A collection of scholarship on monsters and their meaning—across genres, disciplines, methodologies, and time—from foundational texts to the most recent contributions Zombies and vampires, banshees and basilisks, demons and wendigos, goblins, gorgons, golems, and ghosts. From the mythical monstrous races of the ancient world to the murderous cyborgs of our day, monsters have haunted the human imagination, giving shape to the fears and desires of their time. And as long as there have been monsters, there have been attempts to make sense of them, to explain where they come from and what they mean. This book collects the best of what contemporary scholars have to say on the subject, in the process creating a map of the monstrous across the vast and complex terrain of the human psyche. Editor Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock prepares the way with a genealogy of monster theory, traveling from the earliest explanations of monsters through psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, and cultural studies, to the development of monster theory per se—and including Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s foundational essay “Monster Theory (Seven Theses),” reproduced here in its entirety. There follow sections devoted to the terminology and concepts used in talking about monstrosity; the relevance of race, religion, gender, class, sexuality, and physical appearance; the application of monster theory to contemporary cultural concerns such as ecology, religion, and terrorism; and finally the possibilities monsters present for envisioning a different future. Including the most interesting and important proponents of monster theory and its progenitors, from Sigmund Freud to Julia Kristeva to J. Halberstam, Donna Haraway, Barbara Creed, and Stephen T. Asma—as well as harder-to-find contributions such as Robin Wood’s and Masahiro Mori’s—this is the most extensive and comprehensive collection of scholarship on monsters and monstrosity across disciplines and methods ever to be assembled and will serve as an invaluable resource for students of the uncanny in all its guises. Contributors: Stephen T. Asma, Columbia College Chicago; Timothy K. Beal, Case Western Reserve U; Harry Benshoff, U of North Texas; Bettina Bildhauer, U of St. Andrews; Noel Carroll, The Graduate Center, CUNY; Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Arizona State U; Barbara Creed, U of Melbourne; Michael Dylan Foster, UC Davis; Sigmund Freud; Elizabeth Grosz, Duke U; J. Halberstam, Columbia U; Donna Haraway, UC Santa Cruz; Julia Kristeva, Paris Diderot U; Anthony Lioi, The Julliard School; Patricia MacCormack, Anglia Ruskin U; Masahiro Mori; Annalee Newitz; Jasbir K. Puar, Rutgers U; Amit A. Rai, Queen Mary U of London; Margrit Shildrick, Stockholm U; Jon Stratton, U of South Australia; Erin Suzuki, UC San Diego; Robin Wood, York U; Alexa Wright, U of Westminster.
The contributors to Monster Theory consider beasts, demons, freaks and fiends as symbolic expressions of cultural unease that pervade a society and shape its collective behavior. Through a historical sampling of monsters, these essays argue that our fascination for the monstrous testifies to our continued desire to explore difference and prohibition.
In the past decade, our rapidly changing world faced terrorism, global epidemics, economic and social strife, new communication technologies, immigration, and climate change to name a few. These fears and tensions reflect an evermore-interconnected global environment where increased mobility of people, technologies, and disease have produced great social, political, and economical uncertainty. The essays in this collection examine how monstrosity has been used to manage these rising fears and tensions. Analyzing popular films and televisions shows, such as True Blood, Twilight, Paranormal Activity, District 9, Battlestar Galactica, and Avatar, it argues that monstrous narratives of the past decade have become omnipresent specifically because they represent collective social anxieties over resisting and embracing change in the 21st century. The first comprehensive text that uses monstrosity not just as a metaphor for change, but rather a necessary condition through which change is lived and experienced in the 21st century, this approach introduces a different perspective toward the study of monstrosity in culture.
A culture defines monsters against what is essentially thought of as human. Creatures such as the harpy, the siren, the witch, and the half-human all threaten to destroy our sense of power and intelligence and usurp our human consciousness. In this way, monster myths actually work to define a culture's definition of what is human. In Monsters in the Italian Literary Imagination, a broad range of scholars examine the monster in Italian culture and its evolution from the medieval period to the twentieth century. Editor Keala Jewell explores how Italian culture juxtaposes the powers of the monster against the human. The essays in this volume engage a wide variety of philological, feminist, and psychoanalytical approaches and examine monstrous figures from the medieval to postmodern periods. They each share a critical interest in how monsters reflect a culture's dominant ideologies.
