Feminist Monster Studies


Marginalised bodies, voices and knowledges are often relegated to the realm of the monstrous, in the sense that they are deemed ‘abnormal’, untruthful, or unreliable. In this panel, we revisit the ways in which monsters and the monstrous long have been of interest to feminist, queer and decolonial thinkers. Importantly, this is not to “show” what is construed as monstrous, but to demonstrate how thinking-with the monster can serve as a feminist method to grapple with and challenge structures of differentiation, and boundary-making categories of belonging. What kinds of monstrous imaginaries are at stake in the debates in and about gender studies? To what extent does the threat of the monstrous  reimagine debates about knowledge production, agency and belonging, both outside and inside the field of feminist and gender studies? And what is at risk when even articulating an inside and an outside of any field?   

In this panel, we introduce feminist monster studies as a thinking tool for exploring tensions between what is considered acceptable and unstable or disregarded, unofficial/unrecognised and official/recognised,  knowledges and bodies. Although the monster can certainly be unsettling, our aim is to spawn a discussion about boundaries, belonging and marginalisation in Nordic feminist and gender research, and develop strategies for how to reimagine collaboration and collectivity across differences and divergencies.   


Sara E. S. Orning is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Gender Research at the University of Oslo She holds an MA in Critical Theory from University of Sussex and her PhD in Literature from University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research interests are monstrosity, humanness, and the production of the two in different time periods and media. She explores this in her research with feminist theory, disability studies, animal studies, posthumanism, and TV series, literature and films. Recent and in-press publications include articles in Tidsskrift for kjønnsforskning (The Norwegian Journal of Gender Research), Nytt Norsk TidsskriftNordic Journal of Migration Research and Somatechnics, and chapters in the edited anthologies Theories of Affect and Concepts in Generic Skills Education: Adventurous Encounters (2017) and Animalities: Literary and Cultural Studies Beyond the Human (2017).   

Dr. Donna McCormack is a Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Strathclyde. She is currently working on two projects: Transplant Imaginaries and Capturing Chronic Illness. Her main research interests are biotechnologies in contemporary literature and film, queer theory, critical race and postcolonial theory, evolutionary theory, and critical disability studies. Her first monograph is entitled Queer Postcolonial Narratives and the Ethics of Witnessing (Bloomsbury Press, 2014), and she has publications in Body & Society, the European Journal of Cultural StudiesSomatechnics and BMJ Medical Humanities, as well as in edited collections such as Bodily Exchanges, Bioethics and Border Crossing (Routledge, 2015). She is the coordinator of the Nordic Network Gender, Body, Health, as well as a founding member of the Monster Network.  

Aino-Kaisa Koistinen is a poet, and a postdoctoral researcher in Contemporary Culture Studies at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She holds an MA in Literature (University of Oulu, FI), PhD in Contemporary Culture Studies (University of Jyväskylä, FI), and Title of Docent in Media Culture (University of Turku, FI). Her research interests include affect, violent fiction, popular culture (such as speculative and crime fiction), feminist posthumanism, animal studies, creative writing and creative methods, and ecocriticism. She recently co-edited the book Reconfiguring the Human, Nonhuman and Posthuman in Literature and Culture for Routledge (with Sanna Karkulehto and Essi Varis). When not preoccupied with research, she enjoys writing science fiction and poetry, playing guitar, and relaxing with her companion cat. Her poetry book Uhanalaiset ja silmälläpitävät (The Endangered and Others of Interest) was published by Palladium Kirjat in 2021.  

Line Henriksen is a postdoctoral researcher at Malmö University, the School of Arts and Communication, and affiliated with Medea Lab. She holds a PhD in Gender Studies from the Unit of Gender Studies at Linköping University and an MA in Modern Culture and Cultural Communication from the University of Copenhagen. She is the author of the monograph In the Company of Ghosts – Hauntology, Ethics, Digital Monsters (2016), and her research interests include feminist theory, methodology and ethics, monster theory, hauntology, creative writing and digital horror stories. She is co-creator of the art installation and experimental podcast series Radio Anthropocene, which will be exhibited in Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna, 2022.  

Ingvil Hellstrand is associate professor with the Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Stavanger, Norway (UiS). She holds a PhD in social sciences from UiS, and an MA in Women’s Studies from Lancaster University, UK. Her research interests are storytelling practices and knowledge production, science fiction as method and posthuman ethics. She is currently involved in the trans-disciplinary project Caring Futures, and is developing a project on tentacular teaching. Recent publications include articles in the journals Norsk Medietidsskrift (Norwegian journal of media), and Tidsskrift for omsorgsforskning (Norwegian Journal for Care Research), as well as chapters in anthologies such as Ill-Disciplined Gender: Engaging Questions of Nature/Culture and Transgressive Encounters (2016), Kollaps (2018), Samskaping og innovasjon (2020).  

Published Sep. 21, 2021 1:52 PM - Last modified Sep. 21, 2021 1:52 PM