Creating Cultural Monsters

Serial Murder in America

Creating Cultural Monsters

Serial murderers generate an abundance of public interest, media coverage, and law enforcement attention, yet after decades of studies, serial murder researchers have been unable to answer the most important question: Why? Providing a unique and comprehensive exploration, Creating Cultural Monsters: Serial Murder in America explains connections between American culture and the incidence of serial murder, including reasons why most identified serial murderers are white, male Americans. It describes the omnipresence of serial murder in American media and investigates what it would take to decrease its occurrence. Presenting empirically supported arguments that have the potential to revolutionize how serial murder is understood, studied, and investigated, this volume: Places the serial murder phenomenon in a cultural context, promoting qualitative understanding and the potential for reducing its frequency Includes an illustrated model that explains how people utilize cultural values to construct lines of action according to their cultural competencies Demonstrates how the American cultural milieu fosters serial murder and the creation of white male serial murderers Provides a critique of the American mass media’s role in the development and notoriety of serial murder Describes the framework on which the majority of definitions of serial murder are based Drawn from years of dedicated research of Dr. Julie B. Wiest, this volume presents a new approach to the study of U.S. serial murder, offers important implications for law enforcement and mass media, and forms a basis for future research on serial murder, murder, and violence in the U.S. and in other nations.

The Allure of Premeditated Murder

Why Some People Plan to Kill

The Allure of Premeditated Murder

The Allure of Premeditated Murder examines why some people plan and implement terrible violence against others. Drawing on extensive research and interviews with murderers, Jack Levin and Julie B. Wiest help readers understand why such vicious murders occur and what we can do to minimize their incidence.

Gothic Forensics

Criminal Investigative Procedure in Victorian Horror & Mystery

Gothic Forensics

Michael Arntfield interrogates the legacy of Victorian-era crime fiction and Gothic horror on investigative forensic methods used by police today.

Crime and Punishment in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age

Mental-Historical Investigations of Basic Human Problems and Social Responses

Crime and Punishment in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age

All societies are constructed, based on specific rules, norms, and laws. Hence, all ethics and morality are predicated on perceived right or wrong behavior, and much of human culture proves to be the result of a larger discourse on vices and virtues, transgression and ideals, right and wrong. The topics covered in this volume, addressing fundamental concerns of the premodern world, deal with allegedly criminal, or simply wrong behavior which demanded punishment. Sometimes this affected whole groups of people, such as the innocently persecuted Jews, sometimes individuals, such as violent and evil princes. The issue at stake here embraces all of society since it can only survive if a general framework is observed that is based in some way on justice and peace. But literature and the visual arts provide many examples of open and public protests against wrongdoings, ill-conceived ideas and concepts, and stark crimes, such as theft, rape, and murder. In fact, poetic statements or paintings could carry significant potentials against those who deliberately transgressed moral and ethical norms, or who even targeted themselves.

Making Evil

The Science Behind Humanity’s Dark Side

Making Evil

Are you evil? In Making Evil, Julia Shaw uses a mix of science, popular culture and real-life examples to investigate the darker side of human nature. How similar is your brain to a psychopath's? How many people have murder fantasies? Can AI be evil? Do your sexual proclivities make you a bad person? Who becomes a terrorist? This is a surprising and wickedly entertaining exploration of a darkly compelling subject.

Building Character and Culture

Building Character and Culture

Focuses attention on the critical role of socialization in character formation and cultural evolution.

Fear, Cultural Anxiety, and Transformation

Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy Films Remade

Fear, Cultural Anxiety, and Transformation

The contributors to this volume explore the themes of fear, cultural anxiety, and transformation as expressed in remade horror, science fiction, and fantasy films. While opening on a note that emphasizes the compulsion of filmmakers to revisit issues concerning fear and anxiety, this collection ends with a suggestion that repeated confrontation with these issues allows the opportunity for creative and positive transformation.

