“From ‘Them’ to Now: Changing Metaphors of the Monstrous Insect”
Session Organized by Eddie Guimont, Bristol Community College
Co-Sponsored by the Monsters & the Monstrous Area and the Animals and Culture Special Topic of the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association
2022 Annual Conference of the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association
Virtual Event to be held Thursday, 20 October, to Saturday, 22 October 2022
Proposals are due 15 August 2022
In the early twentieth century, H. G. Wells’ “Empire of the Ants” used an outbreak of intelligent ants to critique European colonialism, while in Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, every aspect of the metaphor of the titular transformation of Gregor Samsa is debated, save the fact that it is a metaphor. In the 1950s, classic science fiction B-movies like Them and Beginning of the End introduced the trope of radiation mutating insects to enormous size, reflecting Cold War fears over invasion and nuclear war. 1958 The Fly served as a criticism of the same science run amok that led to the development of nuclear weapons, and was remade in the 1980s when Cold War tensions returned for their last major peak. In the last two years, congruent with the covid pandemic and various political protest waves, not only has Mothra returned and Spider-Men encountered themselves, but the news has included such stories as the return of the cicada Brood X, grasshopper swarms in the western US, “murder hornet” scares, and crickets as an explanation for “Havana Syndrome.” We seek papers that investigate the depictions of monstrous insects in pop culture (including news stories) across history, particularly with how such depictions reflect various social, political, and economic concerns of their eras.
The Monsters & the Monstrous Area of the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association (also known as NEPCA) invites proposals for 15-20-minute presentations that engage with the idea of the monstrous insect in popular culture.
Send any questions on this session to Michael A. Torregrossa, the Monsters & the Monstrous Area Chair, at Popular.Preternaturaliana@gmail.com. However, please submit your proposal directly into NEPCA’s conference system at https://bit.ly/CFPNEPCA22. You will need to have prepared the following: Yout Email, The type of proposal (single paper or full panel), Your Name, Your Proposed Subject Area (select “Monsters and the Monstrous” please), An Abstract (no more than 250 words), Academic Affiliation (if applicable), Scholarly Role, and Short Bio (up to 200 words), and Timing preferences for the session. The system will send you a receipt of your submission and alert the area chair of its readiness for review.
If accepted, presenters must join NEPCA for the year and pay the conference fee. This year the costs are $54.67 USD for Conference Registration & Membership Dues. Payment is expected in advance of 1 October 2022. Do connect with the area chair (at Popular.Preternaturaliana@gmail.com) or NEPCA directly via Lance Eaton, the Executive Secretary, (at email@example.com), if you are experiencing financial challenges that might impact your ability to present.
NEPCA prides itself on holding conferences that emphasize sharing ideas in a non-competitive and supportive environment. NEPCA conferences offer intimate and nurturing sessions in which new ideas and works-in-progress can be aired, as well as completed projects.
We welcome proposals from scholars of all levels, including full-time faculty, graduate students, independent scholars, junior faculty, part-time faculty, and senior scholars. We are also open to undergraduate presentations, provided a faculty member is also included as a point of reference (please include the faculty member’s name, institution, and email in the bio section when submitting).
For further details on NEPCA, please visit its site at https://nepca.blog/. The dedicated page for the conference is https://nepca.blog/conference/.
The Monsters & the Monstrous Area maintains its own site for news and resources. Please check us out at https://popularpreternaturaliana.blogspot.com/.
This call for papers can be accessed at https://tinyurl.com/FromThemToNow.
Michael A Torregrossa