PARASITES IN POP CULTURE - Science and Culture at Play

PARASITES IN POP CULTURE - Science and Culture at Play

13 October, 5:00 pm – 6:00pm.


Oni demons, parasites, flesh-eating giants, vampires, zombies – global pop culture is rife with monsters. The popularity of this genre is on the increase in our pandemic-riven world. Parasites particularly are ubiquitous, yet their depiction in popular culture has not attracted much attention. An ‘infectant’ that lives in or on another living organism, a parasite transforms its host as it draws on their energy to survive – often to the detriment of the host. So how does the parasite subvert the behaviour of the host, redirect their energies onto a different path, even if that is a path toward destruction?

Scientists and cultural studies scholars come together to discuss these representations and their impact in our online round table discussion on “Parasites in Popular Culture: Science and Culture at Play”, organised by the ANU Japan Institute!

Poster by Konrad Lenz


Roundtable Speakers:

• A/Prof Carol Hayes (Japanese Studies, CAP, ANU)

• Prof Stefan Buchenberger (Comics Studies, Kanagawa University)

• Prof Alex Maier (Parasitology, RSB, ANU)

• Dr Anna-Sophie Jürgens (Popular Entertainment Studies, CPAS, ANU)


Roundtable Program – 10 minutes short presentation each followed by discussion

1. Parasites in Popular Culture – Dr Anna-Sophie Jurgens

2. The Parasite and The Absorbing Man – DC & Marvel’s Parasitic Villains – Prof Stefan Buchenberger

3. “Who are the real parasites?” – Sc-fi Horror manga Parasyte – A/Prof Carol Hayes

4. Parasites – the ‘real’ thing (what Science can tell us) – Prof Alex Maier


Parasites in Pop Culture flyer