The question I get most often when I describe what I do is “why horror?” The next most frequent question is “why media?” The answer to both is, unsurprisingly, very similar: because we are our media and our media is us. The movies and tv shows we watch, the games that we play, and the stories we read are both reflections of ourselves and our worlds and influences on our culture and politics. I do what I do (research, analyze, and write about media) because as far as I’m concerned there’s no better way of getting to the core of why the world, and people, work the way that they do.
And the specific answer for why horror? Because the things that scare us, really scare us, are very often the same things that motivate political, social, and economic anxiety. The serial killer is the dangerous intruder entering our space. The zombie is consumption without thought, capitalism at full throttle. The witch is (most often) a woman who demands agency and drastically breaks from accepted conventions and norms, and is sometimes punished for this.
In short, horror reflects our deepest, darkest,
realest fears about the world around us.
What is Open Ivory Tower?
Open Ivory Tower is a website devoted to podcast and blog series that analytically consider television, movies, games, and fiction from an academic, scholarly perspective.
My website and podcast exist to bring the intellectual discussion and theory of academia into the the broader world in a way that is, hopefully, accessible to anyone regardless of educational background.
Past projects for the site have covered the history of monsters in film, the intersections of horror film and literature, and how liminality appears and what it means in film and television. Current projects include a podcast series on the evolution of the Final Girl trope in contemporary television horror, a blog series on the history of television horror, and a taxonomy of horror sub-genres.
My work isn’t always focused on horror, I’ve posted a few pieces on science fiction and drama, but if you want to see something on a genre other than horror I’d strongly suggest looking at the $10 donation tier.
Why Am I On Patreon?
Researching and writing for blogs takes a LOT of time. Podcasts take even longer. Keeping up with hosting, server, and streaming service costs to access the media I’m writing about and be able to put everything online for free isn’t cheap. Ideally, I’d like to devote all of my time to the work I produce for the website so that I can get a podcast out more frequently than every 6 months and keep up with weekly blog posts, but that’s not possible while I’m also working a day job. Put simply, the more support the website gets, the more time I can give it, which translates directly to more content more frequently for all of you.
Who Am I And Why Should You Listen To Me?
I’m Geneveive Newman and this website and all of its content is my blood, sweat, and tears set to words. As for my credentials, I’m a recent graduate of the Cinema and Media Studies Master of Arts program at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. I studied Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside as an undergraduate. While working on my BA I focused on (de)colonial and post colonial studies, incarceration and coercive state institutions, and independent and indie cinema in the United States. As a graduate student my scholarship is primarily concerned with embodied viewership experiences, the politics of in-betweenness in cultural production, horror and science fiction cinema, and Irish television, film, and literature. The theoretical foundation for my work is in queer studies, critical race and gender studies, and transnational cinema studies.
Getting my work out there into the world, outside of the seemingly protected, comfortable space of academia, has been utterly terrifying to say the least. Having the support of even one reader or listener makes all of the time and effort worth it, and lets me know that this thing is worth doing even if it is scary. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading, listening, and supporting.