Studying Monsters

This week I start the Maymester version of my “Monsters in America” class at my day job at the College of Charleston. I’ll be doing one or two postings on the site about the nature of our discussions and some of the themes.

Like the book itself, I build the course around an examination of America’s fascination with its monsters. Our discussions are driven by the idea that monsters are created by specific variables in specific historical contexts. This gives us the opportunity to think about what has been scary in American history and why.

Check back in and I’ll let you know how things are going. Tomorrow, May 15, is the first day of class and we’ll be talking about some of the theoretical approaches to the study of monsters, with a word in from everyone from Freud to contemporary scholars like Jeffrey Cohen and Douglas Cowan.

We’ll also talk about our favorite horror films, just for fun. Well, not just for fun. The class itself, like the book, will spend some of its time analyzing horror films as our cultural nightmare time.




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