Primer to NeMLA 2016: “The Monster In the House: Domestic Ideology in Superhero Narratives”

The Northeast Modern Language Association will host the session “The Monster In the House: Domestic Ideology in Superhero Narratives” on Saturday, March 19, at 11:45 AM in Conference Room 5 of the Marriott Downtown Hartford. This session is organized by Mary Ellen Iatropoulos, with the support of the Area directors of the NeMLA Board for Cultural and Media Studies and Interdisciplinary Humanities.

In addition to the “Marvel Cinematic Universe as Literature” roundtable Mary Ellen and I are co-organizing, our viewing of Age of Ultron led to a discussion as well about domestic ideology. Mary Ellen and I both research and publish on nineteenth-century United States domesticity–and on everything Joss Whedon. In fact, we first met years ago at NeMLA when she was presenting on nineteenth-century women’s literature and I was presenting on Dr. Horrible. It’s taken a long time, but that intersection of the domestic and the comic book happened, and I am grateful that NeMLA accepted this session.

I was involved in helping to draft the call for papers for this session, as well as join in discussing about panelists for inclusion on this session, and I am grateful to Mary Ellen for letting me join in. Our presentations may have a bit of overlap, as they emerge in at least a very small way from seeing Age of Ultron and discussing it together with our colleagues, especially regarding the revelations of Clint “Hawkeye” Barton’s farmhouse and Natasha “Black Widow” Romanoff’s “monstrous motherhood.” This will be an important discussion in continuing to read the cultural motifs of the home and family as they exist in superhero narratives, and we look forward to the discussion that emerges.

(I could definitely spend hours discussing the location of home as sites for just super-powered battle scenes, whether in all the Iron Man films, The Incredibles, King Shark ripping the roof off Joe West’s house in The Flash…)

The presentations for “The Monster In the House” include:

“Choosing Monstrosity: Black Widow, Reproductive Rights, and Domestic Agency in the MCU”
Mary Ellen Iatropoulos, Independent Scholar

“The Hawk at His Nest: Domestic Masculinity and Marvel Comics’s Hawkeye”
Derek McGrath, SUNY Stony Brook

“Dad is a Monster: Disruption of the Nuclear Family Ideal in Marvel’s Agents of Shield”
Adriane Ivey, Emory University

“A Home at the End of the World: The Future of Domesticity in the MCU”
Lisa Perdigao, Florida Institute of Technology



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