Welcome Address from the new Co-Presidents of the IGA

To all members of the Gothic Studies community, we are honored and thrilled to have been elected co-presidents of the International Gothic Association. Honored because this association has received global recognition over the last two decades, increasing its visibility and influence not just in Western Europe and North America but also in Central and South America, Asia and Australasia. Thrilled because we have an opportunity to take the IGA from strength to strength by further promoting and celebrating international research on Gothic.

The strength of the IGA owes a great deal to Professor Angela Wright and Dr. Catherine Spooner (IGA co-presidents 2013-2017) who handled their presidential duties with a unique mix of vision, efficiency and good humor. Under their leadership, the IGA developed new prizes, increased and enhanced its web presence (through social media and website), as well as held the first conference in Latin America. Many thanks to Angela and Catherine for their great service as co-presidents; we wish them all the best in their future Gothicky endeavors.

Our co-presidency marks a significant time for Gothic Studies: Frankenstein turns 200 in 2018 and, as a consequence, there will be many opportunities for us to celebrate this anniversary at the seminars, lecture series, special panels, media programs and conferences happening around the world. This milestone has led to a welcome situation wherein we, as co-presidents, will participate in three IGA conferences in three years: Universidad de las Américas Puebla (2017), Manchester Metropolitan University (2018) and Lewis University (2019). The latter conference will be a significant milestone, for it is the first time the IGA will be hosted by an institution in the US. We look forward to seeing you again soon, first at Manchester Met and then at Lewis University (near Chicago).

We are also excited to be the first co-presidents to straddle two continents: Jason in Canada, Justin in Scotland. This transatlantic co-presidency reflects the international commitment of the IGA. We embrace this commitment and, as the new co-presidents, we will seek to increase the global networks of Gothic Studies to enable academics from diverse backgrounds working on Gothic to interact, collaborate and exchange ideas. We look forward to working with you to achieve these goals.

Moving forward, we hope to add to our avenues of communication.  Our website will still be the central hub for all things IGA and Gothic, and if you have relevant information to post on our blog (calls for papers, job ads, Gothic events, and so on), please send it along; our web expert, Mary Going, is always happy to have new content.  In addition to the website, we are currently working to build an up-to-date mailing list so we can alert you of new items (the more traditional forms of gothic communication—haunting, mass séances and the like—are out of our price range…).  Expect updates on these items in due time.

In addition to our conferences, the main vehicle for our scholarly activities is our journal, Gothic Studies, and like the conferences, Gothic Studies is approaching a milestone. As those of you who attended the AGM in Cholula know, our current editor, Bill Hughes, will be stepping down as editor after 20 years. We don’t have the space here to extend to Bill all the gratitude he deserves for guiding the journal so extraordinarily well over the past two decades. But, we will have some time to fête his accomplishments, as he has graciously agreed to stay on until the journal transitions to its new editor.

And so where we began this post by looking back, we end it by looking forward: in the coming weeks, after consulting with the IGA’s Board, we will be issuing a few calls:

First we will be asking for volunteers (esp. from North America) to fill an open position for a graduate student representative.  See the original call for volunteers here: http://www.internationalgothic.group.shef.ac.uk/?p=311 (note: “postgrad” in the UK = “graduate student” in North America).

Second, we are asking those interested to submit proposals to host our 2021 and 2023 biennial conferences: we know, that seems like the far future, but it will sneak up on us!  So if you are interested, then please let us know.

And last but far from least, in the coming months, we will be posting a call for expressions of interest to take on the editorship of Gothic Studies. Gothic Studies is, of course, the premier journal in our field, and so this is obviously a significant position.  It will require both experience with editing academic journals some institutional support. Once the call is posted, we will be happy to answer any questions from interested editors.

With that, we will sign off. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.  And, of course, if you are not yet a member of the IGA, or if it’s time to renew, please do so by visiting this page: http://www.internationalgothic.group.shef.ac.uk/?page_id=57.

Justin and Jason

Professor Justin D Edwards, University of Stirling, Scotland

Professor Jason Haslam, Dalhousie University, Canada