Dana Peterson

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Rodgers, Diane M., 1959-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Sociology


Sociology; Sexual minorities--Study and teaching


A new subgenre has begun emerging in the horror genre: "woke horror." Texts within this subgenre reflect the increased awareness of injustices against minority groups in American society. Prior research on horror has long connected the fears presented onscreen with real-life social anxieties of the time. Utilizing an intersectional framework that is concerned with racial, gender, and sexual orientation minorities, I engaged in a discourse analysis of three woke horror texts from 2017: American Horror Story: Cult, The Handmaid's Tale, and Get Out. Through multiple rounds of coding, I was able to uncover a variety of themes that distinguish who holds the power in these horror texts, who is subordinate, and how the new fears of the woke horror genre are used to control groups within the texts. The codes also revealed who in these texts are able to be the saviors of the rest of the subordinate group. The present study offers an important update to the literature on horror, both in the continuation of the connections between on-screen fears and real life, as well as an introduction to what is sure to continue to be a growing subgenre.


Advisors: Diane M. Rodgers.||Committee members: Kerry Ferris; Simon Weffer.||Includes bibliographical references.


99 pages




Northern Illinois University

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