Horror, apocalypse and world politics

Dr Tim Aistrope, together with Stephanie Fishel, has published an article in International Affairs

International Affairs, Volume 96, Issue 3, May 2020

World politics generates a long list of anxiety-inspiring scenarios that threaten to unravel everyday life with sudden and violent destruction. From total war and the concentration camps, through nuclear firestorms, global pandemics and climate disaster, the diabolical violence of the recent past and conceivable future is the stuff of nightmares. Yet International Relations scholars and practitioners are often criticized for being disconnected from the human realities of international calamity. The challenge for both is to engage world politics in a way that foregrounds the human consequences of extreme violence and depravation. In this article, we explore these difficult experiences through popular culture representations of the apocalypse, a subject of intense interest for researchers in a discipline where global destruction is a distinct possibility. However, we take a different route by engaging the apocalypse through the horror genre, the one place where human suffering is explicitly accentuated. We argue that the horror genre is at once an access point for ethical engagement with the human consequences of extreme violence and a complex terrain where dark imaginings can be politically loaded, culturally specific and ethically ambiguous.

To read the full article go to https://academic.oup.com/ia/article/96/3/631/5810416