Monsters of Modernity

Global Icons for our Critical Condition

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

Forthcoming January 2019

Above: ‘Phycodurus eques mundi’, by Al Gevers ©.
Cover image: ‘Broached Monsters, Pankalangu Armchair’, designed by Trent Jansen, produced by JP Finsbury, Sydney, photographed by Michael Corridore ©.

About the book

Monsters of Modernity explores the contemporary human condition through a selection of globally iconic monsters. In each chapter, the authors explore 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 lasting 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, including through the highly personal and subjective perspectives in each chapter, and even the absence of an Introduction. This book 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.

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.

Table of contents
Authorship, Acknowledgements and Other Notes Not Elsewhere Well-Accommodated
Chapter 1: Here Be Dragons
Chapter 2: The Functional Autonomy of Monsters – A Metalogue
Chapter 3: Polymorphous Monstrosity: Some Chimerical Reflections on the Question – What are Monsters?
Chapter 4: The Bunyip, and Other Australian Monsters
Chapter 5: Leviathan, the Sovereign
Chapter 6: Is Alien to Predator as Nature is to Culture?
Chapter 7: Vampires and Ratko Mladić: Balkan Monsters and The Monstering of People
Chapter 8: Pokémon Reaping
Chapter 9: Godzilla, The Unmocked God