The Writers House‘s newest initiative, “Faculty Works in Progress,” will invite faculty members to discuss their ongoing research. Dr. Jillian Sayre, Assistant Professor of English, will present, “Consuming Bodies: The Colonial Abject in Indigenous Horror,” on February 24 at 12:45 p.m. in the Writers House. Email Leah Falk to register. All attendees must abide by university COVID-19 safety protocols.


“Focusing on the work of contemporary Indigenous creators within the horror genre, I study the way these stories deploy what I call the “colonial abject,” a literalizing of the myriad violence of an ongoing colonization through a rewriting of generic tropes. I’m interested in the way that Indigenous worldviews challenge traditional understanding of storytelling writ large (in a narratological sense), and in particular the way that these creators are using horror to both situate Indigenous identity and unwork powerful narratives of monstrosity, contagion, and consumption that had previous served as the handmaiden of European colonial expansion. I argue that these Indigenous horror narratives offer us a way of expanding what Daniel Heath Justice has called Indigenous Wonderworks, a resistance to Western standards of realism that makes space for openness and hesitation (Why Indigenous Literatures Matter, 2018). Instead of a hospitable openness, though, the colonial abject functions within and draws our attention to a wounded narrative structure, refusing simultaneously the progressive temporalities of resolution and the discursive violence of haunting.”

About Dr. Jillian Sayre

Jillian Sayre is Assistant Professor of English at Rutgers-Camden where she teaches courses American Literature, Native American Literature, popular genres, and contemporary theory. She is the author of Mourning the Nation to Come (LSU 2020), a comparative study of early national culture in North and South America, as well as recent and forthcoming work in ISLE (Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment), Early American Literature, and Americanist Approaches to The Book of Mormon.