Monsters, imagined as occupying the margins of reality and patrolling its borders, teach us about the cultures that engendered them. This seminar investigates the kinds of monsters represented in premodern art and literature and asks what these texts and objects do, how they work, and what relationships they generate with their readers and beholder. It considers how different societies aligned monstrosity with excessive creatures, unwanted persons, and aberrant behaviors to establish order: natural, social, religious and political. By examining the historical formation of cultural categories, it probes the mechanisms that define otherness.
Monsters Beware! Otherness and Order in Premodern Art and Literature (LA)
ART 387 / ITA 330