Saturday, 21 August 2010

She-Wolf Conference Criticized by Werewolf

During my regular cyber-surveys of all things werewolf, I've come across a few mentions of the conference on blogs, livejournal and other sites. We certainly seem to have caught people's attention. However, tonight I discovered that not all the attention is positive. I found A Werewolf Blog in Brooklyn, a blog written by a 'modern day werewolf from Brooklyn'. The female werewolf who authors the site has taken some offence at the ways in which we are marketing the She-Wolf Conference. In particular, she's not happy about the link I have made between the 'female monster' and the 'female werewolf'.

Of course, it has never been my intention to cause offence. But I would like to offer a brief defence. Theoretical considerations of the 'monster' are becoming more common in academic discourse; literary studies, film studies, psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, history, legal studies, theology... and many other disciplines are becoming more and more engaged with exploring the concept of the 'monster' and the impact this has on our understanding of the 'human'. Though in everyday parlance the word can simply refer to something repellant, unpleasant or dangerous, academics seek to go beyond this and question the far-reaching implications of 'monster-production', 'monstrosity' and the 'monstrous'.

I would suggest that this is even more problematic when examining the female 'monster'. Women - werewolf or otherwise - are monsterized and dehumanized in many discourses. So what happens when we create or are confronted by the monstrous monster? The other of the other? The inhuman non-human? Does this double otherness, as many critics have suggested, give the female monster more power? Or does it render her utterly abject?

These are the questions I wanted to raise and discuss by organizing She-Wolf. And, if you have a look at our programme, you'll see that our speakers will be grappling with these questions from different perspectives and from different theoretical positions. I believe that our discussions will cover many of the representations of the female werewolf in art, literature and culture - but will also explore what it means when we distinguish between the human and the monster.

I hope this clears up some of the thinking behind the conference. Despite the animosity the author clearly feels towards the conference, I would recommend giving A Werewolf Blog in Brooklyn or the downloadable zines a go. It's an interesting read, particularly if you're familiar with a lot of the recent pop culture representations of female werewolves.

Feel free to comment!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Hannah and pack,
    Just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU for an absolutely fantastic conference. What a wonderfully diverse range of papers, expertise and approaches to the topic, demonstrating just how complex a character the female werewolf really is. Looking forward to your book!
    With warm regards, Jazmina