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 endnotes).
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: <www.preternature.org>.
Final Papers are due April 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiries about book reviews should be sent to the Book Review Editor: Richard Raiswell: email@example.com.
For more on the journal, please consult <www.preternature.org>.