Monsters for Our Modernity

Awful Allies in Thinking through Our Global Condition

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

About the book

Monsters for our Modernity explores the contemporary human condition through a selection of globally recognizable monsters. In each chapter, these monsters are ‘taken for a walk’ and are examined for what they might reveal about the world in which we live. Although monsters might be feared and thought of as threatening, through the explorations of dragons, bunyips, Leviathan and more, the authors show how each monster helps us to understand an aspect of our world. Predator and Alien are interpreted for what they tell us about technology and gender, while dragons warn us of the fragility of humanity’s place in the world. Throughout, but developed in some chapters more than others, is a critique of capitalism and its diverse consequences on the environment, indigenous societies, and human welfare. Each monster offers a form of insight or counsel; thus they are monsters for our modernity.

This unconventional text has been authored by lecturers in the Bachelor of International Studies (BAIS; RMIT University) and members of the Centre for Global Research, both of which have been recently identified as major contributors to emerging field of Global Studies (What is Global Studies, by Steger and Wahlrab 2017: 41-48). Monsters for our Modernity was developed to enable the creative exploration of important aspects of the contemporary global condition, and its chapters will be set as complementary reading in core subjects on globalization and critical theory for first year students in the BAIS. Thus, it is written with a view to not only speaking to the scholarly community interested in either monsters and modernity, but is intended to be accessible also by undergraduate students.

About the authors

Julian CH Lee is Senior Lecturer in Global Studies at RMIT University, Australia. He is the author of a number of books including four books including Policing Sexuality: Sex, Society and the State (2011, Zed Books), Islamization and Activism in Malaysia (2010, ISEAS), and Civil Society and the Public Sphere in Malaysia (forthcoming/2018, Amsterdam University Press). He is also the editor or co-editor of eight volumes including Narratives of Globalization (2016, Rowman & Littlefield International), Punks, Monks and Politics: Authenticity in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia (2016, Rowman & Littlefield International). He has won research funding from institutions including the Toyota Foundation (2015-17), the Wenner-Gren Foundation (2011), and the Economic and Social Research Council (UK; 2009). In 2014 he was awarded the School of Global Urban and Social Studies’ Award for Research.

Hariz Halilovich, PhD—an award-winning social anthropologist and author—is Associate Professor and Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Global Research, RMIT University, Melbourne. His main research areas include place-based identity politics, forced migration, politically motivated violence, memory studies and human rights. Much of his work has an applied focus, and he has conducted research on migration and human rights-related issues for a range of non-governmental and governmental bodies, including the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship (Australia). His award-winning book Places of Pain: Forced Displacement, Popular Memory and Trans-local Identities in Bosnian War–torn Communities was published by Berghahn, New York–Oxford (2013hb/2015pb) and his latest book Writing After Srebrenica by Buybook, Sarajevo (2017). In addition to academic text-based outputs, he has also produced multi-media exhibitions, works of fiction and radio and TV programs.

Peter Phipps is a Senior Lecturer in Global Studies at RMIT University. He undertook post-graduate training in cultural anthropology at the University of California Berkeley, and completed a PhD on the cultural politics of postcolonial theory at the University of Melbourne. He has published in journals including Ethnos, Alternatives, and Communication, Politics and Culture on Indigenous festivals, commemorations, tourism and the politics of cultural globalization. He is a founding member of the Centre for Global Research and has consulted to a number of organizations and government bodies including the City of Melbourne, Victorian Multicultural Commission, the PNG Department for Community Development, ATSIC, ATSIAB (Australia Council), UNDP (Sarajevo) and the Yothu Yindi Foundation. 

Richard J. Sutcliffe is an independent researcher who has conducted research on new religious movements and urban youth culture. He is interested in the role of the creative imagination in the articulation of human social life and the inter-urban dynamics of emergent forms of transnational visual culture. His writing has been published in places including the journal Canberra Anthropology, in the volumes Managing Modernity in the Western PacificThe Malaysian Way of Life and Second Thoughts: On Malaysia, Globalisation, Society and Self, and in the Springer Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance.

Ani R. Landau-Ward has a Masters in International & Community Development and undergraduate study in Environmental Design (Architecture), and is associated with the Centre for Global Research at RMIT University. Her most recent research has engaged the rhetoric and politics of property in International Development policy, and its intersections with land based social movements. She brings to her academic work extensive experience in community engagement with a social justice focus. Landau-Ward teaches in International Studies in The School of Global Urban and Social Studies at RMIT. Her work has been published in the journal Habitat International and in the Springer Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance.



Forthcoming summer 2018