Sunday, October 04, 2020

CFP: Monsters and the Monstrous, April 2021

"I'm hated, execrated, those I meet are repelled by me. They want me crucified, and maybe their feelings are all too justified," sang the American band The Bastard Fairies in their 2010 title track "Man-Made Monster." The lyrics of the song oscillate between cackling threats of murder and cannibalism, and the lament, "It didn't have to be this way, I'm a man-made monster led astray." Such is the paradox of the monster and its appeal: simultaneously a true threat, and the object of sympathy.

Monsters and the Monstrous
2nd Global Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference

Friday 16th April 2021 - Saturday 17th April 2021
Vienna, Austria

Monsters have been used for millennia to frighten and control - from children's stories that threaten them with monsters if they don't listen to their parents, to propaganda that instills a fear of a monstrous 'Other' to encourage citizens to go to war. But history is also replete with misunderstood monsters, creatures who are misjudged, and perhaps even become monstrous because of the judgement they experience. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, misunderstood monsters may even have outnumbered sincerely scary ones.

This conference is an interdisciplinary exploration of the variety of monsters, from gooey spider-legged creatures under the bed, to serial killers safely locked in jail and historical memory. Why do cultures create such abundances of monsters, both in fiction and in our tellings of reality? What are their functions, their roles in society, their cultural impacts? And at the same time, what draws so many people to the monstrous? Are we driven by some primal urge to touch evil, or is there a redemptive impulse in the desire to save a misunderstood creature or person?

This project will take a broad definition of "monsters" and "the monstrous," including creatures, people, actions, and events with a view to forming a series of innovative interdisciplinary publications and future collaborations among other project plans.

Consistent with its interdisciplinary ethos, the event proposes to step outside the traditional conference setting and offer opportunities for artists, practitioners, theorists, independent scholars, performers, writers, and others to intermingle, providing platforms for interdisciplinary interactions. The organisers welcome proposals for presentations, displays, round-tables, panels, interactive workshops and other activities to stimulate engagement and discussion on any aspect of the interplay between monsters, monstrosities and the monstrous.

Key topics, themes and issues for discussion may include, but are definitely not limited to:

  • Monsters as instruments of control (Krampus, "the bogeyman will get you")
  • Representations of monstrosity
  • Sympathetic monsters (intentional and unintentional)
  • The "monstrous" body in history and medicine
  • The monstrous feminine, monsters as gendered beings
  • Reclaiming monsters, monsters as empowerment
  • Monsters of our childhood/children and monsters
  • Global monsters, monsters from global folklore
  • Funny monsters/making fun of monsters
  • Real-life monsters: serial killers, sex criminals, "sociopaths"
  • Political monsters and monsters as instruments of propaganda
  • Monstrous technologies
  • Monsters in literature, film, theatre, etc
  • What makes someone recognizable as a monster?
  • Religion and monsters – devils, demons, fantastic beasts
  • The monster as a metaphor
  • Monsters and fear, the psychology of the monstrous

Presentations will also be accepted which deal solely with specific monsters.

What To Send
The aim of this interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, performances, poster presentations, panels, q and a's, round-tables etc.

300 word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Friday 25th September 2020. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chair.

All submissions will be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.

You will be notified of the panel's decision by Friday 9th October 2020.

If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 12th February 2021.

Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, PDF, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.

E-mails should be entitled: Monsters Submission

Where To Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chair and the Project Administrator:

Lorraine Rumson:
Project Administrator:

Monsters and the Monstrous
2nd Global Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference

Friday 16th April 2021 - Saturday 17th April 2021
Vienna, Austria



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