ASTR 2016 (Atlanta Nov. 16-19) Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead

When the Extraordinary is Also Ordinary: Spanish Golden Age Theater’s Heroic Monsters

Session time: Friday, November 17 from 5:30 to 7:30

A spate of recent scholarship, including David Castillo’s influential BAROQUE HORRORS (University of Michigan Press, 2011), interrogates monsters and monstrosity on 17th-century Spanish stage. Appropriately, Castillo’s most recent book, MEDIALOGIES: READING REALITY IN THE AGE OF INFLATIONARY MEDIA (co-authored with William Egginton; Bloomsbury, 2016) applies some of the same critical framework to our current national circumstances. (Read the response of Alberto Moreiras to Castillo and Egginton.)

This Working Session seeks to make similar connections. Why was the Spanish empire so fascinated with these extra/ordinary bodies? Why are these bodies so frequently heroic on stage? What might they say in performance today? What is the connection between an empire in crisis and transition and the urge to make a spectacle of non-normative bodies on stage? Our Working Session invites case studies of specific texts and productions to explore these provocative and timely questions.


  • Harley Erdman, U Mass Amherst
  • Susan Paun de Garcia, Denison University (Emerita)

Working group members:

  1. Harley Erdman, University of Massachusetts at Amherst (

  2. Anthony Grubbs, Michigan State University (
  3. Ben Gunter, Theater with a Mission (
  4. Harrison Meadows, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (
  5. Susan Paun de Garcia, Denison University (
  6. Bridget Sundin, Indiana University (

Working group plan:

  • Oct. 20: Upload working paper (1500-2000 words) Post on your page. (Link to your page above)

With an eye to helping both the authors of the papers and the conveners of the discussion in Atlanta, here are some suggestions.
  1. Since there are few of us and the papers are short, we should all read each of the others' papers.
  2. If you as an author have questions or concerns that you would like readers to consider as they read your work, please post them in the discussion area on your page. Readers can reply to your questions in that same discussion area.
  3. If you as a reader have any issues or questions (in addition to those raised by the author) that you would like to discuss at the working session please open a new discussion thread on the page of the author/paper that raises those questions. This will help Harley and me to organize the session.
If you have any questions or problems regarding the discussion area or posting comments, please let me know!
  • Nov. 10: Responses/questions to papers uploaded

  • Nov. 17: Working session 5:30-7:30. Dinner and drinks afterwards?