Exercise 1.2

January 31, 2019

The aim of this exercise is to better understand “Monster Culture (Seven Theses)” by identifying key terms, topic sentences and main ideas in sections of the essay.

Due by 4:00 p.m. Thursday, February 7th

Part 1: Reading
Carefully read “Thesis III: The Monster is the Harbinger of Category Crisis” and “Thesis IV: The Monster Dwells at the Gates of Difference” in “Monster Culture (Seven Theses).” In your class journal, take note of no more than four key terms you encounter in each section. Research and write down their definitions. Also try to write down ideas and questions that you have in response to specific parts of this section. Bring your annotated copy of this essay to class on Thursday, February 7th.

Part 2: Writing 
In your own hard copy of “Monster Culture (Seven Theses),” underline the topic sentence of each paragraph in each thesis (Up to Thesis V). In each section, select the topic sentence that you think expresses the main point. Write out each topic sentence and then explain what each means in your own words. Try to be as specific as possible. Post your response below as a COMMENT to this post.

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11 Responses to “Exercise 1.2”

  1.   Mayra Correa said:

    Thesis III: The topic sentence that explains the main point to thesis III is “The monster always escapes because it refuses easy categorization.”

    Meaning: It means that we cannot force the monster into any categorization or system, or classify it because if we do force the monster into categorization that the monster does not fit the monster will always find its way to escape and go back to its home. to Support my meaning In the thesis it is said that ” The Monster is a genus too large to be encapsulated in any conceptual system.”

    Thesis IV: ” The topic sentence that explains the main point is “Any Kind of alterity can be inscribed across ( constructed through) the monstrous body, but for the most part monstrous difference tends to be cultural, political, racial, economic, sexual”

    Meaning: People define a monster because of it political, racial, economic and sexual differences, but people should not define a monster because of that because there are many other things that creates a monster. A monster can physically look different in many ways thats makes it a monster. In the reading it said dark skin was considered monstrous, associated with the fires of hell.

  2.   Shivinder Malh said:

    Thesis III: “…externally incoherent bodies resist attempts to include them in any systematic structuration”

    Meaning: You cannot easily pinpoint and organize monsters into a single category and if you do, the monster can find a way to make its getaway and eventually resurface again later down the road.

    Thesis IV: “Any kind of alterity can be inscribed across the monsterous body, but for the most part monsterous difference tends to be cultural, political, racial, economic, sexual”

    Meaning: Monsters are not only cultural, they can come in the forms of political, racial, economic and sexual. All of these forms exist to provide a hinderance on changing society.

    Thesis V: “To step outside this offical geography is to risk attack by some monstrous border patrol or (worse) to become monstrous oneself”

    Meaning:Change to popular culture within society can lead to the people seeking change to become monstrasized.

  3.   chelsea Munoz said:

    Thesis III
    “A mixed category, the monster resists any classification built on hierarchy or merely binary opposition, demanding instead a “system” allowing polyphony, mixed response (difference in sameness, repulsion in attraction) and resistance to integration…”

    This sentence describes monsters as a mixed category, they can’t be classified under one thing. They don’t follow a hierarchy like animals do in the Aristotelian taxonomic system, they defy the rules of nature and order. They need to create a new system that opposes binary thought and allows many different elements to come into play. In this new system they stand alone because they can’t be categorized with any other creature. And due to this state of non-conformity with society they bring crisis .

    Thesis IV
    ” Representing an anterior culture as monstrous justifies its displacement or extermination by rendering the act heroic.”

    This sentence is able to capture one of the main themes in this thesis, that through out history monsters are created to justify unmoral acts. Constructing a monster out of a persons race or sexual identity dehumanizes them based on facts that are completely illogical. But that monster becomes a lot more vulnerable and easy to attack, which is exactly what its creator wants. For example the demonization of Native Americans in the united states so that the “political machine” could push expansion westward. They created monsters out of a group of people in order to justify their actions and agendas. Its a recurring theme in this thesis through many different aspects such as politics, economy, and sex.

  4.   Amit Singh said:

    Thesis III: ” The monster always escapes because it refuses easy categorization.”

    Meaning: This sentence summarizes the entire thesis by stating that a monster can not be easily categorized or fir into a specific group. It defies human nature to simply organize them in groups. Once a monster is limited to specific qualities, it escapes because it goes against the law of evolution.

    Thesis IV: ” Any kind of alterity can be inscribed across the monstrous body, but for the most part monstrous difference tends to be cultural, political, racial, economic, sexual.”

