Latest Issue of SITF

HBO’s recent series Lovecraft Country takes up the monsters of H. P. Lovecraft’s universe, but flips the script to make the heroes an African-American cast battling various demons in the Jim Crow era. Arguably, the show aimed at a re-appropriation or détournement of the pulp legend’s troubling racism, but critics seem divided on the show’s success. In Dr. Kinitra Brooks’s writings on the series for The Root, she situated it as “a part of the contemporary arts movement that media professor John Jennings coined as ‘Racecraftian,’ inspired by Karen and Barbara Fields in their 2014 book, Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life.” Therein, racecraft is defined as a practice: racism produces the illusion of race, and Jennings adopted the term (thinking specifically of its homology with Lovecraft’s name) to signify horror narratives that engage with critical race studies for the purpose of dismantling constructions of race. As an adaptation of Lovecraft’s universe, the HBO series would seem to be speaking back to the pulp legend. 

Studies in the Fantastic, a journal founded by Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi, releases a special issue on the show with an interest in essays that delve into this debate, the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Lovecraft Country, and the Racecraftian turn.