BOOKS

MONSTER ZÄHMEN

2015. I was about to finish my PhD. It was the end of an era and I had no idea in what professional direction I wanted to go. “What do all these humanities graduates do if they don’t want to stay in academia?” I did not want to believe that they all went into publishing/journalism , “the cultural sector” (whatever that was) or primary and secondary education. I also refused to be sucked up by the resignation and pessimism lingering amongst the (post-)graduate community at university.

So I decided to interview people with humanities degrees who were already well established in their jobs. I tried to represent as big a variety of jobs as possible. While doing that I also tried to find out what I wanted to do professionally myself. It turned out that conducting these interviews, reflecting and writing about them, undertaking my own experiments in different fields, was a very effective way to identify my own strengths, preferences and values.

THE BOOK HAS TWO OBJECTIVES:

  • To widen your horizon of possible career paths for humanities graduates. (Because, really, almost anything is possible.)
  • To offer reflection and recognition of the most common anxiety-inducing topics: decision-making, meaningfulness of work, motivation, money.

MAKING BOYS AND GIRLS IN PICTUREBOOKS WITH MONSTERS

Monsters are ubiquitous in children’s culture, including picturebooks. Monsters represent the mischievous and wild side of a global market for children’s consumer products that is contrasted by hyper-feminized and sanitized dolls, such as Barbie and Disney Princess. In picturebooks, typically marketed to children aged four to eight, the strong presence of monstrous characters may reflect a synonymous use of the words ‘child’ and ‘monster’ in everyday speech. The suggested affiliation or even interchangeability of monster and child in picturebooks is particularly perplexing when compared to the regular relationship between monster and human character in ‘grown-up’ culture, which threatens the very essence of humanity – and which is therefore of paramount importance to understanding what it means to be human in that culture. While the field of monster studies in the humanities is thriving, this is the first study of the omnipresence of monsters in children’s culture and the markedly different relation between child and monster.

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