2018 Conference

“Monstrosity and the Topography of Fear”

2018 Meeting of the Society for Comparative Literature and the Arts
October 18-20
Sam Houston State University Woodlands Campus
Houston/The Woodlands, Texas

We fear that which is dangerous, painful, or threatening. Fear is an emotion that signals peril, one that heightens our senses and preps us for action. But the causes of fear are vast and varied. The monster in the dark causes fear, but so does the threat of poverty, deportation, and violence. A society’s fears manifest in a number of ways. One of these is through the figure of the monstrous. W. Scott Poole argues in Monsters in America that monsters are not individual fears, but take root in public imagination.

These monsters are effects of various cultural influences, social change, and historical events. Images, events, and circumstances of monstrosity and the surrounding fear foreground anxieties about identity markers such as race, gender, sexuality, ability and class, as well as religious beliefs, science, and politics. Indeed, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen writes that “Because of its ontological liminality, the monster notoriously appears at times of crises.” In our current political, historical, ecological, and social moment we are inundated with discourses of monstrosity and fear.

This conference explores how various literatures, arts, performances, and media are produced by fear as well as how we manufacture monsters and terror in the 21 st century At the 2018 annual conference of the SCLA, we want to examine broadly and comparatively the topography of monstrosity and fear. Although we are encouraging papers that directly engage the conference theme, we also welcome papers and panels on any topic that investigates literature and the arts.

  • Post-apocalyptic narratives    
  • Religious fundamentalism    
  • Racial terror    
  • Monstrosity and toxic masculinities
  • Queerness and monstrosity    
  • Security and mass surveillance    
  • Nationalism, fascism and terror    
  • Monstrous consumption    
  • Disability and monstrosity    
  • Monstrous politicians and politics 
  • Monstrous bodies
  • Catastrophe
  • Monstrosity and the female body
  • Terror and trauma
  • Hybridity and prodigality
  • Intersectionality and monstrosity
  • Monster theory
  • Horror and ludic terror
  • Abjection and the uncanny
  •  Fear-mongering, populism, and   performance


Email: 2018scla@gmail.com

Panel and paper proposals related to the conference theme are especially encouraged, but all topics are welcome. Please submit panel proposals (500 words) and individual abstracts (250 words) by May 20, 2018. Please include in the body of the email your name, academic affiliation, status (faculty, grad student, etc.), and mailing address. For panel proposals, include the names, addresses, and affiliations for all participants.

Graduate students submitting a paper proposal may be eligible for an SCLA travel scholarship.

Travel and Accommodations

Hyatt Place Houston/The Woodlands is approximately 15 miles from George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The hotel group rate $119 per night at The Hyatt. }|
To make reservations.
Please call Hyatt Place Reservations at 855-312-7268 and Request the group code G-SCLA.

For the website and booking rooms:

  1. Please follow this link to the hotel website: http://houstonthewoodlands.place.hyatt.com.
  2. In the “Make a Reservation” box on the right please enter the correct arrival and departure dates.
  3. Next, click on the second smaller link that says “special rates.”
  4. In the “Corporate or Group Code” box please enter the code: G-SCLA.
  5. Click the “Check Availability” button.Your group must make their reservations by  09/18/2018 , thereafter the rooms that are not booked under the group code will be released, and reservations will be taken on a space availability basis only.
  • Check-in time is 3:00 p.m.
  • Check-out time is 12:00 p.m.



Conference sessions will take place at the Hyatt Place Houston/The Woodlands and at the Sam Houston State University Woodlands facility.


Before September 15, the pre-registration fee is $120 for faculty, $65 for graduate students, $35 for undergraduates. After September 15, the fee is $130 for faculty, $75 for graduate students, and $40 for undergraduates; on-site registration will be available at these increased rates, payable with a credit card. In addition to the registration fees, you must be a member of SCLA. Registration and/or membership fees should be made using these secure links:


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