Monday, March 26, 2012

MEARCSTAPA Annual Meeting

Come one, come all!  Step right up and see the most remarkable monster (scholars) you have ever seen!  Only one thin time, one tenth of a dollar!  Step right up!

This year, our annual MEARCSTAPA meeting will be held at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo.  Please let anyone you see there who would be interested know about it.  Everyone is welcome.  We will be discussing ideas for next year's sessions at KZoo and Leeds, as well as any suggestions for other venues and projects.

MEARCSTAPA Annual Meeting
Friday, May 11, 7:30-8:30
Bernhard Lounge (Main Floor)
Western Michigan University

Note:  we have no dues and anyone is welcome to join.

Bring or wear your sexy MEARCSTAPA swag:

I hope to see many of you there!
PS.  Be sure to attend our two sessions, as well:

Session 45 Bernhard 204
You’re So Juvenile: Monstrous Children in Medieval Culture
Organizer: Asa Simon Mittman, California State Univ.–Chico; Melissa Ridley Elmes, Carlbrook School
Presider: Ana Grinberg, Univ. of California–San Diego

Is It a Boy, a Girl, or an Other? Monstrous Births of Non-monstrous Origins
Lisa Leblanc, Anna Maria College

Born For Monstrous Sanctity: Margaret and Her (Uncontainable) Dragon
Beth Sutherland, Univ. of Virginia

Twins and Hermaphrodites in Albertus and Pseudo-Albertus
Sarah Alison Miller, Duquesne Univ.

Session 138 Schneider 1360
Eyes of the Beholders: A Roundtable Discussion on the Monstrous
Organizer: Asa Simon Mittman, California State Univ.–Chico; Renee M. Ward, Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Presider: Larissa Tracy, Longwood Univ.

Us and Them: Cultural Relativism in the Middle French Secrets de l’histoire naturelle
John Block Friedman, Univ. of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign

Monsters in Dante’s Hell: Cultural Implications and Unorthodox Religion
Eric Morningstar, Univ. of Michigan–Flint

Monsters, A Definition
Marcus Hensel, Univ. of Oregon

Dogs, Devils, and the Rhetoric of Total Audibility
Jeannie Miller, New York Univ.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous

Dear all,

I am delighted to announce the publication of the Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous, co-edited by Peter Dendle and myself.  This exciting volume has contributions by excellent scholars in the growing field of monsters studies, including a Forward by John Block Friedman and a Postscript by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen.  There are also essays by a number of other medievalists and early-modernists, including:  Surekha Davies, Francesca Leoni; Karl Steel; Sarah Alison Miller; Dana Oswald; Debra Higgs Strickland; Chet van Duzer; Peter Dendle; and myself.  Full table of contents (and ordering information -- you get a discount if you order through Ashgate's site!) are here:

A flyer is available here:

Advanced reviews are very strong:
'This volume awakens the monster as an academic topic. Combining John Block Friedman's historical-literary approach with Jeffrey J. Cohen's theoretical concerns, Asa Simon Mittman and Peter Dendle have marshaled chapters that comprise a seminal work for everyone interested in the monstrous. Wide-ranging chapters work through various historical and geographic views of monstrosity, from the African Mami Wata to Pokemon. Theoretical chapters consider contemporary views of what a monster is and why we care about them as we do. Taken together, the essays in The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous reveal that monsters appear in every culture and haunt each of us in different ways, or as Mittman says, the monstrous calls into question our (their, anyone's) epistemological worldview, highlights its fragmentary and inadequate nature, and thereby asks us … to acknowledge the failures of our systems of categorization.' 
David Sprunger, Concordia College, Minnesota, USA 

'An impressively broad and thoughtful collection of the ways in which many cultures, ancient and modern, have used monsters to think about what it means to be human. Lavishly illustrated and ambitious in scope, this book enlarges the reader's imagination.' 
Professor Lorraine Daston, Director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Germany 

Like all such projects, the book had a long gestation, but the authors were wonderful to work with, and I am thrilled with the final volume.  Order a copy for your library, today!  Order one for yourself, two for your parents, three for your kids, and a dozen for the monsters under your beds, in your closets, and creeping down your walls.