The Monster Theory Reader

The Monster Theory Reader

A collection of scholarship on monsters and their meaning—across genres, disciplines, methodologies, and time—from foundational texts to the most recent contributions Zombies and vampires, banshees and basilisks, demons and wendigos, goblins, gorgons, golems, and ghosts. From the mythical monstrous races of the ancient world to the murderous cyborgs of our day, monsters have haunted the human imagination, giving shape to the fears and desires of their time. And as long as there have been monsters, there have been attempts to make sense of them, to explain where they come from and what they mean. This book collects the best of what contemporary scholars have to say on the subject, in the process creating a map of the monstrous across the vast and complex terrain of the human psyche. Editor Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock prepares the way with a genealogy of monster theory, traveling from the earliest explanations of monsters through psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, and cultural studies, to the development of monster theory per se—and including Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s foundational essay “Monster Theory (Seven Theses),” reproduced here in its entirety. There follow sections devoted to the terminology and concepts used in talking about monstrosity; the relevance of race, religion, gender, class, sexuality, and physical appearance; the application of monster theory to contemporary cultural concerns such as ecology, religion, and terrorism; and finally the possibilities monsters present for envisioning a different future. Including the most interesting and important proponents of monster theory and its progenitors, from Sigmund Freud to Julia Kristeva to J. Halberstam, Donna Haraway, Barbara Creed, and Stephen T. Asma—as well as harder-to-find contributions such as Robin Wood’s and Masahiro Mori’s—this is the most extensive and comprehensive collection of scholarship on monsters and monstrosity across disciplines and methods ever to be assembled and will serve as an invaluable resource for students of the uncanny in all its guises. Contributors: Stephen T. Asma, Columbia College Chicago; Timothy K. Beal, Case Western Reserve U; Harry Benshoff, U of North Texas; Bettina Bildhauer, U of St. Andrews; Noel Carroll, The Graduate Center, CUNY; Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Arizona State U; Barbara Creed, U of Melbourne; Michael Dylan Foster, UC Davis; Sigmund Freud; Elizabeth Grosz, Duke U; J. Halberstam, Columbia U; Donna Haraway, UC Santa Cruz; Julia Kristeva, Paris Diderot U; Anthony Lioi, The Julliard School; Patricia MacCormack, Anglia Ruskin U; Masahiro Mori; Annalee Newitz; Jasbir K. Puar, Rutgers U; Amit A. Rai, Queen Mary U of London; Margrit Shildrick, Stockholm U; Jon Stratton, U of South Australia; Erin Suzuki, UC San Diego; Robin Wood, York U; Alexa Wright, U of Westminster.

Plagues, Apocalypses and Bug-Eyed Monsters

How Speculative Fiction Shows Us Our Nightmares

Plagues, Apocalypses and Bug-Eyed Monsters

Speculative fiction—both science fiction and fantasy—reflects, among other things, the fears of the culture that created it, contributing (perhaps unconsciously) to our efforts to prevent our fears from coming true. While the names and media change over time, the themes of speculative fiction have a long history. Nineteenth century works such as Frankenstein and The Invisible Man contain many of the same messages as the more modern tales of Terminator, Jurassic Park and even Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, although almost a century separates their creation. This critical study discusses the ways in which speculative fiction reflects societal fears and analyzes how such cautionary tales contribute to society’s efforts to avoid the realization of these fears. Beginning with a discussion of the nature of speculative fiction, it takes a look at the characteristics of the cautionary tale. The core of the book, however, is the concept of the “Nightmares Model,” which examines and categorizes the repetition of specific themes within the genre. The dangers of science and technology, the perils of power, and the threat of the unknown are discussed as recurrent themes within a variety of works in prose, film and television. Works analyzed range from Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea to 2001: A Space Odyssey to The Blair Witch Project. Sources include the author’s own observations as a member of the genre’s fandom, a variety of published commentaries and the perspectives of contemporary professionals gained through personal interviews and panel discussions.

Cultural Sutures

Medicine and Media

Cultural Sutures

DIVA collection of essays on medicine and media from newspapers through film, television, and computers./div