Monsters, Monstrosities, and the Monstrous in Culture and Society

Diego Compagna, Stefanie Steinhart (Eds.)

by Barbara Henry (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Italy), Alena Umbach (Höstleistungsrechenzentrum (HLRS), Germany), Katja Schöffmann (Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt, Austria), Wanda B. Knight (The Pennsylvania State University, USA), Vassilis Galanos (University of Edinburgh, UK), Andrea Torrano (CIECS-CONICET-UNC, Argentina), Denisa Butnaru (University of Konstanz, Germany), Hande Güzel (University of Cambridge; UK), Melike Şahinol (Orient-Institut Istanbul, Turkey), Andreas Kaminski (Höstleistungsrechenzentrum (HLRS), Germany), Rebecca Steele (University of Wyoming, USA), Andrew Aberdein (Florida Institute of Technology, USA), Adrián Pradier (UNIR - Universidad Internacional de La Rioja, Spain), Leonardo Impett (Max Planck Institute for Art History, Italy), Alan F. Blackwell (University of Cambridge, United Kingdom), Alex Gibson (University of Bristol, United Kingdom), Anders Thrue Djurslev (University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Stefanie Steinhart (University of Klagenfurt, Austria), Peter Heintel (Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt, Austria), Mark Coeckelbergh (University of Vienna, Austria), Markus Fath (QualityMinds GmbH, Germany), Katherine Kurtz (Candidate Villanova University, USA)

Purchase this book

$ 105
Availability: Available through resellers
currency displayed based on your location
(click here to change currency)

Existing research on monsters acknowledges the deep impact monsters have especially on Politics, Gender, Life Sciences, Aesthetics and Philosophy. From Sigmund Freud’s essay ‘The Uncanny’ to Scott Poole’s ‘Monsters in America’, previous studies offer detailed insights about uncanny and immoral monsters. However, our anthology wants to overcome these restrictions by bringing together multidisciplinary authors with very different approaches to monsters and setting up variety and increasing diversification of thought as ‘guiding patterns’. Existing research hints that monsters are embedded in social and scientific exclusionary relationships but very seldom copes with them in detail. Erving Goffman’s doesn’t explicitly talk about monsters in his book ‘Stigma’, but his study is an exceptional case which shows that monsters are stigmatized by society because of their deviations from norms, but they can form groups with fellow monsters and develop techniques for handling their stigma.
Our book is to be understood as a complement and a ‘further development’ of previous studies: The essays of our anthology pay attention to mechanisms of inequality and exclusion concerning specific historical and present monsters, based on their research materials within their specific frameworks, in order to ‘create’ engaging, constructive, critical and diverse approaches to monsters, even utopian visions of a future of societies shared by monsters. Our book proposes the usual view, that humans look in a horrified way at monsters, but adds that monsters can look in a critical and even likewise frightened way at the very societies which stigmatize them.

List of Figures

Diego Compagna
University of Applied Sciences Munich, Germany
Stefanie Steinhart
University of Klagenfurt, Austria

Gender, Biopolitics, Feminist & Queer Theory

1. Revealing the Anatomy of the Seductive Unknown: German Sirens of the 19th Century
Rebecca E. Steele
University of Wyoming, Wyoming

2. Monster-as-Actor, Woman as Role
Katherine Kurtz
Villanova University, Pennsylvania

3. The Break of Gender Stereotypes and its Relation to Desire, Eroticism and Love in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” (1991)
Katja Schöffmann
University of Klagenfurt, Austria

Politics, Postcolonial Studies, Trolling & Subversion Practices

4. Looking B(l)ack: Examining the Monstrous History of Black Oppression through Racist Imagery and Artifacts
Wanda B. Knight
The Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania

5. Teratological Aspects in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics: From Monstrous Threats to Rorschach Opportunities
Vassilis Galanos
University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

