Monstrous Cultures: Embracing and Resisting Change in the 21st Century (Edited Collection)

Type: 
Edited Collection
Submission Deadline: 
Tue, 03/01/2011
Contact: 
Marina Levina
Contact: 
Diem-My T. Bui

Book Description: In her famous book, Our Vampires, Ourselves (1997), Nina Auerbach writes that each age embraces the vampire it needs. This statement speaks to the essential role that monster narratives play in culture. They offer a space where society can safely represent and address anxieties of its time. In the past decade, our changing world faced fears of terrorism, global epidemics, economic and social strife, new communication technologies, immigration, and climate change to name a few. These fears reflect an evermore-interconnected global environment where rapid mobility of people, technologies, and disease have produced great social, political, and economical uncertainty. It is safe to say that, over the past decade, we have been terrorized by change. The speeding up of cultures, technologies, and environments –what Paul Virilio refers to as a defining organization concept for contemporary world – has also led to a surge in narratives about vampires, zombies, werewolves, ghosts, cyborgs, aliens, and other monstrous bodies. Popular films and television shows, such as Popular films and television shows, such as True Blood, Twilight, 28 Days/Weeks Later, Paranormal Activity, District 9, Battlestar Galactica, Avatar, The Walking Dead, and other multiple monstrous iterations have allowed us to deal with the profound acceleration in changing symbolic, economic, and technological systems. This collection purports to explore monstrous culture at the advent of the 21st century. As a whole, it argues that monstrous narratives of the past decade have become omnipresent specifically because they represent social collective anxieties over resisting and embracing change in the 21st century. They can be read as a response to a rapidly changing cultural, social, political, economic, and moral landscape. And while monsters always tapped into anxieties over a changing world, they have never been as popular, or as needed, as in the past decade. This collection explores monstrosity as a social and cultural category for organizing, classifying, and managing change. Moreover, it puts monster narratives within the cultural perspective of change in the 21st century.

Contribution Details: We are seeking chapters that engage with monstrosity in the 21st century from critical cultural studies and media studies
perspectives. We are especially interested in works that engage with monstrosity as a social and cultural category for organizing, classifying and managing change in the past decade. Chapters can be either case studies of particular monstrous media narratives or theoretical explorations of
monstrosity in the 21st century. Possible topics can include, but not be limited to:

  • Narratives of terrorism as monstrosity in popular culture
  • Alien films and immigration
  • Cyborgs, cylons, and the changing notions of humanity
  • Ghosts, ghouls and the specters of 9/11
  • Zombies and viral pandemics
  • Zombies and the economic crisis
  • Monsters and globalization
  • Robotics, machines and mechanical monstrosity
  • Network as a monster
  • New technologies, social media, and other monstrous information technologies
  • Genetics, biotechnology and the production of monstrous bodies
  • Cloning and Cloned Bodies
  • Vampires and addiction narratives
  • Vampires and the New Sexuality
  • Racial, ethnic, and religious identity in monstrous narratives.

We have strong interest in the collection from several publishers and we
expect to place the collection shortly after abstracts are submitted.

Submission Deadlines:

  • March 1st – 500 word abstract + brief bio and short publication CV (Word or
    PDF format)
  • April 1st – Acceptance notification
  • August 1st – Draft of Chapters is due, about 6,000 words
  • Sept 30th – Feedback from Editors
  • Dec 1st – Final Chapters are due

Please direct all questions and submissions to monsterculture2011@gmail.com

Editors Bios:

Marina Levina is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication at the University of Memphis. Her research focuses on critical studies of science, technology and medicine, network and new media theory, visual culture, and media studies. She is an avid fan of monster and horror narratives and has written articles and book chapters on critical meaning of monsters, and especially their connection to scientific and medical cultural anxieties. She has also repeatedly taught a course on monster films. Recent publications include an edited collection Post-Global Network and Everyday Life (with Grant Kien Peter Lang, 2010); a chapter in the volume A Foucault for the 21st Century: Governmentality, Biopolitics and Discipline in the New Millennium (edited by Sam Binkley and Jorge Capetillo, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009), and articles in Journal of Science Communication and in Spontaneous Generations: History and Philosophy of Science and Technology. You can find her at *www.marinalevina.com.

Diem-My T. Bui currently is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her, research
interests include transnational feminist media studies, critical cultural studies, ethnic studies, popular culture, and film. Her work examines cultural production, cultural memory, and embodiments of difference in representations of Vietnamese women in the U.S. cultural imaginary. Her publications are included in the journal Cultural Studies--Critical Methodologies and in an edited book, Globalizing Cultural Studies (2007). She has taught courses on communication, Asian American studies, film studies, and popular culture.

[Note: This CFP announcement is posted as a service to the academic community. For inquiries related to this CFP, please contact the the person or persons identified above.]

Games and monstrosity

This CFP doesn't mention videogames by name, but there are enough popular cultural texts here that I'd bet the editors would be OK with that kind of thin (under "not limited to" category, perhaps).

Certainly, videogames are a rich medium for exploring various forms and implications of monstrosity.

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