Monstrous Binaries: Monster Theories in/at Play, SEMA, Oct. 15-17 2009, Abstracts Due June 11 2009

full name / name of organization: 
Babel Working Group
contact email:;

“It is conventional to call ‘monster’ any blending of dissonant elements. I call ‘monster’ every original inexhaustible beauty.”—Alfred Jarry, “Les Monstres”

Whether or not it is beautiful, the monster is certainly inexhaustible. The BABEL Working Group invites submissions that explore the inexhaustibility of literary monsters as they both demand and defy binary characterizations. How might binary models explain, occlude, or displace other monstrous possibilities? The invitation is purposefully open and might include approaches that range from postcolonial theory to Russian Formalism, from queer theory to ecocriticism (and all points in between/beyond).

The panel will be a part of the 2009 SEMA conference, and its goal is to bring together disparate readings of monsters, letting them commingle, coexist, and (perhaps) coalesce for a few minutes. Abstracts should be for papers fifteen minutes in length. They may offer focused examinations of primary texts or more abstract, theoretical discussions, but all submissions should make explicit their theoretical genealogy.

A *partial* list of approaches might include: Kristeva, Foucault, Girard, Plumwood, Derrida, Bakhtin, Lacan, Cohen, Levi-Strauss, Deleuze and Guattari, Propp, Zizek, Canguilhem, Butler, and/or Freud.

Deadline for Submission: 11 June 2009

Send Abstracts (150-250 words) to:
Timothy Asay ( or
Marcus Hensel (

BABEL Working Group:
SEMA 2009 Conference:

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