6. Politics over Monstrosity and Politics of Monstrosity. The Difference between Negative and Positive Consideration about Monsters
Andrea Torrano

Life Sciences, Body & Self

7. Morphological Deviances: Figures of Transgression in Motility Disability and Exoskeleton Use
Denisa Butnaru
University of Konstanz, Germany

8. Architecting the Mouth, Designing the Smile: The Body in Orthodontic Treatment in Turkey
Hande Güzel
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

9. "Help, the Monster is Eating Me!" Loss of control of the technical vs. harmonically acting cyborg
Melike Sahinol
Orient-Institut Istanbul, Turkey

10. The Assemblage of the Skull Form. Parental Decision, Surgery and the Normalization of the Baby Skull
Andreas Kaminski
High Performance Computing Center (HLRS), Germany
Alena Umbach
High Performance Computing Center (HLRS), Germany

Aesthetics, Art, Media & Literature

11. From Golem to Cyborg: Symbolic Reconfigurations of an Ancient Monstrum
Barbara Henry
Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Italy

12. Citizen Dead: Aesthetical, Ominous and Rotten Zombies
Adrián Pradier
Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR), Spain

13. Waking the Monsters of Insomniac Rationality: Conspiracy Theory as Critical Technical Practice
Alex Gibson
University of Bristol, United Kingdom
Leonardo Impett
Max Planck Institute for Art History, Italy
Anders Thrue Djurslev
University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Alan F. Blackwell
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

14. A Wonderful Kind of Monster: the Likeable Monster
Stefanie Steinhart
University of Klagenfurt, Austria

Philosophy, Ethics, Theology & Anthropology

15. The Devil in Contradiction: Bringer of light - embodiment of the wicked - of the libidinal monstrosity
Peter Heintel
University of Klagenfurt, Austria

16. Monster Anthropologies and Technology: Machines, Cyborgs and other Techno-Anthropological Tools
Mark Coeckelbergh
University of Vienna, Austria

17. I, Monster: Hybrid Anthropology
Markus Fath
QualityMinds GmbH, Germany

18. Mathematical Monsters
Andrew Aberdein
Florida Institute of Technology, Florida

Diego Compagna received his diploma (in social sciences) from the Freie Universität Berlin in 2000. After working for three years in the market research industry, he began working as a junior lecturer at the Institute for Sociology of the Universität Duisburg-Essen, where he earned his PhD (in social sciences) in 2012. He then worked for two years for the German Ministry of Education and Research and in 2015 took a position as postdoc/head of an interdisciplinary research group dedicated to the study of human-robot interaction at the Technische Universität Berlin. He is currently Professor and Senior Lecturer for Theories of Societal Transformation at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich (Germany). As a social scientist specializing in science and technology studies, he is generally interested in the study of the anthropological baseline of social theory and the development of alternative social actor models (e.g. cyborgs, social robots, avatars, etc.).

Stefanie Steinhart holds a Mag. phil. degree in Media and Communication Studies from the Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt. Her diploma thesis dealt with cultural as well as gender stereotypes in the first two Underworld movies in the context of the subversion – containment dynamics of form. After achieving her diploma she continued studying the specific negative shapes of the Grotesque, the Absurd, the Surreal and the Uncanny as varying and critical deviations from socially established, one-dimensional norms. Besides this interest in the connection between forms and social structures, health and medical issues play a crucial role in Steinhart’s life and research. Her most recent research examines health and medical topics in relation to identity and power.

one dimensionality/ one dimensional society, plurality, diversity, anomaly, deviance, difference, the other, the strange, the odd, the misplaced, the rejected, fears, hopes, dreams, utopia/ Ernst Bloch, subversion, containment, ugliness, beauty, dialectics, gender, politics, life sciences, aesthetics, philosophy, social criticism, critical theory, sociology

Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Monsters, Monstrosities, and the Monstrous in Culture and Society





Number of pages


Physical size



10 B&W
Publication date
January 2020