Monsters and the Monstrous


Monsters and the Monstrous was originally launched in May 2003 in Budapest under the title: Vampires: Myths and Metaphors of Enduring Evil.

In light of the success of the inaugural meeting and in light of the development suggestions made by the assembled delegates from all over the world, the Steering Group decided to broaden to remit of the project to a consideration of Monsters specifically and of themes of the monstrous in general.

This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary project seeks to investigate and explore the enduring influence and imagery of monsters and the monstrous on human culture throughout history. In particular, the project will have a dual focus with the intention of examining specific ‘monsters’ as well as assessing the role, function and consequences of persons, actions or events identified as ‘monstrous’. The history and contemporary cultural influences of monsters and monstrous metaphors will also be examined.

Indicative themes for research and development will include ;

  • The “monster” through history
  • Civilization, monsters and the monstrous
  • Children, childhood, stories and monsters
  • Comedy: funny monsters and/or making fun of monsters (e.g. Monsters Inc, the Addams Family)
  • Making monsters; monstrous births
  • Mutants and mutations
  • Technologies of the monstrous
  • Horror, fear and scare
  • Do monsters kill because they are monstrous or are they monstrous because they kill?
  • How critical to the definition of “monster” is death or the threat of death?
  • human ‘monsters’ and ‘monstrous’ acts? e.g, perverts, paedophiles and serial killers
  • Revolution and monsters
  • Enemies (political/social/military) and monsters
  • Iconography of the monstrous
  • The popularity of the modern monsters; the Mummy, Dracula, Frankenstein, Vampires
  • The monster in literature
  • The monster in media (television, cinema, radio)
  • Religious depictions of the monstrous
  • Metaphors and the monstrous

The project will centre around an annual conference held each May in Eastern and Central Europe. The work of the project is to be supported by an email discussion group, ISSN ejournal, ISBN publication series and and evolving research and resource centre.

Please contact the Project Leaders for further information.