CfP: ‘Of Gods and Monsters’

‘Kali’ by Raja Ravi Varma

For those who followed the Gothic Bible conference with interest, here’s another CfP that might catch your eye:

‘Of Gods and Monsters’

Texas State University, 4-6 April 2019

San Marcos, TX

Judith Halberstam famously claimed that monsters are “meaning machines” that can be used to represent a variety of ideas, including morality, gender, race, and nationalism (to name only a few). Monsters are always part of the project of making sense of the world and our place in it. As a tool through which human beings create worlds in which to meaningfully dwell, monsters are tightly bound with many other systems of meaning-making like religion, culture, literature, and politics. Of Gods and Monsters will provide focused space to explore the definition of “monster,” the categorization of monsters as a basis of comparison across cultures, and the relationship of monsters to various systems of meaning-making with the goal of understanding how humans have used and continued to use these “meaning machines.”

Screencap from Ariana Grande, ‘God is a Woman’ (2018)

The Religious Studies program at Texas State University, therefore, welcomes submissions for our upcoming conference on Monsters and Monster Theory. Through this conference, we hope to explore the complex intersections of monsters and meaning making from a variety of theoretical, academic, and intellectual angles. Because “monsters” are a category that appears across time and cultural milieus, this conference will foster conversations between scholars working in very different areas and is not limited in terms of cultural region, historical time, or religious tradition. As part of fostering this dialogue, conference organizers are thrilled to announce that Douglas E. Cowan will serve as this event’s keynote speaker, while archival researcher and cryptid expert Lyle Blackburn will offer a second plenary address. Conference organizers anticipate inviting papers presented at this conference to submit their revised papers for an edited volume.

Detail from ‘The Destruction of Leviathan’ by Gustave Doré (1866)

If interested, please submit an abstract with a maximum of 300-words to by November 1st, 2018. Final decisions on conference participation will be sent out by the first week of December. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact conference organizers Natasha Mikles ( or Joseph Laycock (

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