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Hauntology and Spectrality Research Group

This research group is led by Dr Robert Edgar.

The Hauntology and Spectrality group has been established to reflect and unify the existing research in the School of Humanities and beyond.


  • It affects and bereaves it in advance, like the ghost it will become, but this is precisely where haunting begins. And its time, and the untimeliness of its present, of its being 'out of joint.' To haunt does not mean to be present, and it is necessary to introduce haunting into the very construction of a concept. Of every concept, beginning with the concepts of being and time. That is what we would be calling here a hauntology. Jaques Derrida (1994) Spectres of Marx, the state of the debt, the Work of Mourning, & the New International, translated by Peggy Kamuf, Routledge 1994
  • '…think of Hauntology as the agency of the virtual, with the spectre understood not as anything supernatural, but that which acts without (physically existing).' Mark Fisher (2014) Ghosts of My Life, Zero.
  • 'the priority of being and presence with the figure of the ghost as that which is neither present, nor absent, neither dead nor alive.' Colin Davis, Hauntology, spectres and phantoms, French Studies, Volume 59, Issue 3, July 2005, pages 373–379.

The group is constituted by the work of its members and exists as a place for individual members to discuss their research, provide peer feedback and support and to generate new ideas and projects for the future.

The work of members of the group covers critical and creative practice in:

  • Folk Horror
  • Nostalgia
  • Psychogeography
  • Children’s Spectral Fiction
  • Environmental Anxieties
  • Cold War Histories

Get in touch

The group would welcome PhD enquiries on any aspect on hauntology, nostalgia, uncanny fiction, weird fiction, any aspect of horror and related twentieth century histories.

We are interested in subject specific and interdisciplinary projects. We can also consider practice based PhD projects, with group members also being part of the York Centre for Writing.

Research activity

Stephenson, L, Edgar, R and Marland, J. Horrifying Children: Hauntology and the Legacy of Children's Fiction, Bloomsbury: New York

Edgar, R and Johnson, W, (eds.). The Routledge Companion to Folk Horror, Routledge: London

Smith, A, Edgar, R and Marland, J. Thomas Hardy and the Folk Horror Tradition, Bloomsbury: New York

McDonald, K and Johnson, W. The Spectral Western Publisher tbc

Group members

Robert Edgar

Dr Robert Edgar

Group lead, Associate Professor of Creative Writing

Keith McDonald

Dr Keith McDonald

Group co-lead, Senior Lecturer in Film and Media

Dr Lauren Stephenson

Group co-lead, Senior Lecturer in Film and Media

Professor Abi Curtis

Professor of Creative Writing

Dr Wayne Johnson

Senior Lecturer in Film and Media

John Marland

Senior Lecturer in Literature

Dr Christopher Price

Senior Lecturer in History

Shirley Stephenson

PhD Researcher in Creative Writing

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