About this website:

Monstrosity is a ubiquitous part of the human experience. For everything, there exists a deviation so severe that it seems to be horrifying and offensive beyond words. This deviation is a difference which reflects our own identity and the liminality between “us” and “them”, “it” and “I”. Even animated films intended for children such as The Penguins of Madagascar (2014) depict the concept of monstrosity and its fluidity. The villainous squid Dave expressed his despair and rage at being made a monster, and his intention of revenge by turning all adorable penguins into monsters: “Yes, I’m the monster. Everyone made that clear to me every day of my life. But now let’s see how much everyone loves you when you’re the monster”. Likewise, political discourse often contains competitors naming each other as monsters who will ruin the nation. Numerous religions often use the same tactics to assert their own superiority. The news is filled with horror stories that push the limits of the human capacity to understand monstrosity and healthily cope with it. But we must because we are all part of the same symbiotic system — a system which both rejects and nourishes monsters and the monstrous. By understanding the significance and complexity of the system, we can better understand ourselves within that system and be in a better position to change it. Teratology, the study of monsters and the monstrous, is currently an undeveloped discipline but very much necessary to understand our existence as people and persons inside this larger system. In the past two hundred years, academic research has seen the rise of human sciences like sociology and psychology -both of which have provided valuable perspectives but faced numerous obstructions and criticisms. Now these two branches are used to improve society on macro and micro levels. The next step in humanities research is teratological scholarship, and this website is dedicated to the development of that science.

About the author:

Saraliza Anzaldua is a poet, dancer, and teratologist. She recently moved back to the US from Taiwan in 2016. She holds a B.A. in sociology from the University of Texas, and an M.A. in English literature from National Taiwan University. She also studied philosophy at Harvard University as a visiting graduate student, worked in the oil industry, and taught English abroad. When not conducting research, she spends her time dancing, traveling the world, and eating strawberries.


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