Mastering Fear: Women, Emotions & Horror

Subject PSYC90085 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 6.25
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2014:

May, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Intensive: 3 hours x 4, total 12 hours
Total Time Commitment:

60 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Office of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Arts


Subject Overview:

The course analyzes emotions in art horror from a holistic approach that combines sociobiology (called “the third way,” combining the natural sciences and the humanities); cognitive sciences; philosophy; and postfeminism. It looks at how we engage with art horror with our senses, feelings, affects, and emotions (Grodal). It asks how this physical engagement is inseparable from cognitive engagement – our evaluations and thoughts (Carroll, Smith). The course then addresses the philosophical dimension of engagement, looking at how we construct a “self” (Damasio, Metzinger) that seeks out various kinds of horror emotions, both negative and positive (Schubart). Finally, drawing on ethological research in play behavior, it views art horror as a mental form of play fighting or rough-and-tumble play (Pellis & Pellis, Bekoff & Pierce). As a gender-theoretical frame the course uses postfeminism (Stéphanie Genz, Iris Young, Toril Moi) and eco-feminism which sees gendered behavior as a matter of social learning rather than biology and thus within our range of agency, choice, and learning/flexibility. Examples are horror films, television shows, and literature from the last decade, varying from fantastic, paranormal romance to French new extremity. Themes are (1) emotions in minds, bodies, and texts; (2) the plurality of emotions in horror; (3) a holistic view of horror as play and meaningful for identity-construction for women. It will be possible to integrate examples and theoretical texts from students.

Learning Outcomes:

To provide advanced intensive instruction in a topic or area of scholarship in the humanities, social sciences or creative arts. A student who completes this subject should have:
• enhanced knowledge of the topic or area of scholarship taught in the module,
• an ability to reflect upon their own research work in relation to the content of the module, and
• enhanced engagement with leading-edge research in Arts today.

  • One 500-word essay proposal, due during the teaching period (20%)
  • One 2000-word essay, due within four weeks of completion of teaching (80%)
Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Related Course(s): Ph.D.- Arts

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