Monsters of Modernity

Monsters of Modernity : Global Icons for our Critical Condition

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Julian C. H. Lee, Hariz Halilovich, Ani Landau-Ward, Peter Phipps, & Richard J. Sutcliffe

Monsters of Modernity explores the contemporary human condition through a selection of globally iconic monsters. The authors explore diverse monsters for what they reveal about the world in which we live and for the ways that they enable us to address critical issues facing humanity. Although monsters might be feared and thought of as threatening, the authors show how each monster brings us to a deeper appreciation of various aspects of our troubled world, from gender relations, to the ongoing impacts of colonisation, to neoliberalism, to the fragility of humanity's place in the world in the Anthropocene.

Monsters of Modernity explores new ground in the conventions of authorship and scholarship, and will be a valuable companion to anyone interested in the study of monsters as well as those seeking engaging ways to explore and teach key global issues.

Join the authors as they explore the critical condition of our age through their explorations of Chimera, Leviathan, Vampires, Bunyips, Predator and the Xenomorph Alien, Pokémon, Dragons, and Godzilla.


Julian C.H. Lee is Associate Professor in Global Studies at RMIT University, Australia. He is the author of a number of books including Policing Sexuality: Sex, Society and the State; Second Thoughts: On Globalisation, Malaysia, Society and Self; and Women's Activism in Malaysia..

Ani Landau-Ward is associated with the Social and Global Studies Centre and the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT University. Her scholarly writing has been published in the Springer Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance; the New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, and the volume Urban Asias: Essays on Futurity Past and Present.

Hariz Halilovich is an award-winning social anthropologist and author; he is Associate Professor and Vice-Chancellor's Senior Research Fellow at the Social and Global Studies Centre, RMIT University, Melbourne. His main research areas include place-based identity politics, forced migration, politically motivated violence, memory studies and human rights.

Peter Phipps is a Senior Lecturer in Global Studies at RMIT University, where he is also associated with the Social and Global Studies Centre. He has published in journals including Ethnos, Alternatives, and Communication, Politics and Culture on Indigenous festivals, commemorations, tourism and the politics of cultural globalization.

Richard J. Sutcliffe is an independent researcher who has conducted research on new religious movements and urban youth culture. His writing has been published in places including the journal Canberra Anthropology, and in the volumes Paganism Today, Managing Modernity in the Western Pacific, The Malaysian Way of Life, Second Thoughts: On Malaysia, Globalisation, Society and Self, and the Springer Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance.


I) Here Be Dragons II) The Functional Autonomy of Monsters -- A Metalogue III) Polymorphous Monstrosity: Some Chimerical Reflections on the Question -- What Is a Monster? IV) The Bunyip, and Other Australian Monsters V) Leviathan, the Sovereign VI) Is Alien to Predator as Nature Is to Culture? VII) Vampires and Ratko Mladic Balkan Monsters and the Monstering of People VIII) Pokémon Reaping IX) Godzilla, The Unmocked God Authorship, Acknowledgements, and Other Notes Not Elsewhere Well-Accommodated
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Product details

  • Hardback | 194 pages
  • 148 x 210 x 13mm | 386g
  • English
  • 10 Illustrations
  • 191280106X
  • 9781912801060
  • 3,608,702

Review quote

This volume offers an exciting and innovative reflection on the current anxieties, challenges and dangers of our current global era by inviting us to 'think through monsters'. This invocation points to looming unknowns, shape-shifting ambiguities, and decentering logics of fear and possibility which together facilitate new modes of intimate engagement with a range of issues such as colonial violence, environmental degradation, decline of the west, and the enduring pain of genocide. This is a beautiful, moving, timely and evocative collection.

-- Eve Darian-Smith, Chair, Department of Global and International Studies, University of California Irvine, and co-author of The Global Turn and author of Laws and Societies in Global Contexts.

Monsters may be as old as human life (and our collective anxieties) and today they continue to stalk us -- and fascinate us-- in a time of technological transformation, inexorable globalisation, and political polarisation. Investigating the creatures of contemporary popular culture as well as less-celebrated beasts from Australian folklore to war crimes tribunals, Monsters of Modernity explores our anxieties and obsessions through the monstrous imaginary of dark colonial legacies, the profound consequences of global warming, and the pervasive influence of state power and capitalism. Like monsters themselves, this volume is unconstrained and fearless, ranging across geographies and chronologies, breaking through traditional disciplinary boundaries, and challenging the conventions of staid academic writing. Monsters of Modernity is a sophisticated, imaginative, provocative, and very welcome addition to the growing scholarly literature on the significance of our deep and enduring need for monsters.

-- William M. Tsutsui, President and Professor of History, Hendrix College, and author of Godzilla on My Mind and Japanese Popular Culture and Globalization.

This insightful and powerful book challenges us to learn from our monsters about ourselves and our past, and to face our increasingly uncertain future alongside them.

-- Liz Gloyn, Senior Lecturer in Classics, Royal Holloway, University of London, and author of Tracking Classical Monsters in Popular Culture and The Ethics of the Family in Seneca.
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