What is it about ancient monsters that popular culture still finds so enthralling? Why do the monsters of antiquity continue to stride across the modern world? In this book, the first in-depth study of how post-classical societies use the creatures from ancient myth, Liz Gloyn reveals the trends behind how we have used monsters since the 1950s to the present day, and considers why they have remained such a powerful presence in our shared cultural imagination. She presents a new model for interpreting the extraordinary vitality that classical monsters have shown, and their enormous adaptability in finding places to dwell in popular culture without sacrificing their connection to the ancient world. Her argument takes her readers through a comprehensive tour of monsters on film and television, from the much-loved creations of Ray Harryhausen in Clash of the Titans to the monster of the week in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, before looking in detail at the afterlives of the Medusa and the Minotaur. She develops a broad theory of the ancient monster and its life after antiquity, investigating its relation to gender, genre and space to offer a bold and novel exploration of what keeps drawing us back to these mythical beasts. From the siren to the centaur, all monster lovers will find something to enjoy in this stimulating and accessible book.
Monsters are fragmentary, uncertain, frightening creatures. What happens when they enter the realm of the theatre? The Monster in Theatre History explores the cultural genealogies of monsters as they appear in the recorded history of Western theatre. From the Ancient Greeks to the most cutting-edge new media, Michael Chemers focuses on a series of ‘key’ monsters, including Frankenstein’s creature, werewolves, ghosts, and vampires, to reconsider what monsters in performance might mean to those who witness them. This volume builds a clear methodology for engaging with theatrical monsters of all kinds, providing a much-needed guidebook to this fascinating hinterland.
Religion, Culture, and the Monstrous: Of Gods and Monsters explores the intersection of the emerging field of “monster theory” within religious studies. With case studies from ancient Mesopotamia to contemporary valleys of the Himalayas to ghost tours in Savannah, Georgia, the volume examines the variegated nature of the monstrous as well as the cultural functions of monsters in shaping how we see the world and ourselves. In this, the authors constructively assess the state of the two fields of monster theory and religious studies, and propose new directions in how these fields can inform each other. The case studies included illuminate the ways in which monsters reinforce the categories through which a given culture sees the world. At the same time, the volume points to how monsters appear to question, disrupt, or challenge those categories, creating an ‘unsettling’ or surplus of meaning.
An indispensable resource for students and researchers of paranormal myth and media, this book explores the undead and unholy in literature, film, television, and popular culture. Following an introduction to frightful manifestations in media, sections address ghosts, vampires, and monsters individually, and each section includes a broad consideration of the ghost, vampire or monster in American culture. The section dedicated to ghosts examines the "spectral turn" of popular culture and the ghost's relation to justice and mourning, with particular attention to Toni Morrison and Herman Melville. In the vampires section, the author considers the undead bloodsucker's relationship to anti-Semitism, suicide, and cinema. The third section discusses monsters in relation to topics such as global pandemics, terrorism, mass shootings, "stranger danger," and social otherness, with attention to a range of popular culture texts including the films IT and It Follows.
The Metaphor of the Monster offers fresh perspectives and a variety of disciplinary approaches to the ever-broadening field of monster studies. The eclectic group of contributors to this volume represents areas of study not generally considered under the purview of monster studies, including world literature, classical studies, philosophy, ecocriticism, animal ethics, and gender studies. Combining historical overviews with contemporary and global outlooks, this volume recontextualizes the monstrous entities that have always haunted the human imagination in the age of the Anthropocene. It also invites reflection on new forms of monstrosity in an era epitomized by an unprecedented deluge of (mis)information. Uniting researchers from varied academic backgrounds in a common effort to challenge the monstrous labels that have historically been imposed upon "the Other," this book endeavors above all to bring the monster out of the shadows and into the light of moral consideration.
Anyone who reads the papers or watches the evening news is all too familiar with how variations of the word monster are used to describe unthinkable acts of violence. Jeffrey Dahmer, Timothy McVeigh, and O. J. Simpson were all monsters if we are to believe the mass media. Even Bill Clinton was depicted with the term during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. But why is so much energy devoted in our culture to the making of monsters? Why are Americans so transfixed by transgression? What is at stake when the exclamatory gestures of horror films pass for descriptive arguments in courtrooms, ethical speech in political commentary, or the bedrock of mainstream journalism? At Stake is an analysis of popular culture, a critique of a secularized religious discourse, as well as a plea of a plea for cleaning up the ethics of public speech. Edward J. Ingebretsen explores the social construction of monstrousness in public discourse, examining the uses of transgression and deviancy in tabloids, mainstream press, television, magazine, sermons, speeches, and popular fiction. The two students who took aim at Columbine High School, for instance, were declared monsters by Time magazine. Like wise, on the eve of his execution, Timothy McVeigh was decried as a monster who deserved to die. These examples typify the inept way the word broadly eliminates the very humanity upon which ethical judgment must depend. Ingebretsen argues that monsters serve as convenient tokens whose narratives contain trauma as well as solution; they provide easy answers to intractable problems. Susan Smith, the South Carolinian who murdered her children, is thus thought to embody the crisis of maternal neglect; nonetheless, keeping focus on her leaves unaddressed larger questions about the crisis of marriage and single motherhood. Monster, then, return us to the ancient language that once termed them "omens of the Gods." They show and tell; fright and point.
