Monsters, because the monster is the outsider template par excellence within social theory. Hopeful, because monsters are quintessentially hopeful, they promise a new dawn, and point to the place of the sacred. Bowie, because of all the figures within popular culture, few embody the monster quite like David Bowie. In the face of the law of genre, the royal ‘No,’ Bowie, like the monster he so eloquently symbolised and embodied, always seemed to say ‘Yes.’
The lecture will first set some parameters for thinking about monsters, for not all scary creatures are monsters. In doing so, the lecture will draw, in particular, on the work of Michel Foucault and George Canguilhem. Once the theoretical ground has been laid for an analytically precise understanding of the monster, the lecture will turn to counter-cultural icon and sublime anti-hero, David Bowie, as a contemporary vehicle for thinking through, and rendering accessible, some key categorical distinctions which the monster brings to crisis. In particular, and through Bowie, we will journey through the territory of sex, gender and sexuality; human/animal hybridity, and the sacred and the profane.
So roll up for the mother of monsters. The lecture will be theoretically rich and an audio-visual feast. What it will not be is dull.