Monster Talks 4: Halloween

File:Samhuinn Wikipedia editathon at University of Edinburgh editathon - 1st November 2016 05.jpg
Samhuinn Jack-o’-lantern. By Mihaela Bodlovic –, CC BY-SA 4.0, Image description: Three carved Jack-o’-lanterns, one in focus and two more blurry in the back. They have jagged, open mouths and look a little scary.

Why is it possible to consider the vampire and the zombie to be paradigmatic neoliberal monsters? What is the history of Halloween monstrousness? For our Halloween Special of Monster Talks, Sara Orning sat down with Mexitli Lopez, a doctoral candidate at the University of Oslo. Mexitli, has a long-standing interest in monsters and talked about her research at our Monster Network conference in Stavanger back in 2016, Promises of Monsters. She is currently writing her PhD dissertation on vampires and zombies in literature, film and television. Since Sara and Mexitli are now working on the same research project, BIODIAL: the Biopolitics of Disability, Illness and Animality, they wanted to get together to talk about some common ideas they have about the monster: how it may point to alternative ways of making community; how it points to a future that we don’t quite know what holds, and what representations of monstrousness may mean for how we relate to otherness in the “real” world. They are also addressing the long history of Halloween: how has that tradition been created through repeated layers of colonization and appropriation?

In the flesh 3
 Image description: Still from the TV series In the Flesh S1e1, created by Dominic Mitchell (BBC Three, 2013).
Text description: Kieren (who is a zombie/undead/Partially Deceased Syndrome sufferer (PDSs)) wakes up from a flashback with a distraught look on his face. His skin is very pale, nearly white, and his pupils small and black.
Creepy witches fingers (paluszki wiedźmy), Sanok
By Silar – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Image description: A basket full of cookies in the shape of creepy fingers, with blood running around pointy fingernails.

Monster Talks is a podcast series that explores the figure of the monster and the concept of the monstrous as important thinking tools for addressing dynamics of power, inclusion and exclusion, discrimination and violence. The podcast is made possible by the support of Nordic Culture Point and produced by The Monster Network in collaboration with Network for Gender Studies at UiS. All episodes are available from the podcast’s website at UiS.