Session Title

Taking Shape: Sculpting Monsters

Sponsoring Organization(s)

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

Organizer Name

Asa Simon Mittman; Mary E. Leech

Organizer Affiliation

California State Univ.-Chico; Univ. of Cincinnati

Presider Name

Thea Tomaini

Presider Affiliation

Univ. of Southern California

Paper Title 1

Twisting Taxonomy: Dragons in Medieval Persian Epics and Encyclopedias

Presenter 1 Name

Samuel W. Lasman

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Univ. of Chicago

Paper Title 2

Race Theory and the "Blue Man"

Presenter 2 Name

Arngrímur Vídalín

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Háskóli Íslands

Paper Title 3

"In Caines Cynne": Constructing Grendel as Racialized Other

Presenter 3 Name

Mary E. Leech

Start Date

8-5-2020 1:30 PM

Session Location

Fetzer 2030

Description

For centuries, the actions of monsters were more important that what the monsters looked like. Some monsters were given more specific descriptions than others, yet monstrosity was often based on Otherness, such as deformity, threatening animals, gender, or foreigners. As time goes on, many monsters take on more precise shapes based on the exaggerated physical conceptions of difference. By exploring how monsters take on specific shapes, this panel will analyze the ways in which specific fears (and desires) can create specific physical features.

The panel will be most effective with a range of methodologies and fields. While literary descriptions are often the base of how monsters are perceived, folkloric traditions that predate writing influence literary traditions. Works of history contain aspects of monstrosity, either literally or in how certain groups are described. Artistic renderings of monsters can also highlight the variety of interpretations of monstrosity. How and why monsters are formed, both as a concept and as a physical threat, has relevance across fields and eras. The panel should appeal to many areas of scholarship, particularly those that explore how gender, sexuality, and physical disabilities are presented as fearsome and monstrous. Asa S. Mittman

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May 8th, 1:30 PM

Taking Shape: Sculpting Monsters

Fetzer 2030

For centuries, the actions of monsters were more important that what the monsters looked like. Some monsters were given more specific descriptions than others, yet monstrosity was often based on Otherness, such as deformity, threatening animals, gender, or foreigners. As time goes on, many monsters take on more precise shapes based on the exaggerated physical conceptions of difference. By exploring how monsters take on specific shapes, this panel will analyze the ways in which specific fears (and desires) can create specific physical features.

The panel will be most effective with a range of methodologies and fields. While literary descriptions are often the base of how monsters are perceived, folkloric traditions that predate writing influence literary traditions. Works of history contain aspects of monstrosity, either literally or in how certain groups are described. Artistic renderings of monsters can also highlight the variety of interpretations of monstrosity. How and why monsters are formed, both as a concept and as a physical threat, has relevance across fields and eras. The panel should appeal to many areas of scholarship, particularly those that explore how gender, sexuality, and physical disabilities are presented as fearsome and monstrous. Asa S. Mittman