MSU Billings 2018 Fall Lecture Series

MSU Billings presents the 2018 Fall Lecture Series Monsters!, a five-week looks at montsters and their influence throughout history. The lectures take place every Tuesday from 6:30pm-8:00pm in Library 148 throughout the month of October, 2018.

From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, European fascination with the “monstrous” grew and explanations of “monsters” evolved in response to the discovery of the Americas and increased knowledge of human and animal bodies.  The bounds of nature were stretched to fit such seeming aberrations as gigantic sea serpents, a child born with the head of a frog, a colt with a human face, and bodies of indeterminate sex (“hermaphrodites” in early-modern terminology).  What did it mean, then, to be a “monster” in early-modern Europe?  From what sources did Europeans draw knowledge of monsters?

Witches occupy a central place in our popular culture and continue to be one of the most recognizable “monsters.” However, every monster is born at a specific historical moment. Out of the religious and political crises of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries emerged the idea of the diabolical “witch.”