Shapeshifters: Transformations, Hybridity and Identity

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Welcome to the Project
This conference seeks to explore the role of the shapeshifter in popular and literary culture. We likewise invite reflections on whether the nature of our tales of shapeshifters tells us anything about who and what we are and where we might be headed. What does it mean to change shape? What problems/issues could arise from such an ability? What concerns are raised about physicality historically, culturally, politically?

Core themes for development
We encourage scholarly contributions from inter-, multi-, and transdisciplinary perspectives, from practitioners working in all contexts. We will entertain submissions drawn from literature, medicine, politics, social history, film, television, graphic novels and manga, from science to science fiction

Topics to be explored may include but are not limited to:

  • Historical medical discourses about shapeshifters
  • Issues of identity: does the shapeshifitng entity share one identity? Are multiple identities cohabitating in one body?
  • Mythologies,folkloric belief, magic, transformation and the body
  • Performance in relation to the shapeshifter: performing gender, performing identities, performing sexuality, performing cultural belonging/stereotypes
  • Posthumanism: has the issue of “shape” become irrelevant in posthuman studies? How does shifting shape tie in to posthumanism?

Related themes will also be identified for development and exploration. Out of our deliberations it is anticipated that a series of related cross context research projects will develop.