9th-10th March 2013, Main Square 34
A conference organised by the Students Research Group of the Comparative Studies of Civilisations
Hybrids, chimeras and all kinds of monsters are the stuff of myths, fairy tales and legends from all over the world, as are centaurs, gryphons, dragons, goblins, basilisks, manticores, harpies, mermaids, elves and krakens. Immortalised in art and literature they eagerly find their way into pop-culture, either duplicating the primary symbolism and pattern or forfeiting it altogether. Although these unnatural creatures have always played a central role in a broadly understood culture, they have not yet attained an appropriate position in research. Meanwhile, the interpretative abundance offered by both humanities and biological sciences offers completely new possibilities for young researchers.
The purpose of the conference
The discussion revolved around both the peculiar mythological beasts as well as those inhabiting the pages of fantasy novels. We forget neither about the monsters stemming from the religious world of the ancient era nor those lurking in the ocean of pop-culture. We dealt with the numerous uncannily deformed beings, that have been corroborated by history and biology. This extravaganza was then directed at the wider audience of the conference. We asked several questions and searched for the answers: when and why is a particular monster associated with positive or negative values? Does the unnatural and mutated evoke fear and exclusion or maybe a special kind of interest? Can a hybrid be beautiful? Can it become the object of aspiration or desire? What defines a monster and where does the border between peculiar and terrifying lie?