Monsters are back, or perhaps they never went away. They haunt popular culture and social media. They lurk as images of dread and terror in politics, and figures of thought within academia. As shadows of the past they reappear as the potential biotechnological realities of today. They roam the in-between, making borders and boundaries tremble and shatter; whether these be borders of nation states or bodies, or categories of race, gender, sexuality, ability, class, self and other. In this sense, the monster embodies a promise of disturbances and change, as Donna Haraway argued in her 1992 text “The Promises of Monsters”.
Haraway’s text heralds the 1990s rapid increase in academic engagement with figures of ghosts and monsters, the spectral and the monstrous, encompassing publications such as Derrida’s Spectres of Marx (1994) and Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s anthology Monster Theory (1996). Now, on the other side of the millennium-threshold, the popularity of monsters has flared up again, inspiring publications such as for example Ashgate’s Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous (Mittman and Dendle 2012). 20 years after Haraway’s essay, “The Promise of Monsters” (2012) is evoked yet again, this time by Cohen, to point to the strange temporalities and disturbing messages of the figure of the monster as it haunts the margins of reality and human subjecthood. Messages that may well be promises, but of what?
The interdisciplinary publication Promises of Monsters invites contributions that think critically with and through the figure of the monster. What does the monster promise? What contradictions, uncertainties, anxieties, desires and disturbances haunt the shifting landscapes of monsters? How might the monster help unsettle and rethink traditional ontology, epistemology and ethics? In other words: how might the monster help one think and imagine the world differently? Indeed, what does the monster index in a rapidly developing technological globe where inequalities are ever-more apparent and expanding? How do monsters come to represent the very racialised, sexualised, able-ist, gendered and homophobic injustices of historical and contemporary modes of belonging and migrating? And how do monsters haunt disciplines differently and why?
Promises of Monsters invites article-length submissions (between 6000 and 8000 words) that engage on an interdisciplinary level with the subject of monsters and the monstrous. As well as traditional academic articles, we will also consider creative and artistic submissions across all genres and forms.
Promises of Monsters is a special issue of Somatechnics, which means that we are looking for articles that engage with the interconnections between technology, bodies and the monstrous. Such a focus may, however, be approached in many ways. The following are possible themes for contributions, but we welcome you to think beyond these suggestions:
- Somatechnics of the monster/monstrous somatehnics
- The monster and the animal
- The monster in and/or of art, popular culture
- The monster and critical race theory
- Monstrous digital technologies and social media
- Disability and the monster
- The monster, the environment and climate change
- Monstrous ethics
- The relationship between the monstrous and gender and feminist theory
- Monstrous (Im-)materiality and embodiment
- Medical and technological monsters
- Postcolonial monsters
- Queer monsters
- Science fiction, horror, and fantasy
We are inviting extended abstracts of 1000 words and we will then invite contributors to submit a longer piece. Please also include a short biography (100 words).
For submissions and/or questions, contact us on promisesofmonsters [at] gmail [dot] com
Deadline for submission of abstract: 17th of October 2016
Deadline for submission of article: 1st of June 2017