"Eye of the Beholder: Perspectives on the Monstrous" - K'zoo May 10-13 2012

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Monsters: The Experimental Association for the Research of Cryptozoology through Scholarly Theory and Practical Application (MEARCSTAPA)
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MEARCSTAPA Session for the International Medieval Congress at Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, Michigan
May 10-13, 2012
Session II : "Eye of the Beholder: Perspectives on the Monstrous"

Monstrosity, like beauty, lies entirely in the eye of the beholder. It is a trait assigned from the outside, which reveals as much about the namer as the named. For this session, we invite papers that explicitly tackle the issue of perspective in designation of the monstrous. Central questions which might be considered include: To what degree are medieval authors and artists reflective about the relative nature of monstrosity; to what degree do they gloss over this problem; and to what degree do they seem not to consider it as such, at all? Who is granted the power to name the monster? How were real groups impacted by external designations of monstrosity? In essence, we wish to examine the issue of cultural relativism as it impacts the construction of monsters in the Middle Ages. This session will be headlined by John Block Friedman, author of the seminal The Monstrous Races in Medieval Art and Thought, who will start off the discussion on cultural relativism with a look at the Middle French Secrets de l'Histoire Naturelle.

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent to Asa Simon Mittman (asmittman@csuchico.edu)

Deadline for submissions to this session: September 15.
Any papers not included in this session will be forwarded to the Congress Committee for possible inclusion in the General Sessions.
Note, paper proposals will appear on the Mearcstapa blog: http://medievalmonsters.blogspot.com/