Dr. Laura Kremmel, assistant professor of English, authored a chapter in “Religious Horror and the Ecogothic,” a recently published collection that illuminates the ways in which a Christianized understanding of hierarchy, dominion, fear, and sublimity shapes reactions to the environment and conceptions of humanity’s place therein through a survey of Ecogothic texts from the 18th century to the present day.

In her chapter, "Sacred Consumption: An Ecocritical Reading of Gothic Cannibalism," Dr. Kremmel explores one of the Gothic’s most shocking taboos—cannibalism—for its position in both religion and nature, as a complex disruptor of human exceptionalism by aligning it with both animals and the divine. Using examples of cannibalism across early Gothic literature through an ecocritical lens, she argues that they offer a disruptive revision of anthropocentrism that circles back on the Gothic’s engagement with Catholicism, placing the eucharistic ritual in a broader, ecocritical light; and that human consumption of humankind serves as a disturbing reminder that humans are consumers of many natural resources, often to their own destruction.

“Cannibalism's extremism usefully poses questions about survival, ritual, and human relationships to the natural world,” she said. “This chapter is part of my growing interest in ecoburial experiments within the Gothic, particularly as they relate to mourning practices and the health humanities, under which I include death care.”