Monsters, Monstrosities, & the Monstrous

deadline for submissions: 
December 15, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Popular Culture Association
contact email: 

Monsters, Monstrosities, & the Monstrous CFP - ACCEPTING LATE SUBMISSIONS UNTIL DEC 15

Do you do monster scholarship? If so, we encourage you to consider submitting a paper to the new Monsters, Monstrosities, & the Monstrous area of the Popular Culture Association for the PCA National Conference in Chicago, March 27-30, 2024.

Our special topic area (hopefully to become a standing area) will finally provide a home for everything monsters at PCA. We are proud to be the sister area of Vampire Studies who inspired us to create this area for the rest of the monsters. Please join us in exploring the themes, influences, and impact of the monster as a cultural and historical touchstone.

Across the globe and throughout the centuries, the label of monster has been invoked to separate the “natural” from the “unnatural” and the acceptable from the socially unacceptable. Whether referring to mythological creatures, the Victorian creations that have become standards through Universal film adaptations, or as a shorthand to denigrate othered peoples, the monster has no shortage of applications and, sometimes, reevaluations.

We specifically welcome papers or presentations that focus on the use of the monster as a teaching tool or educational lens.

As the term monster has a wide application, topics can be anything from the inhabitants of Sesame Street to medieval studies to medical oddities. Potential paper topics include:

  • Children’s books, toys, or related media
  • Film and television including remediations and transmediations
  • Literary texts
  • Board games, RPGs, video games, and pinball
  • Monsters queering societal norms and the monster as Other
  • Propaganda materials
  • Freakshows and oddities

As part of our “Emerging Monster Scholars” initiative, we are accepting a limited number of papers from undergraduates to showcase and support these future researchers in the field of monster studies. We will be asking applicants for these slots to provide information about an instructor who can attest to the strength of the proposed material and who will help prepare them for a national conference presentation.

Scope of the paper topics accepted under this area: From Grendel to Grover and Hannibal Lecter to high rises, topics in this area span the monstrous in form, behavior, and theory. 

List of example paper titles: “Using Cohen’s Seven Monster Theses When Teaching Frankenstein,” “Monsters Helping Children Understand Death in A Monster Calls,” “Monstrifying the Other for Entertainment: From Freak Shows to B-Movies,” “The Monster and his Monstrosity: H. H. Holmes’ Murder Hotel,” and “Deromanticizing the Monster in What We Do in the Shadows.”

Submission requirements: Please submit an abstract (maximum of 300 words).

Submissions due: 15 DEC 2023

Submit here:

Contact: Colleen Karn: or David Hansen: