Call for Presentations

Monstrous Hungers and Desires

Special Conference Stream within The Monsters and the Monstrous Project: 13th Global Meeting

Wednesday 15th July – Friday 17th July 2015
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom


Call for Presentations:
Humans can be consumed by desires; the need to possess and control, to hunger for more or to be different, to obtain or accumulate something or plainly satisfy an urge. Hungers and desires come from the “id” of the psyche; they are natural human urges. And yet, when allowed free reign they can be  destructive both to ourselves and those around us. They can be playful or diabolical. They can pave a road to success or lead into the abyss of human existence. Many desires can also lead to addiction. Sometimes they cannot be explained; they just exist as relentless longings that demand to be gratified, up to the point of self-destruction or worse. Yet satisfaction after giving in to a craving may only be temporary before a hunger returns, stronger than ever, leaving behind withdrawal or painful memories. At the same time, suppressing a desire can be equally destructive and result in nightmares, identity crises, aggression or violence.

The hunger for riches and power causes the greatest mayhem and the greatest number of victims. The allure to give in to desires, secret wishes, “the dark side of the force,” has created more than one Dorian Gray in the past, and fiction as well as historical records are full of characters that have fought and lost these battles over their darkest longings. Consequently, there are people and institutions who will always believe that mankind is not supposed to give in to its urges, that these need to be controlled. “Gluttony,” for example, is one of the Seven Sins in Christianity, and a number of societies strictly regulate sexual relations.

Some desires create unmistakable monsters: the hunger for human flesh and blood of cannibals, vampires, werewolves and zombies for instance. But the lust to inflict pain, hunt and kill can also make beasts out of less “fantastic” beings, as we see in passionate murderers and torturers. To seek satisfaction in sex, fame or beauty has been associated with the monstrous too; for example, the wish for beauty can find an outlet in anorexia or painful body rituals. Sexual desires used to have their dark and gothic corners, but have increasingly become mainstream culture, not only since the publication of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” When desires are deemed pathological, unhealthy or disgusting by society, it regularly turns the “inflicted” into outsiders, even defines them as twisted or monstrous. The lust for fame can lure people into infernal actions and unspeakable deeds, often just to garner prominence in a YouTube video, but sometimes with the intention to wreak true havoc or to create a memorable albeit bloody legacy. Audiences, on the other hand, are relentless too when it comes to their own hunger for drama and sensationalism. Finally, one basic human driving force, love, is constantly leaving behind its own casualties in its wake.

For this special stream within the 13th Global Meeting of The Monsters and the Monstrous Project invites presentations from academics, professionals and practitioners with specific insights, experience, practices or skills concerning the understanding of these kinds of monstrosities.

Examples of the above can be seen in, but are not exclusive to, the following categories:

1) Pathologies and Addictions:
Addictive personalities, drug and alcohol abuse; sex, food and other addictions
– self-mutilation, pain addiction
– eating disorders
– monstrous acts out of withdrawal, suppressed desire, frustration, rejection, failure, impotence
– suicide pacts, “extended suicides”
– paedophilia, serial killings, kleptomania

2) Power and the People:
– abuse of power; monstrous leadership visions and models of society
– manic desire for knowledge, cruel and dehumanizing experiments in the name of science
– charismatic leaders, ideologies, capitalism, consumerism, globalisation
– greed; violent and aggressive hunts for wealth, e.g. blood diamonds, ivory trade
– traditions, institutions, religions, governments, laws, sanctions, punishments

3) Sexuality, Love/Obsession:
- pornography, deviant sexual practices, dominance, submission, popular pornographic novels such as “Fifty Shades of Grey”
– stalking, rape, revenge porn
– fetishism, objectophilia, bestiality, necrophilia
– love madness, couple suicides, unfulfilled love, crimes of passion

4) Beauty, Fame and Subcultures:
– body enhancements, augmentation and rituals
– identity crises, claiming individuality in the public eye
– show business, celebrities, beauty and talent competitions
– dangerous and bizarre publicity stunts and extreme fan behaviour
– hunger for attention and community, sects
– alternative lifestyles, religions, cults

5) Literal and Metaphorical Manifestations:
– vampires, revenants, zombies and hungry ghosts
– werewolves, shapeshifters, dragons, and transformations
– angels, demons, spirit possessions and poltergeists
– cannibals, cannibalism and cultural hierarchies
– witches, wizards, fairies, goblins and halflings
– the above in literature, film, gaming, role play and transmedia entities

The Steering Group welcomes the submission of proposals for short workshops, practitioner-based activities, performances, and pre-formed panels. We particularly welcome short film screenings; photographic essays; installations; interactive talks and alternative presentation styles that encourage engagement.

What to Send:
Proposals will also be considered on any related theme. 300 word proposals should be submitted by Friday 5th June 2015. If a proposal is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper of no more than 3000 words should be submitted by Friday 22nd May 2015. Proposals should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; proposals may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Monsters13 Proposal Submission

All abstracts will be at least double blind peer reviewed. Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all 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: .:
Rob Fisher: m13@nullinter-disciplinary.net
Petra Rehling :petrarehling@nullgmx.de

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 proposals accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook.  Selected proposals may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). All publications from the conference will require editors, to be chosen from interested delegates from the conference.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation.

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.