Univ of Florida course explores ‘racial Otherness and racism’ of classic horror literature, claims it’s not indoctrination

With everything decidedly racist, it only made sense that the woke mob would eventually come for Frankenstein, and a University of Florida course aimed to do just that with explorations of “racial Otherness and other racism.”

Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus” was one of a slew of classic works listed as required reading for a course taught in Fall 2022 titled “Black Horror, White Terror.” The UF offering from assistant professor Julia Mollenthiel, named for her dissertation and forthcoming book, was recently exposed by The College Fix and drew attention to the contradictory syllabus.

“This African American Studies course is an examination of literary and artistic horror by Black artists. We will probe the genre of horror and its trends with a particular focus on representations of racial Otherness and racism,” Mollenthiel detailed.

‘Black Horror, White Te… by The College Fix

“We will also consider white American literary and cinematic representations of racial Otherness and horror in the works of Gothic writers and film producers,” read the syllabus that also sought to review Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” with the same scrutiny as Jordan Peele’s 2017 film “Get Out.”

“Some underlying questions that will drive our discussion of these texts are: how has the history of American cinema and Gothic literature contributed to the construction of racial identity, the drawing of ethnic boundaries, and affected racialized discourses? How have Black artists developed their own unique horror tradition in response to this history? More specifically, how have Black artists used the horror aesthetic as a means of countering white constructions of Blackness in the horror/Gothic genre?” the professor suggested.

Then with seemingly no intended irony, the classroom etiquette expectations stated, “Disrespect of any kind will not be tolerated. This includes, but is not limited to, hate speech racist/sexist/homophobic language, shutting people down, and name-calling.” (emphasis added)

The syllabus went on to note underlined and in bold, “No lesson is intended to espouse, promote, advance, inculcate, or compel a particular feeling, perception, viewpoint, or belief.”

Dr. Julia M. Mollenthiel
Image: University of Florida

The added statement appeared every bit an attempt to skirt pushback as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has led the legislature to weed out divisive courses, critical race theory and inaccurate teachings of history through the pending Stop WOKE Act.

However, DeSantis’ press secretary Bryan Griffin remarked to Fox News Digital that, just like declaring a thing racist didn’t make it so, asserting that you weren’t promoting a point of view didn’t mean you weren’t.

“Without knowing the specifics of this particular course … universally: no disclaimer will make discrimination permissible,” he said and added, “Governor DeSantis is committed to ensuring Florida’s higher education is free from discriminatory harassment as articulated above, free from historical falsehoods like CRT, and free from political agenda-seeking, as perpetrated by the DEI bureaucracy. These things will be cut off and wither on the vine in Florida.”

Additional readings included “Queering Personhood in the Neo-Slave Narrative” and “The Power and Horror of Whiteness.”

Mollenthiel reportedly did not respond to questions emailed by The College Fix, nor did UF’s African American Studies program director David Canton.


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Kevin Haggerty


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