Cute, creepy and sublime unnamed childhood monstrosities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Strangers, Gods, and monsters are all names for the experience of alterity and otherness within and amongst us. We need monsters in our lives. In this paper we use philosophy as a method to explore language, developmental and cultural instabilities, and terrifying (and discursive) monstrosity located within children's literature and childhood contexts. Philosophy as a method serves as an engagement, an ethical relationship with monstrous thoughts, and as an opening to the philosophical thinking of everyday practices of childhood play (i.e., through objects, practices, language, text, and images). Alongside and through cute, creepy and sublime notions of monsters in children's literature children become monsters–monsters become children. We draw from Derrida's notions of hospitality and hostility and Deleuze and Guattari's deterritorialization of minor literature as well as from literature on monsters, monstrosities, and ugliness. We argue that different representations of childhood monstrosity can help educators and other adults to see the ‘productive’ in childhood otherness, to consider the always present ‘childhood undecidable’ (simultaneous presence of cute and creepy) and the generative in infinitely unknown and unrecognizable childhood objects and discourses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDiscourse
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Sep 10 2015

Keywords

  • childhood
  • Monsters
  • otherness
  • philosophy as a method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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