Cultural Studies . Gender Studies . Politics

Promises of Monsters

By Donna McCormack, School of Literature and Languages, University of Surrey

The Monster Network has been busy doing collective work and is happy to announce the publication of a special issue of the journal Somatechnics on “Promises, Monsters, Methodologies: The Ethics, Politics and Poetics of the Monstrous” (September 2018).

Why the Monster and Why Now?

The Special Issue started as a collaborative project between the five editors, who are all steering committee members of the Monster Network. Most of us have worked together for many years, while others came along later consolidating our desire to think about the future of monster studies, and to address whether there is such a thing as monster studies.

Towards a Monster Methodology?

‘Promises of Monsters’ goes some way to developing what a monstrous methodology might look like.

The five editors – Ingvil HellstrandLine HenriksenAino-Kaisa KoistinenSara Orning and myself (Donna McCormack) – collectively wrote the introductory article. It was a project produced over many years and we were determined to make visible the overlaps and disjunctures in the detailed production of a collective piece of written work. The sutures of this written body were what we wanted readers to be able to see. We wanted to show that academic writing is labour, disagreement and a way to speak in multiple voices even when one voice may appear to cohere.

The Jersey Devil: The Jersey Devil is the thirteenth child of a woman from the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. Prior to its birth, the mother swore that if she had yet another child, the Devil could take it. The child then flew into the Pine Barrens, becoming an emancipated minor. © EJ Nilsen (2018)

The Woman-Eating Drain: When I took baths as a child, I used to worry about man-eating drains. Now, of course, I know this to be silly. It’s the woman-eating ones I have to watch out for. © EJ Nilsen (2018)

The Monstrous Body

The Special Issue includes key monster theorists, such as Margrit Shildrick, as well as touching on subjects such as bioart, aging and women’s bodies, Frankenstein, and race and queer reproduction. It also includes beautifully disturbing photographs from E.J. Nielsen (The Jersey Devil and Woman-Eating Drain).

Because we were trying to create a monstrous text and to put into action a monstrous methodology, we decided to conclude with a roundtable where multiple converging and diverging voices could be heard. Edited by me, this roundtable brings diverse perspectives on time, embodiment, contemporary politics, as well as including scholars and artists from a wide-range of disciplines and practices.

This is the first collective publication from the Monster Network, and we are excited for its tentacles to reach you and perhaps take you to unexpected places.


Somatechnics 8.2, September, 2018 –  view the full table of contents

Also on the EUP Blog – ‘Evolutionary Theory and Its Monstrous Wonders

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