Mechanisms of Monstrosity
Friday 25th July – Sunday 27th July 2014
Mansfield College, Oxford
This years Monsters and the Monstrous conference will focus on the mechanisms of monstrosity itself and the forms of othering and difference that cause a society, a culture and a historical moment to label someone or something as monstrous. As such, whilst iconic monsters such as Frankenstein’s Monster and Dracula can themselves be seen to embody a particular cultures sexual, racial, and even biological anxieties, we wish to focus on those forms of abjection that can be seen to have initiated or fueled such a “monstrous” response. Contemporary examples might include paedophiles, parents in the widest sense (mothers and usually step-fathers in particular) who kill their children, sex offenders and even immigrants. More recently, reactions to bankers, the perceived greed of corporations, and even natural phenomenon (global warming, tseunami’s, tornado’s) have elicited similar responses. Consequently it is both the groups, even phenomena, that are othered or seen to “polute” and destabilse the normalised “us” of society, and the reasons and mechanisms of why and how that we wish to explore.
These monstrous technologies, as labelled by some theorists, or what we might also call the mechanics of monstrosity are utilised by ideologies of patriarchy, nationalism, imperialism and capitalism, to name but a few, to victimise those that defy or exceed categorisation or that threaten to corrupt or dissolve the hetero-normative subject and the societal “I”. Whilst this points to the monsterisation of groups, or individuals that fail to belong to the “group,” due to their, gender, sexuality, disability or ethnicity, it also suggests the inherent monstrosity of the group, culture, ideology that creates and enforces such systems of demarcation and exclusion. As such the nature of the machinery of monstrosity created, maintained and disseminated by and throughout a particular culture will also be examined. It is also worth noting of course that whilst such mechanisms differentiate between those that are included and excluded, that even with the category of the “us” there are often further sub-divisions of purity and privilege, or what we might call “non-monstrosity.” Here then hierarchies of class, caste, gender and ability can be seen to be equally monsterising in the way it differentiates both inside and outside the category of “us”.
This call for proposals then asks for consideration of the above in relation to differing cultures and societies as well as specific historical moments that produced and utilised ideologies of monstrosity, in terms of sex, gender, ethnicity, disability, class etc., to delineate notions of societal inclusion and exclusion, and various hierarchies within them.
Examples of the above can be seen in, but are not exclusive to, the following categories:
Collective, Social, National
– neighbours, enemies and outsiders – real and imaginary lands
– supernatural realms and spiritual otherness
– human, non-human and animal
– colonialism, post-colonialism and borderlands
– barbaric acts, piracy, cannibalism, genocide
– surveillance, control and dissemination
Gender and Sexuality
– heteronormativity, male hierarchy, patriarchy, matriarchy and feminism
– asexual, non-sexual, hermaphrodite and non-reproduction
– alternative sexual practices, pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia
– skin colour, hair colour, blemishes, tatoos, piercing
– fashion, costume, cosmetics and body enhancement
– customs, rites and religious practice
– disability, body difference, chronic conditions and mental health
– class, caste, age, language, dialect
– natural disasters, acts of God, global warming and extreme weather
– ideological monsters, economic collapse/crisis and GM crops and foodstuffs
– media, internet and virtual spaces, hacking, trolling and bullying
– WMD’s, chemical weapons, warcrimes and enhanced torture
Proposals for panels and alternative forms of presentation are strongly encouraged on the above and any related topics.
In order to support and encourage interdisciplinarity engagement, it is our intention to create the possibility of starting dialogues between the parallel events running during this conference. Delegates are welcome to attend up to two sessions in each of the concurrent conferences. We also propose to produce cross-over sessions between these groups – and we welcome proposals which deal with the relationship between Monsters and the Monstrous and Sexuality and Ethnicity.
What to Send
Proposals will also be considered on any related theme. 300 word proposals should be submitted by Friday 14th February 2014. If a proposal is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper of no more than 3000 words should be submitted by Friday 16th May 2014. Proposals should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Monsters12 Proposal Submission
Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.
Organising Chairs .
The aim of the conference is to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.All proposals accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected proposals may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). All publications from the conference will require editors, to be chosen from interested delegates from the conference.
Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation.
Details on the conference running alongside this project in 2014 can be found here: Sexuality and Ethnicity
Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.