    Meaning: The qualities and characteristics of monsters differ in many categories. They all represent different ideas such as political and economic. Different people throughout history have been related to specific creatures, whether it be in the Bible or a specific moment in time. These monsters exist and represent how society has evolved over time and how it would continue in the future.

  5.   Donte Tucker said:

    Thesis III:”They are disturbing hybrids whose externally incoherent bodies resist attempts to include them in any systematic structuration”

    Meaning:This sentence is saying that a monster always has a feature that sets them apart from us / other monsters because the fact of their unknown abilities / physiques is what allows the monsterization of them.

    Thesis IV:”The monster is difference made flesh, come to dwell among us”

    Meaning:Similar to the last Thesis, This one is trying to say that the key difference between us, the people, and it, the monster, is a simple fact that separates us from them. It could be that they look different, speak different and etc. these monsters aren’t like us so they in our minds are a different identity and will be portrayed as such, the only thing that will always invoke fear into to us is the unknown.

    Thesis V:”From it’s position at the limits of knowing, the monster stands as a warning against exploration of it’s uncertain demenses”

    Meaning:Monsters stand at the peak of the knowledge, the push the physical standards to the edge(as far as we know)and to go even further than that is an impossible feat, they stand as a premonition / warning against what it means to go further than where we’ve previously dreamt.

  6.   Andriana Drimona said:

    Thesis III: “The monster always escapes because it refuses easy categorization”

    Most of the times for example in movies the monsters that they present are not shown for a long time in the audience. Thus, it is not easy to distinct their characteristics and categorize them according their appearance. Moreover, there might be a reason that monsters don’t want to be categorized by us because they don’t want to be classified by the criteria that we use.

    Thesis IV: “Political or ideological difference is as much a catalyst to monstrous representation on a micro level as cultural alterity in the macrocosm”

    This means that in small societies like a country for example, political or ideological events that are unfavorable by the citizens may lead to the creation of a monster. Furthermore, in a larger level like the whole world for example, some differences in cultures might impulse in the creation of a monster as well.

    Thesis V: “The monster of prohibition exists to demarcate the bonds that hold together that system of relations we call culture, to call horrid attention to the borders that cannot-must not- be crossed”

    This comes to a conclusion that cultures and societies have created monsters in order to make people to follow the rules of a society and don’t act extreme. Also, this could help to the maintenance of order in the world.

  7.   Shlomo Mansbach said:

    Homework
    Thesis III:
    “In the face of the monster, scientific inquiry and its ordered rationality crumble.”
    What cohen is saying in this statement is that the concept of a monster is not scientific. It is not a concept that is based on a system of variable. Although variables play a huge role in creating the monster (a cultures emotions, feelings, time etc.), there is no saying that the same monster would be created by mimicking the same variables.

    Thesis IV:
    “…the monster is an incorporation of the Outside, the Beyond–of all those loci that are rhetorically placed as distant and distinct but originate Within.”
    What Cohen is saying is this sentence is that the reason why a monster emerges is based on a fear or feeling that is abstract and/or distant. This fear ultimately creates this monster based on the unknown. He is stressing the point that monsters are created based on the imagination fearing the unknown.

  8.   Frank Lopez said:

    Thesis 3: The monster is in this way the living embodiment of the phenomenon Derrida has famously labeled the “supplement” [ce dangerous supplement] it breaks apart bifurcating “either/or” introducing what Barbara Johnson has called “a revolution in the very logic of meaning.”

    The monsters being created out of logic and ideas from various cultures and nations always made these monsters more frightening and scarier by adding extra or enriching the story by falsely including supplements that Derrida label the “dangereux supplement’. By concentrating on the issues, cause or ideas of these monsters and addressing these topics separately we can can apply deductive reasoning, closer to a conclussion of two or more propositions. Which at times leaves us in bewilderment.

    Thesis 4: Political and ideological difference is as much a catalyst to monstrous representation on a micro level as cultural alterity in the macrocosm.

    Ideology is a collection of normative beliefs and values that an individual or group holds for other than pure epistemic reasons. It can be a person or event that amplifies the monster to grow without any clear knowledge on how and why. While the monsters spreads it cause it can eliminate particular people for thier otherness. this can start of locally but end up globally.

    Thesis 5: The monsters are here, as elsewhere, expedient representatives of other cultures, generalized and demonized to enforce a strict notion of group sameness.

    The monsters are present but they always disappear. They overcome most obstacles to reach higher grounds no matter how improper or immoral. The widespread objective is clear never mind how threatening or wicked it may be.

