Skip to main content

Dr Louise Child

Lecturer in Religious Studies

School of History, Archaeology and Religion

Available for postgraduate supervision


Research interests

  • Indigenous Religions and Animism
  • Anthropology, Sociology and Psychology of Religion
  • Shamanism and Possession Trance
  • Gender
  • Popular Film and Television including Gothic, Fantasy and Film Noir
  • Indigenous Film
  • Myth
  • Ghosts

Recent Conference Activity

My recent conference papers reflect the inter-disciplinary nature of my research interests that combine religious studies and film studies (both popular culture and indigenous film).  They include:

2022: House of Body, House of Mind: Ghosts and Portals in Poltergeist (1982) and The Haunting of Hill House (2018) for 'Hauntings' an online conference with the Australian Horror Studies Network, 30th October.

2022: Māori Spirits, Ancestors, and Tapu in Mataku (2022) and Kaitangata Twitch (2010) for 'The Global Fantastic' an online conference with the International Association of the Fantastic in the Arts, 7th October.

2022: Tricksters and Skinwalkers: Ambivalent Animism in Indigenous Religions and Native American and Canadian Films for 'Fantasy across Media' an online conference with GIFCON The Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, University of Glasgow.











Book sections



Dreams, Vampires and Ghosts: Anthropological Perspectives on the Sacred and Psychology in Film and Television (in press and due for publication with Bloomsbury in August 2023).

Drawing from social theory and the anthropology of religion, this book explores popular media's fascination with dreams, vampires, demons, ghosts and spirits. Dreams, Vampires and Ghosts does so in the light of contemporary animist studies of societies in which other-than-human persons are not merely a source of entertainment, but a lived social reality.  Film and television programs explored include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twin Peaks, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Truly Madly Deeply and the films of Hitchcock.  Louise Child draws attention to how they both depict and challenge ideas and practices rooted in psychology, while quality television has also fascilitated a wave of programming that can explore the interaction of characters in complex social worlds over time.  In addition to drawing on theories of film from Freudian psychology and feminist theory, Dreams, Vampires and Ghosts uses approaches derived from a combination of Jungian studies and anthropology that offer fresh insights for exploring film and television.  The book draws attention to explicit and subtle ways in which cinematic narratives engage with myth and religion while at the same time exploring collective dimensions to social and personal life.  It advances new developments in genre studies and gender as well as contributing to the growing field of implicit religion using in-depth analyses of communicative dreaming, the shadow and mystical lovers in film and television.


1. Dreaming: Anthropology, Psychology and the Study of Film and Television

2. Dreams as Detection: Trauma and Psychology in the Films of Alfred Hitchcock.

3. Animism, Anima and the Shadow in Twin Peaks

4. A Fairy Tale Heroine: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

5. Ghosts and Spirits: GhostPoltergeist and Afterlife

6. Dreams Reprise: Mad Love, Mesmerism and Mystical Participation in Heavenly Creatures and Bram Stoker's Dracula

7. Conclusion



  • Emotions, Symbols and Rituals: Studying Societies Through Film.
  • Bodies, Spirits, and Souls: The Person, Ethics, and Religion.
  • Myth and the Movies


  • I am available for PhD supervision in the areas of Religion and Film, Indigenous Religions and Animism and Social Theory and Religion