Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

English (Literature)

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus


Department or School/College


Committee Chair

Louise Economides

Committee Co-chair

Katie Kane

Commitee Members

Christopher Preston


Energy Humanities, Petrocultural Studies, Ecocriticism, Monster Theory, Oil and Literature, Cultural Studies


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Other English Language and Literature


Petroleum, a primary global energy resource, serves as a foundation of our contemporary society. However, the pervasive influence of oil as substance, commodity, and industry in our petromodern lives often goes unrecognized. In the present moment of biogeocultural crisis surrounding fossil fuels, recognizing and understanding our multifaceted engagements with petroleum is critical. This thesis contributes to the growing field of Petrocultural Studies by considering the conceptualization of petroleum through the associated tropes and figure of the monster. Through the petromonstrous, a term that encapsulates the massive scale, haunting effects, and human-other entanglements of petroleum, cultural attitudes and anxieties about oil can be read. Looking to popular culture, literature, and film, I discuss appearances of monstrous embodiments of oil and primarily analyze three varied depictions of petromonstrosity in China Miéville’s short story “Covehithe,” Gracie Gardner’s absurdist play Pussy Sludge, and the South Korean creature feature Sector 7 (2011) directed by Kim Ji-hoon.


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