Leeds 2019 - Monsters and Mental Health

deadline for submissions: 
August 31, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
MEARCSTAPA (monsters: the experimental association for the research of cryptozoology through scholarly theory and practical application)
contact email: 

Call for Papers - Leeds International Medieval Congress 20191-4 July, Leeds, UKSponsor: MEARCSTAPA; Organisers: Kayla Kemhadjian and Renée Ward; Chair: Wendy Turner 

Monsters and Mental Health


In modern times, mental health issues, like monsters, are used in fictive discourses to create a binary of the ‘normal’. In some instances, mental health is exploited as a marker of the monstrous, if not the monster itself. Similar instances abound in the Middle Ages, when the border between mental health and the supernatural ran thin. This panel seeks to examine the interconnectedness of mental health and the monstrous. In doing so, this panel may uncover and examine medieval stigmas around mental health which still permeate western society. 


We invite papers from all disciplines and national traditions which examine all aspects and avenues this connection evokes. Topics may include: 

  • The impact of mental health on the creation or understanding of the monstrous 
  • Conditions that were perceived as monstrous
  • Conditions with monstrous origins or cures
  • The monster as a manifestation of mental illness
  • Monsters who create or illicit mental illnesses
  • Monsters as a stigma of mental health


Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a brief bio to session organizers Kayla Kemhadjian (kaylakemhadjian@gmail.com) or Renée Ward (rward@lincoln.ac.uk) by the 31 August 2018. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts will be vetted by the MEARCSTAPA board and the full session will be submitted to the Congress mid-September 2018. Additionally, MEARCSTAPA will provide an award of $500 to the best graduate student/independent/unwaged submission to this or any of its sessions to help offset the costs of travel and lodging for the IMC.


Diversity Statement

As an organization dedicated to the study of marginalized communities and entities in the Middle Ages and beyond, MEARCSTAPA affirms its position on diversity, inclusion, and inquiry within all academic discourses. We support and embrace those who have been marginalized, excluded, and othered in medieval studies. We disavow hatred and intolerance. We walk the borders, but do not police them; we welcome your company.