Die Einflüsse Luthers und des Luthertums blieben nicht auf die politischen und religiösen Binnenwelten des mitteleuropäischen Protestantismus beschränkt. Im Gegenteil: Luthers Theologie fand weltweit, vor allem in den USA, aber auch in Afrika, Australien, Asien und Teilen Lateinamerikas Verbreitung. Umso erstaunlicher ist es, dass der Einfluss und die Wirkung des Luthertums in den vielfältigen Regionen und Kulturen außerhalb Europas bislang nur wenig erforscht ist.Der Band schließt diese Lücke und fragt nach der Wirkung von Luthers Theologie in den außereuropäischen Kulturen - vor allem unter dem Aspekt der Wechselseitigkeit und Fremderfahrung kulturell-religiöser Wahrnehmungen. Die Beiträge stellen nicht nur die weit reichenden Einflüsse des Luthertums in den USA dar, sondern auch die Begrenztheit seiner Wirkung in Australien oder China und die lange herrschende Ablehnung in Lateinamerika. Der historische Bogen spannt sich dabei von der zeitgenössischen Wahrnehmung in den konfessionellen Welten des 16. Jahrhunderts bis in die säkularisierte Welt der Moderne.Aus dem InhaltGregory Baum (Montreal), Lutherische Theologie des Widerstandes heuteHartmut Bobzin (Erlangen), Gedanken Martin Luthers zum IslamPeter Burschel (München/Freiburg), Das Monster. Katholische Luther-Imagination im 16. JahrhundertGregory L. Freeze (Waltham, MA), Lutheranism in RussiaJacqueline van Gent (Perth), Encounters with Lutheran Missionaries in Central AustraliaRené E. Gertz (Porto Alegre), Die Lutheraner in der Gesellschaft und Kultur BrasiliensThomas Kaufmann (Göttingen), Ernst Troeltschs Lutherdeutung in der englischsprachigen Welt und in DeutschlandHartmut Lehmann (Göttingen), Das marxistische Lutherbild von Engels bis HoneckerJan Slomp (Leusden), Christianity and Lutheranism from the Perspective of Modern Islam.
Every culture knows the phenomenon of monsters, terrifying creatures that represent complete alterity and challenge every basic notion of self and identity within a cultural paradigm. In Latin and Greek culture, the monster was created as a marvel, appearing as something which, like transgression itself, did not belong to the assumed natural order of things. Therefore, it could only be created by a divinity responsible for its creation, composition, goals and stability, but it was triggered by some in- or non-human action performed by humans. The identification of something as monstrous denotes its place outside and beyond social norms and values. The monster-evoking transgression is most often indistinguishable from reactions to the experience of otherness, merging the limits of humanity with the limits of a given culture. The topic entails a large intersection among the cultural domains of law, literature, philosophy, anthropology, and technology. Monstrosity has indeed become a necessary condition of our existence in the 21st century: it serves as a representation of change itself. In the process of analysis there are three theoretical approaches: psychoanalytical, representational, ontological. The volume therefore aims at examining the concept of monstrosity from three main perspectives: technophobic, xenophobic, superdiversity. Today’s globalized world is shaped in the unprecedented phenomenon of international migration. The resistance to this phenomenon causes the demonization of the Other, seen as the antagonist and the monster. The monster becomes therefore the ethnic Other, the alien. To reach this new perspective on monstrosity we must start by examining the many facets of monstrosity, also diachronically: from the philological origin of the term to the Roman and classical viewpoint, from the Renaissance medical perspective to the religious background, from the new filmic exploitations in the 20th and 21st centuries to the very recent ethnological and anthropological points of view, to the latest technological perspective , dealing with artificial intelligence.