  9.   Alyssa Cooperberg said:

    Thesis III: “The monster escapes because it refuses easy categorization”

    Meaning: This sentence is the thesis because it explains how the monster cannot be labeled into a specific category; and when we do, the monster “escapes” it. Monsters go against all scientific laws we believe in and therefore is able to be its own “thing” and it is in its own non-specific category.

    Thesis IV: ” Any kind of alterity can be inscribed across the monstrous body, but for the most part monstrous difference tends to be cultural, political, racial, economic, sexual.”

    Meaning: All these differences (political, cultural, social, etc.) are each categories of the monster. They each form a different representation on how we view and change society. The evolution of time is clearly stated in this essay and each show the different monsters that existed during that time.

  10.   Matthew Cattaneo said:

    Thesis III: “A mixed category, the monster resists any classification built on hierarchy…”

    This sentence is stating that the “monster” cannot be placed in any one simple category. Cohen states categories built on hierarchy or a binary opposition. These are considered simple to me in that if the monster is bred from a hierarchical system, or a binary system, it is easier for one or more of the groups to not share the fear the monster is based. For the “freakish compilation” of the monster’s body to be successful, in spreading its fear, it needs to be cultivated by the culture. A reflection of society at that time. Or even better, a common enemy (race, nationalism, etc).

    Thesis IV: “The monster is difference made flesh, come to dwell among us”

    I chose this sentence as the main topic because it is succinct and nicely encapsulates the thesis as a whole. Cohen goes into discussing how various monsters are constructed based on race, political ideology, and gender. Most if not all these monsters were constructed due to a difference in society, as can be clearly seen by the Muslim example given. This difference can also be viewed as a fear of change. When Cohen begins talking about gender identities, “woman who oversteps the boundaries of her gender role…”, can be shown to be a change in the gender role, woman were subject to be characterized as a monster (e.g. Scylla, Weird Sister, Lilith etc.).

    Thesis V: “The monster prevents mobility (intellectual, geographic, or sexual) delimiting the social spaces through which private bodies may move.”

    This sentence, and this thesis, convey how the monster is used to constrict society. Prevent natural change or societal flow to a certain group or idea, and forcibly move into an alternate direction. Most of the examples brought up by Cohen in this thesis, show how certain groups were vilified due to living outside of society, living free, “uncivilized” lifestyles (e.g. Cyclopes, Salem Witches). Even to this day, living a hermetic lifestyle is viewed as strange. The individual must be sick or crazy to want to live outside or peripheral to structured life. This sentence promotes the idea, a monster may be created, to keep society together, and any other lifestyle cannot exist at the same time.

  11.   Nirmala Yusaf said:

    The topic sentences in Monster Culture (Seven Thesis)

    Thesis II : The Monster Always Escapes
    The topic sentence is, “No matter how many times King Arthur killed the ogre of Mount Saint Micheal, the monster reappear in another heroic chronicle, bequeathing the Middle Ages an abundance of morte d’ Arthurs.” That sentence explained, that each time the monster is killed the monster will always reappear in other stories but as a different monster.

    Thesis III : The Monster Is the Harbinger of Category Crisis
    The topic sentence is, “And so the monster is dangerous, a from suspended between forms that threatens to smash distinctions.” According to that sentence monsters refuse categorization and that is the reason for the monster to be dangerous. Monsters refuse to be classified because they do not fit in their environment or surrounding.

    Thesis IV : The Monster Dwells at the Gates of Difference
    The topic sentence is, “The monster is difference made flesh, come to dwell among us. In its function as dialectical Other or third-term supplement, the monster is an incorporation of the Outside, the Beyond-of all those loci that are rhetorically placed as distant and distant but originate Within. Any kind of alterity can be inscribe across (constructed through) the monstrous body, but for the most part monstrous difference tends to be cultural, political, racial, economic, sexual.” That topic stated the creation and representation of the monster outside of the country of culture but within conformity that results in the worst forms. Monsters are view as different by the other group and as an exaggeration of an embarrassment. When individuality is different it could lead to the formation of a monster in the form of cultural views, political affiliations, sexualities, genders, race, etc.

    Thesis V : The Monster Polices the Borders of the Possible
    The topic sentence is, “The monster prevents mobility (intellectual, geography, or sexual) delimiting the social spaces through which private bodies may move”
    That topic stated that it limit movement from on place to another. It constricts movement of migration and lifestyle form outside the cultural bound. Also a monster could be created if the boundary are broken.

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