Those who are wondering how the Gothic might respond to the current crisis will be interested in this new event. It is called Coronagothic and it is an online flash conference hosted by @UMGothic (Gothic Research Network at the University of Macau in China). It takes place via Zoom 10am BST Tues 30 June. I will be one of nine academics from Asia, Europe, and the UK and we will discuss the cultural implications of Covid-19. It is free to register but there are limited places .
My paper is entitled ‘Analysing Amabie: A fragment in the Life of the monstrous mermaid revived to ward off coronavirus’.
I will draw on Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s seven theses of monster culture to examine Amabie, a Japanese mermaid monster from the Edo- period, revived to ward off Coronavirus in 2020. I argue that in cultural moments such as this, our understanding of crises is best understood via the hybrid creatures they engender.
So who is Amabie? Japanese Twitter is currently inundated with depictions of this yōkai , a squat, duck-billed creature with a scaly body, long hair and three webbed feet. But why? For the answer, you have to go back to mid-May 1846, when a town official from what is now Kumamoto prefecture on the island of Kyushu went down to the sea to investigate reports of glowing lights. There he encountered a strange mermaid-like creature. “I am Amabie who lives in the sea,” it said. “For the next six years, there will be abundant crops across the land, but there will also be epidemics. Show my picture to people as soon as you can.” Then Amabie was gone.
Continue reading about the pandemic defeating monster here
If you are intrigued, please do register and keep an eye on @UMGothic on Twitter
The Proposed Schedule
Prposed 30 June 2020
30th June 10 a.m. British Summer Time / 5.p.m Macau time
09.55 – Welcome from Prof. Victoria Harrison (University of Macau)
10.00 – Prof. Nick Groom (University of Macau)
10.10 – Prof. Bill Hughes (University of Macau)
10.20 – Questions
10.30 – Prof. Mariaconcetta Costantini (G. D’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara)
10.40 – Dr Sam George (University of Hertfordshire)
10.50 – Questions
11.00 – Prof. Steve Hinchliffe (University of Exeter)
11.10 – Prof. Darryl Jones (Trinity College, Dublin)
11.20 – Questions
11.30 – Prof. David Punter (University of Bristol)
11.40 – Prof. Corinna Wagner (University of Exeter)
11.50 – Questions
12.00 – Closing questions/remarks from Prof. Victoria Harrison (University of Macau)