“Where are the Monsters?” Questions For the Future From the Past

What is the future of Monster Studies? Where is the monster headed? And should we follow?

The monster is a creature of disruption and uncertainty, which means that such questions may perhaps best be approached through even more questions. Here follows some of the questions and suggestions raised by the participants at the closing panel of the Promises of Monsters international conference. Through the performance of The Blob as well as an open discussion, the closing panel opened up to the possible and not least impossible futures of monsters and Monster Studies.

For more on the subject of the futures of monsters, see Donna McCormack‘s The Future of Monster Studies and Asa Simon Mittman‘s The Impact of Monsters and Monster Studies.


Monster questions, comments and insights from the closing/opening panel at the Promises of Monsters Conference, April 2016


monster question 4


How will monster studies affect political change in the world, if at all?


                                                                                                   Where are the monsters?


            Monster as … a futural ethics of loss, intimacy and possibility


A continuation of alternative discourses other than academic. The academic is good, but the art is a welcome addition/complement. Other complements welcome.


To all the gathered monsters & blob: how do we communicate the significance of monstrous studies to ‘outsiders’ without resorting to self- deprecation or ‘respectability’ politics?


How can we help monster studies on growing & becoming even more interdisciplinary? Which kinds of approaches to monsters are underrepresented or missing?


Naming something domesticates it. Rather than considering ourselves ‘monster scholars’ in the field of ‘monster studies’, wouldn’t it be better to remain a loose network of distinct disciplines monstrously and informally stitched together?


monster question 2

Monster studies cannot and should not be described or planned, it should just grow and decrease on its own


How do we learn to talk about/write about monsters using traditional academic prose and style, or do we need new language and approaches?


Can monster studies establish itself as a field as we’d wish, if the monster goes away ( as Line said) for periods before returning?


What’s the distinction between the inhuman and the inhumane?


What defines the monstrous? What inclusions and exclusions to the field of monster studies? How does monster studies situate itself within or without other academic disciplines?How to study the monstrous without loosing its monstrosity?


How necessary is theory to understanding monsters?

monster question 3

What can monster studies offer disability studies?


We chose to engage with the monstrous. Have we, in doing so, surrendered the option to turn away from it? Are we pursuing the monster, or is it drawing us along with it?


Proposal: can a monster network form a platform for regular workshops?

Question: what would monster ethics mean?

As critics of culture, how useful is it to let go of the concepts we use for analysis? Does the figure of the monster demand emphatic transformation of methods?


How can we best facilitate meetings for monsters (rather than all-too-human explanations of monsters)?


What comes after the post-human?

monster question 6

Hope the promises of monsters continue whirling inside and outside of everyone, for uncertainty of becoming is also hope


How can we make more areas monstrous? How do we open up dialogues with disciplines outside the traditionally ‘monstrous’?



  1. Scholars working on contemporary media culture topics (e.g. TV + movies) could interview writers and directors, asking them questions that invite them to think through monster studies.
  2. Actively bring together people from multiple disciplines + period specializations who work on historical ontology (+invite them to think about monsters)


In terms of form, perhaps it may be interesting to establish some sort of summer school with different courses that would cover different aspects of monster studies


How do we continue to investigate the transgressive and revolutionary potential of the idea of the monster without falling into the trap of assuming that monstrousness is never bad, harmful, dangerous, violent, hateful?


Future of Monster Studies: please don’t tame the monster. Let it be free, don’t discipline it.




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