British Association for American Studies


Beasts of the Sky: Strange Sightings in the Stratosphere (St Mary’s University, Twickenham)

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Beasts of the Sky: Strange Sightings in the Stratosphere (St Mary’s University, Twickenham)

June 30, 2018

Beasts of the Sky:

Strange Sightings in the Stratosphere

30 June 2018


Proposals are invited for an interdisciplinary symposium at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, to explore representations of creatures of the sky and air, within the context of popular culture. The one-day conference is on Saturday 30 June 2018. Keynote Lecture: Dr Chris Pallant, Canterbury Christ Church University.

Taking place in the drawing room of Horace Walpole’s Gothic mansion in Strawberry Hill, this symposium will discuss the sky as space, as well as the creatures associated with it, whether monstrous or mundane, in popular culture. The sky is a privileged locale in popular genres, from science fiction, horror and dystopian film; in animation as well as live action; to natural history programming on television.

Sometimes the sky is linked to the archaic, in myth and with prehistoric airborne creatures; at other times it is the site for our projections of the future, extra-terrestrial or otherwise. In both cases, our representations invariably mediate social and cultural anxieties that are current, even if projected into the distant past or far future. In documentary and natural history, the earth’s flying creatures are seen to be imperilled by global warming and the anthropocene. In popular genres of cinema and in animation, airborne creatures provide opportunities for bravura displays of spectacle.

The conference day will close with a book launch for the first publication from our conference series: Beasts of the Deep: Sea Creatures and Popular Culture (2018) John Libbey Publishing.



For more information contact organisers – Dr Jon Hackett and Dr Seán Harrington at beastsoftheplace@gmail.com


For directions to St Mary’s and further information on our ‘Beasts’ conference series, please see our website:



June 30, 2018
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