17-10-2017 Institute of Classical Studies http://www.sas.ac.uk/
Why do we need Monsters?
Today we worry about chimaeras - organisms created by combining genes from more than one species - and science fiction writers imagine bizarre aliens on other planets, just as nineteenth-century novelists placed them in the Centre of the Earth, on Lost Worlds or in Lands that Time Forgot.
Almost every society has imagined monsters, often as hybrids of humans and beasts. This free public event brings together some of the most interesting researchers on ancient monsters and invites us to reflect on what purpose these nearly humans serve in societies ancient and modern.
Professor David Wengrow (UCL) What is a monster, and do we really need them?
I will offer some brief highlights from the argument of my (2014) book, ‘The Origins of Monsters’. While we tend to think of monsters as free creations of the mind, their history is often remarkably conservative. The same ones appear, time and again, in different contexts. But how far back in human history do these stubborn, composite creations really go? Why is their transmission so often propped up by technologies of mechanical reproduction, like seal-stones and printing? Why are there so few of them in the art of prehistoric peop…