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Dawn Keetley, Professor of English at Lehigh University

Dawn Keetley


0009 - Maginnes Hall

PhD, University of Wisconsin, 1994

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Additional Interests

  • Horror film, fiction, and TV
  • Folk Horror
  • Gothic
  • Ecogothic / ecohorror


Dawn Keetley is Professor of English and Film Studies, teaching horror/gothic literature, film, and television at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She has most recently published in the Journal of American CultureScience Fiction Film and Television StudiesGothic NatureJournal of Popular CultureHorror Studies, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, Journal of Popular Television, Journal of Film and Video, and Gothic Studies. She is editor of Jordan Peele’s Get Out: Political Horror (Ohio State University Press, 2020) and We’re All Infected: Essays on AMC’s The Walking Dead and the Fate of the Human (McFarland, 2014). She has co-edited (with Ruth Heholt) Folk Horror: New Global Pathways (University of Wales Press, 2023), (with Elizabeth Erwin), The Politics of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in The Walking Dead (McFarland, 2018), (with Angela Tenga) Plant Horror: Approaches to the Monstrous Vegetal in Fiction and Film (Palgrave, 2016) and (with Matthew Wynn Sivils) The Ecogothic in Nineteenth-century American Literature (Routledge, 2017). Her book, Making a Monster: Jesse Pomeroy, the Boy Murderer of 1870s Boston, was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2017. Keetley is currently working on numerous essays on contemporary horror and on folk horror, and she has a short monograph, Folk Gothic, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press’s Gothic Elements series, along with a special issue of the journal Horror Studies on folk horror, co-edited with Jeffrey Tolbert. She writes regularly for a horror website she co-created,

Publications from the last ten years:


In Progress

Folk Gothic, forthcoming from the Elements in the Gothic Series at Cambridge University Press (2023).

In Print


Making a Monster: Jesse Pomeroy, the Boy Murderer of 1870s Boston (University of Massachusetts Press, 2017).

Edited collections

Folk Horror: New Global Pathways, co-edited with Ruth Heholt (University of Wales Press, 2023).

Jordan Peele’s Get Out: Political Horror (Ohio State University Press, New Suns Series, 2020). 

The Politics of Race, Gender and Sexuality in The Walking Dead: Essays on the Television Series and the Comics, co-edited with Elizabeth Erwin (McFarland, 2018).

The Ecogothic in Nineteenth-Century American Literature, co-edited with Matthew Wynn Sivils (Routledge, 2017).

Plant Horror: Approaches to the Monstrous Vegetal in Fiction and Film, co-edited with Angela Tenga (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). 

“We’re All Infected”: Essays on AMC’s The Walking Dead and the Fate of the Human, ed. (McFarland, 2014). 


Guest editor, Special Issue of Horror Studies, Folk Horror (with Jeffrey Tolbert), Fall 2023. 

Guest editor, Special Issue of Revenant: Critical and Creative Studies of the Supernatural, Folk Horror 5 (March 2020).

Critical Conversation in Horror Studies series, Lehigh University Press (ongoing).



 “Doctor Who, Folk Horror and ‘Somewhere’-‘Anywhere’ Conflict,” in Critical Approaches to Horror in Doctor Who, edited by Robert Kilker (Lehigh University Press).

“The Mechanical Uncanny: Social Media and Digital Doubles in Unfriended (2014) and Cam (2018),” in Filtered Reality: The Progenitors and Evolution of the Found Footage Horror Film, edited by Rebecca Booth and Ryan Todd (House of Leaves Publishing, forthcoming), 17 pp. 

In Print

“Doomwatch: Sacrifice Zones and Folk Horror,” in Folk Horror: Return of the British Repressed, edited by Louis Bayman and K. J. Donnelly (Manchester University Press, 2023), pp. 87-103. 

“‘The Dark is Here’: The Third Day and Folk Horror’s Anxiety about Birthrate, Immigration, and Race,” in The Routledge Companion to Folk Horror, edited by Robert Edgar and Wayne Johnson (Routledge, 2023).

Foreword to Future Folk Horror: The Evolution of Folk Horror in the 21st Century and Beyond, ed. Simon Bacon (Lexington Press, 2023).

“Sacrifice Zones in Appalachian Folk Horror,” in Folk Horror: New Global Pathways, edited by Dawn Keetley and Ruth Heholt (University of Wales Press, 2023), pp. 245-61. 

“Forms of Folk Horror in Halloween III: Season of the Witch,” Journal of American Culture 45.4 (December 2022), pp. 373-85.

True Detective’s Folk Gothic,” in Dark Scenes from Damaged Earth: The Gothic Anthropocene, edited by Justin D. Edwards, Rune Graulund, and Johan Höglund (University of Minnesota Press, 2022), pp. 130-50.

“Monsters and Monstrosity,” in The Cambridge Companion to American Horror, edited by Stephen Shapiro and Mark Storey (Cambridge University Press, 2022), pp. 183-97. 

The Twilight Zone’s ‘Stopover in a Quiet Town,’ the Horror Film, and Dread of the Child,” in The Many Lives of the Twilight Zone: Essays on the Television and Film Franchise, edited by Ron Riekki and Kevin Wetmore (McFarland, 2022), pp. 113-23. 

