Living with Monsters - Anthropology Symposium

7 December 2017

Hosted by the Department of Anthropology

Convenor – Dr Yasmine Musharbash.

Keynote Speakers – Professor Jeffrey Jerome Cohen,

Following Reception on Day 1 – We will host a screening of Warwick Thornton’s The Darkside.


The Department of Anthropology presents the 2017 Anthropology Symposium. The theme this year is Living with Monsters. Monsters are not just part of the popular imaginary, stalking movie screens and the pages of books. They manifest in socio-culturally specific ways across the world, and haunt humans no matter where they live. These local monsters—Mamu, Mulukwausi, Lau, Kalopaling, Tikoloshe, Fylgjur, Pompéro to name a few—have distinctive appearances, particular traits, their own agendas. They appear under certain conditions, in specific locations or at particular times. In short, they exist alongside humans and at times they cross into the spaces of home and community. Anthropology is key to exploring the indeterminacy of monster realities in cross-cultural lived experience, and thus towards understanding what it means to have monsters in your life.

Monster-human encounters are telling; how one would placate ghosts in Fiji, avoid being taken by Anito in Taiwan, or how to co-exist with Pangkarlanga in central Australia, is locally contingent. We invite ethnographically rich explorations of living with monsters that illuminate how monster-human entanglements contour social relations, notions of personhood, politics, inequality, or theories of justice, ethics and morals.

The symposium draws on two anthropological traditions—an interest in the monstrous and the ethnographic method—in the hope of fostering interdisciplinary dialogue: adding an anthropological voice to discussions currently taking place in the inter-disciplinary field of monster studies, and exploring how this burgeoning field of study may enrich anthropological understandings of the monsters that haunt our fieldsites.

Abstract submissions will be open from 20 April, to find out more about submissions and registration please visit the conference website.

Event details



Living with Monsters - Anthropology Symposium

Where Eastern Avenue / New Law Building, University of Sydney Rooms TBC When

7 December 2017


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