Course Description:

This course explores monstrosity in fiction and creative nonfiction. Together we will read texts ranging from classics of the monster genre, like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, to Valeria Luiselli’s Tell Me How it Ends, an essay in 40 questions which examines the meaning of the American dream and reality of undocumented children seeking a new life in the US. Some of the many questions we will consider include: what is a monster? Who makes/defines a monster? What do monsters teach us about our culture, or ourselves? What craft techniques do various authors employ when writing about monstrosity, and how might we use those to write about the monsters we wish to face?

Monstrosities we may investigate include, but are, not limited to: Representations of the monster in art and literature; Depictions of the Other as monstrous; Cyborgs, robots, aliens; Spectacles, Freakshows; Transgressions; Medical monsters; Viruses, parasites, pathology; The monster in pop-culture; Monstrous children and childhoods; True crime/serial killers; Cryptozoology (Bigfoot, The Jersey Devil, etc.); Monsters in science-fiction; Histories of the monster; Queerness/Gender/Sexuality/Race and Monstrosity; Monstrous politics / policies.