Call for Papers "Anthropology of Fright. Perspectives from Asia"

Donnerstag, 22. Februar 2018

Headlines around the globe in 2017 – ranging from terrorist attacks to war in Syria – were dominated by “frightful” events. This special issue would like to focus on fright and fear in a broad sense – not limited to the above-mentioned global events. Taking a distinctive Asian perspective we are interested in the idea of fright: what are sources of fright and fear, how do we encounter them and handle such fears whenever we are confronted with them.


In a comparative and multidisciplinary approach we would like to bring together different but often overlapping contexts of fright including: the political sphere taking into account frightful moments such as riots and violence; fright as socio-moral regulator and counterbalance to social change and the ambivalence of social, cultural, ontological or political otherness; fright as linked to religion such as the frightening sight of goddesses like Kali in India, but also myths, legends and narratives about potentially harmful beings, spirits or “monsters”; as well as fright as motor for religious change; every-day and life-cycle attempts to safeguard the well-being of persons, families, clans by trans¬forming or minimizing risks or dangers and completing cycles such as turning dead into proper ancestors, while avoiding untransformed substances possibly leading to threatening ghosts, warding off the evil-eye etc.; popular culture representations of fright.


We invite contributions from across the humanities, arts, and social sciences spectrum including anthropology, sociology, religious studies, area studies, folklore studies, political science etc. based on empirical research. Possible questions include: What or who is (or is not) considered frightening, scary, creepy, harmful etc. by whom and in which context? How do perceptions and constructions of the other, the other worldly, the unknown or unclassifiable play a role in such processes? How are fright and fear locally combined with or complemented by awe, ridicule or laughter? When are fright and fears arising and how are they linked to liminality, crisis or new beginnings? How are technologies used to manage or reproduce fright?


Prospective contributors to the Special Issue are invited to send a short 300-500 word proposal to the editorial mananger at

asianstudies [at]
by 15 March 2018.

The proposal should detail the empirical focus and main research questions addressed. Selected contributors will be invited to submit their full article for peer review by 20 April 2018 with a prospective publication in the journal in end-2018.