1st Global Conference: Monstrous Geographies: Places and Spaces of Monstrosity

1st Global Conference: Monstrous Geographies: Places and Spaces of Monstrosity
Thursday, July 19, 2012 - 7:30am to Saturday, July 21, 2012 - 1:00pm


1st Global Conference:
Monstrous Geographies: Places and Spaces of Monstrosity

Thursday 19th July – Saturday 21st  July 2012
Mansfield College, Oxford


What is the relationship between the monstrous and the geographic – those places monsters inhabit but also places that are configured as being monstrous in and of themselves? Places that engage notions of self and otherness, inclusion and exclusion, normal and aberrant, defense and contagion? From the Necropolis to the Killing Fields and from the Amityville Horror to the island of Dr. Moreau, geographical locations have acted as the repository or emanation of human evil, made monstrous by the rituals and behaviors enacted within them, or by their peculiarities of atmosphere or configuration. Whether actual or imagined, these places of wonder, fear and horror speak of the symbiotic relation between humanity and location that sees morality, ideology and emotions given physical form in the house, the forest, the island, the nation and even far away worlds in both space and time. These places act as magnets for destructive and evil forces, such as the island of Manhattan; they are the source of malevolent energies and forces, such as Transylvania, Area 51 and Ringu; and they are the fulcrum for chaotic, warping energies, such as the Bermuda Triangle, Atlantis and Pandemonium. Alongside this, there exist the monstrous geographies created by scientific experimentation, human waste and environmental accidents, creating sites of potential and actual disaster such as the Chernobyl nuclear plant, the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the BP oil disaster, and the devastated coastline of Tohuku, Japan. These places raise diverse post-human quandaries regarding necessities in the present leading to real or imagined futures of humanity and habitation.

Encompassing the factual and the fictional, the literal and the literary, this project investigates the very particular relationships and interactions between humanity and place, the natural and the unnatural, the familiar and the unfamiliar, and sees a multitude of configurations of human monstrosity and evil projected, inflicted, or immanent to place. Such monstrous geographies can be seen to emerge from the disparity between past and present, memory and modernity, urban and rural and can be expressed through categories of class, gender and racial difference as well as generational, political and religious tensions.

Papers, reports, work-in-progress, workshops and pre-formed panels are invited on issues related to any of the following themes:

Monstrous Cartographies:
~Terra incognita
~Real and Mythic lost lands: eg., Atlantis, D’yss, and Shangri-La
~Utopias/Dystopias, future cities in time and space
~Malevolent regions: eg., Lemuria, Bermuda Triangle, Transylvania
~Sublime landscapes
~Bodies as maps and maps as bodies, eg. Prison Break

Monstrous Islands:
~As sites of experimentation. Dr. Moreau, Jurassic Park etcAs a beacon for evil: eg., Manhattan in Godzilla and Cloverfield
~As site of ritual evil and incest: eg., Wicker Man, Pitkin Islands, Isle of the Dead
~Imperialist intent and construction: eg., Prospero’s Island, Hong Kong, Hashima

Monstrous Cosmographies:
~Evil planets and dimensions
~Comets, meteorites and beings from unknown worlds
~Worlds as dark reflections/twins of Earth
~Planets and alien landscapes that consume and mutate earthly travelers

Monstrous Environmental Geographies:
~Polluted lakes and landscapes
~Landfills, oil spills and mining sites
~Melting icecaps and landforms at risk from global warming
~Land impacted by GM crops and associated experimentation
~Sites of starvation, disaster and pestilence
~De-militarized zones and no-man’s lands

Monstrous Religious Sites & Ritualistic Monstrosity:
~Armageddon, Apocalypse and final battlegrounds
~Hell, the Underworld and Valhalla
~Eden, Paradise, El Dorado, Shangri La
~Sites of religious ritual, sacrifice and burial
~Houses and haunts of murderers and serial killers

Monstrous Political Environments
~The land of the enemy and the other
~Sites of attack and retaliation.
~Sites of revolution and protest
~Landscapes of incarceration
~Border crossings
~Magical realist landscapes of escape
~Ghettos, shanty towns and relocation sites
~Urban and rural, cities, towns and villages and regional and national prejudice

Monstrous Landscapes of Conflict:
~Battlefields and military graveyards
~Concentration camps and sites of genocide
~Minefields and sites of damage, destruction and ruin
~Arsenals, bunkers and military experimentation

Uncanny Geographical Temporalities:
~Old buildings in new surroundings
~Buildings with too much, and those without, memory
~Soulless Architecture
~Ideological architecture, palaces, museums etc
~Places held in time, UNESCO sites and historical and listed buildings
~Old towns and New towns, rich and poor
~Appearing and disappearing towns/regions, eg., Brigadoon, Silent Hill.

Monsters on the Move:
~Contagion, scouring and infectious landscapes
~Monsters and mobile technologies: phone, video, cars, planes, computers etc
~Fluid identities, fluid places
~Touring Monstrosities, dreamscapes and infernal topologies

This project will run concurrently with our project on Apocalypse– we welcome any papers considering the problems or addressing issues on Monstrous Geographies and Apocalypse for a cross-over panel. We also welcome pre-formed panels on any aspect of tmonstrous geographies or in relation to crossover panel(s).

300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 27th February 2012. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 25th May 2012.

300 word abstracts should be submitted to the Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats, following this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract, f0 up to 10 keywords
E-mails should be entitled: Monstrous Geographies Abstract Submission

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). Please note that a Book of Abstracts is planned for the end of the year. All accepted abstracts will be included in this publication. We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs

    * Jessica Rapson
      Goldsmiths University,
      United Kingdom
      E-mail: enp02jr@gold.ac.uk
    * Rob Fisher
      Network Founder & Leader, Inter-Disciplinary.Net
      Freeland, Oxfordshire
      United Kingdom
      E-mail: mg1@inter-disciplinary.net

The aim of the conference is to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting. All papers accepted for and presented at this conference are eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be invited to go forward for development into a themed ISBN hard copy volume. Some papers may also be invited for inclusion in the Journal of Monsters and the Monstrous.

For further details of the project, please visit:

For further details of the conference, please visit:

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.


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