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MonsterssHosted by the Department of Anthropology, School of Social and Political Science, University of Sydney.

Convenor – Dr Yasmine Musharbash.

Keynote Speaker – Professor Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Professor of English, Director of Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute, George Washington University, D.C. and author of Monster Culture (Seven Theses)

Discussant – Professor Debbie Felton, Department of Classics UMass Amherst & Editor of Preternature.

Date – 7 and 8 December 2017


Edit: Huge thanks to everyone who came and participated in the Symposium. More information on the publication of the papers will be coming out as it becomes available.


The Department of Anthropology presents the 2017 Anthropology Symposium. The theme is Living with Monsters.

Monsters are not just part of the popular imaginary, stalking movie screens and the pages of books. They manifest in socio-culturally specific ways across the world, and haunt humans no matter where they live. These local monsters—Mamu, Mulukwausi, Lau, Kalopaling, Tikoloshe, Fylgjur, Pompéro to name a few—have distinctive appearances, particular traits, their own agendas. They appear under certain conditions, in specific locations or at particular times. In short, they exist alongside humans and at times they cross into the spaces of home and community. Anthropology is key to exploring the indeterminacy of monster realities in cross-cultural lived experience, and thus towards understanding what it means to have monsters in your life.

Monster-human encounters are telling; how one would placate ghosts in Fiji, avoid being taken by Anito in Taiwan, or how to co-exist with Pangkarlanga in central Australia, is locally contingent. We invite ethnographically rich explorations of living with monsters that illuminate how monster-human entanglements contour social relations, notions of personhood, politics, inequality, or theories of justice, ethics and morals.

The symposium draws on two anthropological traditions—an interest in the monstrous and the ethnographic method—in the hope of fostering interdisciplinary dialogue: adding an anthropological voice to discussions currently taking place in the inter-disciplinary field of monster studies, and exploring how this burgeoning field of study may enrich darkside, the-3anthropological understandings of the monsters that haunt our fieldsites.

Following Reception on Day 1 – We will host a screening of Warwick Thornton’s The Darkside.

Registrations are now open. Click here to register.

For all enquiries email anthropology.monsters@sydney.edu.au

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