‘Holy Monsters, Sacred Grotesques’ to be explored at Rice Oct. 25-27

Leading local and national scholars on religious studies, literature, art history and history will gather at Rice University Oct. 25-27 for a conference on “Holy Monsters, Sacred Grotesques.”

The conference aims to create conversations on the impact of monstrosity and examples of the grotesque in discourse related to religion and the sacred. Conference organizers said the tendency to populate religious landscapes with nonhuman entities, literally demonize opponents, perceive monsters as existing in far-reaching geographical borders (for example, “the East” in medieval Europe) and decorate sacred sites with grotesques is a trait shared throughout various traditions.

The conference will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 25, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 26 and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 27. The Oct. 25 and 26 presentations will take place in Fondren Library’s Kyle Morrow Room and the Oct. 27 presentations will take place in Sewall Hall, Room 301. Keynote speakers will be John Block Friedman, emeritus professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign; Asa Mittman, associate professor of art and art history at California State University, Chico; and Jeffrey Weinstock, professor of English at Central Michigan University.

A Rockwell Lecture event, the conference is free and open to the public. It was organized by Rice graduate students Linda Ceriello, Michael Heyes, Minji Lee and Erin Prophet, all in religious studies, and Jayme Yeo in English. The conference is hosted by the Department of Religious Studies, Humanities Research Center, Department of Art History and Program in Medieval Studies.

To register and for more information, including the full conference agenda, go to http://hrc.rice.edu/holymonsters/.

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