Session Title

Immigration and Migration

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Monsters: The Experimental Association for the Research of Cryptozoology through Scholarly Theory and Practical Application (MEARCSTAPA)

Organizer Name

Asa Simon Mittman

Organizer Affiliation

California State Univ.-Chico/Material Collective

Presider Name

Asa Simon Mittman

Paper Title 1

The Memory of Monstrous Foremothers

Presenter 1 Name

Kenneth Hodges

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ.

Paper Title 2

Fabricated Identities: Hybridity and the Purposes of Fiction in the Topographia Hibernica

Presenter 2 Name

Gregory Rabbitt

Presenter 2 Affiliation

John Carroll Univ.

Start Date

10-5-2018 1:30 PM

Session Location

Fetzer 2020

Description

What happens when the monster—the outsider, the “othered” figure from not-here—arrives, settles, or is already here? When the supposed monsters appear on the shore and move into the house next door? Medieval groups grappled with this concern on a regular basis, as demonized groups were often on the move from one region to another. Sometimes, the groups in question were seen as arriving from distant locales: Jews in England, Muslims in Italy, and both in Spain; Mongols in Eastern Europe. Recent arrivals were often demonized by locals who themselves were rarely indigenous peoples: invaders pushed native populations out beyond their borders and were in turn pushed back by waves of new invaders. Each successive wave of immigrants, once settled, found ways to dehumanize the previous inhabitants – often depicted as autochthonous giants – and the next wave, making monsters out of migrants. Immigrants were viewed with suspicion and derision from populations fraught with their own anxieties of identity. The medieval world marginalized migrants and immigrants – foreign populations and native – because of what they feared in themselves. Rulers prop up their authority and consolidate their power by building walls of rhetoric to protect their own cultural identity from perceived threats and incursions, but what are the costs to those on each side? What can we learn from medieval moments of immigration and migration? Can we identify both errors to be avoided and exemplars of inclusivity to be emulated?

Asa S. Mittman

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May 10th, 1:30 PM

Immigration and Migration

Fetzer 2020

What happens when the monster—the outsider, the “othered” figure from not-here—arrives, settles, or is already here? When the supposed monsters appear on the shore and move into the house next door? Medieval groups grappled with this concern on a regular basis, as demonized groups were often on the move from one region to another. Sometimes, the groups in question were seen as arriving from distant locales: Jews in England, Muslims in Italy, and both in Spain; Mongols in Eastern Europe. Recent arrivals were often demonized by locals who themselves were rarely indigenous peoples: invaders pushed native populations out beyond their borders and were in turn pushed back by waves of new invaders. Each successive wave of immigrants, once settled, found ways to dehumanize the previous inhabitants – often depicted as autochthonous giants – and the next wave, making monsters out of migrants. Immigrants were viewed with suspicion and derision from populations fraught with their own anxieties of identity. The medieval world marginalized migrants and immigrants – foreign populations and native – because of what they feared in themselves. Rulers prop up their authority and consolidate their power by building walls of rhetoric to protect their own cultural identity from perceived threats and incursions, but what are the costs to those on each side? What can we learn from medieval moments of immigration and migration? Can we identify both errors to be avoided and exemplars of inclusivity to be emulated?

Asa S. Mittman