Monday, 28 November 2011

Monsters Need Your Help

Call for Papers for Preternature 2.2:

Monstrophy: The Academic Study of Monsters

''Monstrophy'' is a term referring to the academic study of monsters as representational and conceptual categories, which has gained recent currency in several related fields of study (literary and cultural history, sociological theories of identity and difference, et al.), as well as in a number of recent books and articles about monsters as subjects of theoretical interpretation. Etymologically derived from Latin ''mōnstrum'' (meaning prodigy, ominous sign, monstrous creature or person, abomination) and Greek ''sophia'' (σοφία, wisdom), hybrid compounding of monstrophy is not uncommon in disciplinary names, e.g. [[sociology]], another Greek and Latin compound.) Monstrophy literally means "wisdom about monsters," and in academic usage refers to the broader study of monsters in society and history.

Monsters have been widely catalogued in their historical and ethnographic contexts, and have been commonly included in cultural products such as epic, folktale, fiction, and film, but have only begun to be studied seriously as semiological markers indicating the seams of internal cultural tension. Interpreters commonly note the "monstrous" as occupying space at the borders of a society's conceptual categories, such as those relating to sexual and behavioral transgression, or to inherent prejudice and internal conflict (for instance, in race, gender, politics, and religion). Monsters are rarely fully distinct from the "human," but are often comprised of hybrid features of the human and non-human. This issue of Preternature invites contributions that explore how the category of "monster" is used to define and articulate what a certain group of people articulates to itself to be properly human.

Contributions are welcome from any discipline, time period, or geographic provenance, so long as the discussion highlights the cultural, literary, religious, or historical significance of the topic.

Contributions should be roughly 8,000 - 12,000 words (with the possibility of longer submissions in exceptional cases), including all documentation and critical apparatus. If accepted for publication, manuscripts will be required to adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition (style 1, employing footnotes).

Preternature also welcomes original editions or translations of texts related to the topic that have not otherwise been made available in recent editions or in English. Submissions are made online at:

Final Papers are due February 15, 2012

Queries about submissions, queries concerning books to be reviewed, or requests to review individual titles may be made to the Editor: Kirsten C. Uszkalo

Friday, 11 November 2011

11-11-11 Fears Close Great Pyramid

"Egypt has closed the Great Pyramid outside Cairo after rumours that groups would try to hold special rituals on 11 November at 11:11", claimed the BBC earlier today. The Great Pyramid was indeed closed, but Egyptian authorities said it was for routine maintenance only. The Associated Press noted an increased police and armed military presence in the area. Discovery News reported that Atef Abu Zahab, the head of the Department of Pharaonic Archaeology, has said that the decision came "after much pressure" from concerned Internet users.

The Egyptian news website Ahram reported 'Meditation ceremony to save Planet Earth at Pyramids cancelled'.

Something called the "Cheops Project" was apparently intending to place a small crystal pyramid inside the sarcophagus of King Khufu (aka Cheops), whilst people ringed the pyramid outside, holding hands and chanting. Andrzej Wojcikiewicz, president of the Polish foundation Dar Swiatowida, which sponsored the event, said that this was intended to create a protective shield around the Earth. “I do believe the Great Pyramid was built to save the earth by a much more advanced civilization and not by the ancients,” Wojcikiewicz said in an interview on YouTube.

Other rumours spread on the internet concerning a group of Jews plotting to erect a Star of David on the apex of the pyramid and claim it for the Jewish slaves they claim originally built the structure.

After the clock ticked past the critical time, director of the pyramids complex, Ali al-Asfar, told members of the press, 'Everything is normal'.

At least, that is, until 12-12-12.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Vampire Conference Great Success

'Vampires: Myths of the Past and the Future' at London University's Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies took us from the eastern European vampire epidemic of the 18th century right through to the monster's modern incarnations in Twilight, True Blood, and all the rest. Co-ordinator Simon Bacon brought together a diverse group of scholars from all of the world - even Romania - to discuss vampires past and present, and their multiple meanings and representations. Highlights were undoubtedly the first test screening of Revenant Noir and Sir Christopher Frayling's Coffin Trust (I kid ye not) lecture, but amongst the many other great talks, Michael Bell on 'American Vampires' and Jim Doan on blood rites are worth singling out. In all, 65 papers over three days. For all those who coulnd't make it, there are rumours of a possible publication.