and war theology of quintessential Republicanism and “the people” (who elected Trump). Indeed, there has been a swift slant towards conservatism at dominant networks, “we're talking apple-pie, drive-in theatre, yellow-ribbons-round the tree conservatism manifested in two genres: shows about the military and shows about religion.” Nonetheless, as McCollum suggests, whilst red (state) may well be the new black, acknowledging that Trump-era pop culture has finally arrived (with God, Guns and Glory), horror repeatedly emerges as a critical counter-narrative in response to such turbulent political climates. For McCollum, the horror genre is responding more rapidly and, at times, a good deal more effectively than competing art forms to the events, anxieties, discourses, dogmas and socio-political conflicts of the Trump years.
Read more about McCollum’s Trump-Era Horror project in RTE Article Make America Scream Again.