Monsters II: Immaterial Monsters

deadline for submissions: 
September 15, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
MEARCSTAPA / Societas Daemonetica

The recent scholarly turn towards greater consideration of the material culture of the Middle Ages paradoxically also draws attention back to the places where materiality is strikingly absent. Monsters are often seen by medieval and modern commentators as inextricably linked with their embodiment, and yet are frequently insubstantial. Whether referring to invisible and intangible ghostly visitors from purgatory and other members of the ethereal undead, the borrowed tangibility of the demonically possessed, nigh-visiting succubi and incubi, or the displacement of the monstrous to the geographical margins in maps and stories, the disturbing presence of monstrosity’s physical absence leaves its traces throughout the Middle Ages and demands our present attention. This session seeks answers to the question this raises: how can something so absent and immaterial nevertheless possess agency, influencing individuals and cultures? To this end, the co-sponsors MEARCSTAPA and Societas Daemonetica invite proposals for fifteen- to twenty-minute papers from any discipline that analyze and interpret immaterial monsters and monstrosity in medieval texts and contexts. Papers may examine any aspect of the topic (broadly conceived), including but not limited to the immaterial, absent, or displaced monster in literature, art, history, theology or any combination thereof.

Interested parties should submit a 250-word abstract and completed Participant Information Form to no later than September 15.

For further inquiries, please contact Richard Ford Burley at Participant Information Forms may be downloaded at