Special Issue on the Monstrous

Dr. Donna McCormack (Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Surrey) speaks about the recent Special Issue of the journal Somatechnics that she edited with the steering committee of the Monster Network.

The Monster Network has been busy doing collective work and is happy to announce the publication of a special issue of the journal Somatechnics on Promises, Monsters, Methodologies: The Ethics, Politics and Poetics of the Monstrous (September 2018).

The Special Issue started as a collaborative project between the five editors, who are all steering committee members of the Monster Network. Most of us have worked together for many years, while others came along later consolidating our desire to think about the future of monster studies, and to address whether there is such a thing as monster studies.

This Special Issue goes some way to developing what a monstrous methodology might look like. The five editors – Ingvil Hellstrand, Line Henriksen, Aino-Kaisa Koistinen, Sara Orning and myself (Donna McCormack) – collectively wrote the introductory article. It was a project produced over many years and we were determined to make visible the overlaps and disjunctures in the detailed production of a collective piece of written work. The sutures of this written body were what we wanted readers to be able to see. We wanted to show that academic writing is labour, disagreement and a way to speak in multiple voices even when one voice may appear to cohere.

The Special Issue includes key monster theorists, such as Margrit Shildrick, as well as touching on subjects such as bioart, aging and women’s bodies, Frankenstein, and race and queer reproduction. It also includes beautifully disturbing photographs from E.J. Nielsen.

Because we were trying to create a monstrous text and to put into action a monstrous methodology, we decided to conclude with a roundtable where multiple converging and diverging voices could be heard. Edited by me, this roundtable brings diverse perspectives on time, embodiment, contemporary politics, as well as including scholars and artists from a wide-range of disciplines and practices.

This is the first collective publication from the Monster Network, and we are excited for its tentacles to reach you and perhaps take you to unexpected places.