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New Directions in the Study of Religion, Monsters, and the Monstrous Seminar

Call for Proposals

In the third year of our Five-Year Seminar, we are interested in the role of monsters in cosmology. This year, we are planning two 90-minute panels. In the first, we are broadly interested in discussions and analyses of the way in which monsters help to map out reality, including time and space. How does the process of monstrosizing create a meaningful reality? How does placing monsters in time construct a sense of history and evolving culture? How do monsters shape the civilized and uncivilized space?

In the second, we are interested in an abstract idea of cosmology centered around the assumption of the unreality of monsters within the academic cosmos. Is this assumption of unreality problematic? How would taking monsters seriously as “real” change our academic cosmologies? Do we disrespect research subjects and conversation partners by immediately assuming monsters do not exist? For further inspiration or reflection, we encourage interested individuals to read Steven Engler’s article, “The Semantic Reduction of Spirits and Monsters,” in The Journal of Gods and Monsters.

In both sections, we encourage comparative reflections on Jewish and Christian material with other traditions reflections on monsters outside of these traditions. Papers from minority scholars and scholars studying Asian, African, or indigenous South American and Australian traditions are especially encouraged.

Statement of Purpose


Steering Committee Members


E-mail with Attachment (proposal is in attachment, not in body of e-mail)



Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members