“Black Mold, White Extinction: I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the HouseThe Haunting of Hill House, “Gray Matter,” and H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Shunned House,” in Haunted Nature: Entanglements of the Human and the Nonhuman, edited by Sladja Blazan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), 43-66,

“Climate Change, ‘Anthropocene Unburials’, and Agency on a Thawing Planet,” Science Fiction Film and Television Studies, special issue, “Creature Features and the Environment,” edited by Christy Tidwell and Bridgette Barclay, 14.3 (Fall 2021): 375-93,  

“Tentacular Horror and the Agency of Trees in Algernon Blackwood’s ‘The Man Whom the Trees Loved’ and Without Name,” in Fear and Nature: Ecohorror Studies in the Anthropocene, eds. Christy Tidwell and Carter Soles, AnthropoScene Series (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2021), 23-41.

“Dislodged Anthropocentrism and Ecological Critique in Folk Horror: From ‘Children of the Corn’ and The Wicker Man to ‘In the Tall Grass’ and Children of the Stones,” Gothic Nature 2 (Winter 2021), 13-36.

Mike Flanagan’s Mold-centric The Haunting of Hill House,” in The Streaming of Hill House: Essays on the Haunting Netflix Adaptation, edited by Kevin Wetmore (McFarland, 2020), 107-17.

“Get Out: Political Horror,” in Jordan Peele’s Get Out: Political Horror, edited by Dawn Keetley (Ohio State University Press, 2020), 1-18.

“Defining Folk Horror,” Introduction to special issue of Revenant: Critical and Creative Studies of the Supernatural, “Folk Horror,” 5 (March 2020), 1-32.

“Sleep and the Reign of the Uncanny in the Postrecession Horror Film,” The Journal of Popular Culture 52.5 (October 2019), 1017-35.

“Lock Her Up: Anxious Masculinity and the Captive Woman in Post-Recession Horror,” in Make America Hate Again: Trump-Era Horror and the Politics of Fear, edited by Victoria McCollum (Routledge, 2019), 97-108.

“The Shock of Aging (Women) in Horror Film,” in Elder Horror: Essays on Film’s Frightening Images of Aging, edited by Cynthia Miller and Bow Van Riper (McFarland, 2019), 58-69.

Foreword to The Palgrave Handbook to Horror Literature, edited by Kevin Corstorphine and Laura Kremmel (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

“Introduction: Identity Politics in The Walking Dead” and “Afterword: From Identity Politics to Tribalism,” in The Politics of Race, Gender and Sexuality in The Walking Dead: Essays on the Television Series and the Comics, co-edited with Elizabeth Erwin (McFarland, 2018), 1-9, 155-63.

“Showtime’s Dexter: On the Horror of Being (Non)Human,” Horror Studies 9.1 (Spring 2018): 51-68.

“Introduction: Approaches to the Ecogothic” (with Matthew Wynn Sivils), in The Ecogothic in Nineteenth-Century American Literature, edited by Dawn Keetley and Matthew Wynn Sivils (New York: Routledge, 2017), 1-20.

Hater: Zombies and Post-Millennial Rage,” in The Written Dead: Essays on the Literary Zombie edited by Kyle Bishop and Angela Tenga (McFarland, 2017), 133-44.

“Six Theses on Plant Horror; or, Why Are Plants Horrifying?” in Plant Horror: Approaches to the Monstrous Vegetal in Fiction and Film, edited by Dawn Keetley and Angela Tenga (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 1-30.

Thirteen Women (1932): An Unacknowledged Horror Classic” (with Gwendolyn Hofmann), Journal of Film and Video 68.1 (Spring 2016): 31-47.

-Translated into Italian in D’Oriente si muore. Incubi e fantasmi della ragione nel cinema degli anni Trenta (Dying for the Orient. Bad dreams and specters of reason in 30s filmography), edited by Giordano Giannini and Nicoletta Gruppi (Shatter, forthcoming).

FrozenThe Grey, and the Possibilities of Posthumanist Horror,” in Animal Horror Cinema: Genre, History and Criticism, ed. Johan Höglund, Nicklas Hållén, and Katarina Gregersdotteer (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015): 187-205.

'The "vegetative part": Organic and Plant Life in The Walking Dead,' Journal of Popular Television 3.1 (April 2015): 37-55.

“Zombie Republic: Property and the Propertyless Multitude in the Post-Apocalyptic World,” in a special issue of The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, “After/Lives: What’s Next for Humanities,” ed. by Kyle Bishop and Sarah Juliet Lauro, 25.2-3 (November 2014): 324-342.

“Introduction: ‘We’re All Infected,’” in “We’re All Infected”: Essays on AMC’s The Walking Dead and the Fate of the Human, edited by Dawn Keetley (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2014), 3-25. 

“Human Choice and Zombie Consciousness,” in “We’re All Infected”: Essays on AMC’s The Walking Dead and the Fate of the Human, edited by Dawn Keetley (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2014), 156-72.  

“Stillborn: The Entropic Gothic of FX’s American Horror Story,” Gothic Studies 15.2 (November 2013): 89-107.

“The Injuries of Reading: Jesse Pomeroy and the Dire Effects of Dime Novels,” Journal of American Studies 47.3 (August 2013): 673-97.


Introduction to the Horror Film

The Slasher

Advanced Studies in the Horror Film (e.g., Reading Showtime’s Dexter, Horror Adaptations)

American Gothic

Folk Horror