A Mummy in a Modern City
On 2 November, I will be presenting a paper entitled “A Mummy in a Modern City” at the Monstrous Antiquities: Archaeology and the Uncanny in Popular Culture conference at University College London.
I will start my presentation by reading an extract from my short story, “Akhenaten Goes to Paris”, which will be published in The Book of the Dead, edited by Jared Shurin (Jurassic London). I will then briefly outline various psychoanalytical and gender theories of monstrosity as it relates to contemporary popular fiction – including notions of the fetishised body, the subversive potential of marginal positions, and our lingering fear of an abject return of the repressed, and invoke Julia Kristeva’s sense of fiction’s importance in managing this fear.
I will discuss why I took my fictional mummy into Paris, bringing the ancient, marginalised monster into the thick of contemporary Western culture and imagining some aspects of the culture, both strange and familiar – including xenophobia, religious changes and ideas of body image – he’d encounter there.
I will finally touch on my research on some of the other ideas in the story, including into Akhenaten’s historical relatives, methods of embalming, and contemporary French monumentalist architecture.
If the paper makes any sense, I’ll post it here when I’m done.