HomeHome  Main PageMain Page  CalendarCalendar  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  

Share | 
 

 University conference sinks its teeth into vampire fiction

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
ravengrim
Moderator
avatar

Virgo Rat
Number of posts : 7179
Age : 45
Location : At The End Of Time
: : The Fallen Angel
: :
More Numbers : 4503221
Registration date : 2008-07-21

PostSubject: University conference sinks its teeth into vampire fiction   Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:33 pm

University conference sinks its teeth into vampire fiction

Dr Sam George, organiser and speaker at Open Graves, Open Minds; Vampires and The Undead in Modern Culture at The University of Hertfordshire. Photograph: Graham Turner

Robert Pattinson has a lot to answer for. Ever since his lanky frame immortalised Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight character Edward Cullen with an American twang, all the vampires of the world seem to have lost their British passports. Those populating Bon Temps, the fictional town in Louisiana that is the setting for TV drama True Blood, have a southern American drawl. Meanwhile Mystic Falls, Virginia, where The Vampire Diaries is set, is a long way from the London and Whitby homes of the most famous vampire of all: Count Dracula.

But watch out, bloodsuckers: the Brits want to bring you home. Academics at the University of Hertfordshire are organising a conference that will serve ketchup-smothered food (it’s tastier than blood) from coffins, all in the name of putting British vampire fiction back on the map. It’s the brainchild of Dr Sam George, a lecturer in English literature at Hertfordshire who is fascinated by vampires and keen to use them to make literature exciting.

"British actors have traditionally been cast as vampires on screen, but recently they’re all American, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Twilight. I aim to turn the focus back to the texts, which are mainly English, and what they say about our society," George explains. "I wanted to put them in the setting of a rigorous academic conference on vampire fiction to prove that you can study popular literature in a serious way.

"When I teach my students 18th-century and Renaissance literature, they sometimes struggle to connect to it. But they’re always talking to me about Twilight and its ilk, and I thought the wealth of subject matter in vampire lit made it a perfect way to study popular literature on an academic platform."

The idea has certainly been popular with academia. George’s call for papers led to more than 100 academics from disciplines including film, literature and cultural studies sending in abstracts; 70 have been selected to talk at the two-day conference. They are travelling from across the world as well as from British institutions.

The schedule is packed – and some of the topics sound like they shouldn’t be discussed just after lunch. Planned lectures range from "Sullied Blood, Semen, and Skin: Vampires and the Spectre of Miscegenation" to "Who Ordered the Hamburger with Aids?: Blood Anxiety in True Blood".

It’s hardly your normal academic fare, but that, says George, is the point. "I didn’t want this to be a stuffy traditional conference, I wanted it to be exciting and inspire people to become interested in vampire fiction." Around 200 people have confirmed places so far, ranging from academics to people from book groups to students and media figures who are interested in recent vampire developments.

In a bid to make the most of that interest, George is launching, in September, what seems to be the world’s first master’s degree in vampire literature. "In the months I’ve been planning the conference I’ve fielded a huge number of inquiries from people all over the world who are interested in studying vampires, zombies and the undead at a higher level," she says. "I had the idea of offering the master’s as a direct follow-up from the conference. I thought it was crucial to have a way of extending this burst of awareness." The best papers from the conference will be collected in a book, which will become a textbook for the MA students.

George expects the course to become an annual staple that will outlast the current TV craze for all things vamp, because "vampires themselves change so much, and reflect contemporary society". She says today’s vampires are glamorous and sexy, and have an emotional side.

"Vampires used to be rooted in the past, representing something primitive; now they are about modern culture, living in cities, listening to punk music, embracing technology. Some are even female, and vegetarian."

George claims that change reflects the fact that vampire stories mirror the anxieties embedded in modern-day culture. "Vampires teach us to come to terms with our desires and the fact we have a darker side," she says. "In the 1980s, a lot of vampire films and books tackled disease and corruption – it was a way of talking about Aids. Vampires are used to bring up things we don’t want to talk about."

The topic du jour of our modern vampires, is, George believes, the sexualisation of teens. "In earlier fantasy narratives, like CS Lewis’s Narnia stories, sexuality is outlawed. Susan is prevented from returning to Narnia once she becomes interested in ‘nylons, lipstick and invitations’. But the new vampire stories represent a sexual awakening. Our modern vampires are a metaphor for teenagers’ wider anxieties about their bodies and their first stirrings of desire. They provide a safe way to acknowledge these desires."

George claims that vampire fiction also tackles fears of technology. "Science is starting to let us think seriously about living a lot longer, and that’s fascinating in the vampire context, since they obviously live for eternity," she says. "Current vampires – like the eternally teenage Edward of Twilight – reflect the scientific debate about preserving youth and living forever." George adds that it’s no surprise that vampires tend to become prominent during times of social change – like last year’s recession – because "they are escapist and let you think about society in a very different setting."

George adds that it’s the ideas behind the otherworldly beings that she is interested in, not their physical reality. "I know some people think vampires exist, but I don’t. The conference will be about thinking of vampires in a metaphorical sense, and how they mollify us by playing out our fears in literature".

And if eating cocktail sausages from a coffin encourages more people to think about intricacies and implications of vampire literature, then that’s OK with her.

Open Graves, Open Minds: Vampires and the Undead in Modern Culture is at Hertfordshire University’s de Havilland campus on 16-17 April. To reserve a place, contact Sam George
: s.george@herts.ac.uk

Wish we had more these of things like this here in America.

_________________
”Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." ~H. L. Mencken


@themorrigan1972
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: University conference sinks its teeth into vampire fiction   Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:23 pm

No lie, that degree in Vampires sounds pretty damn awesome.

"I'm a English major, you?"

"I'm a dietician major. Hey, Mary! What's your major?"

"Vampires."

**Silence**
Back to top Go down
La Diva Carlotta
supernova
avatar

Scorpio Goat
Number of posts : 7857
Age : 37
Location : New York City
: :
More Numbers : 4401834
Registration date : 2008-07-23

PostSubject: Re: University conference sinks its teeth into vampire fiction   Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:36 pm

^^Obligatory question: What kind of work can you do with a degree in Vampires? LOL LOL
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: University conference sinks its teeth into vampire fiction   Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:52 pm

^^^Not sure.... One could teach it.... and it would probably have to be co-majored with something like English or literature, so maybe what ever those majors do?
Back to top Go down
RedAngel
star member
avatar

Leo Snake
Number of posts : 5374
Age : 40
Location : CT/NC: Josephine on my mind
: :
More Numbers : 4229800
Registration date : 2008-11-30

PostSubject: Re: University conference sinks its teeth into vampire fiction   Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:57 pm

^^ Maybe be a folklorist? And be interviewed for interesting shows on the Discovery channel. Smile But I guess mainly write books on what vampires represent to people. So yeah, I guess ultimately a vampire major would be on a par with folklorists or literary scholars.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://gracestudios.deviantart.com/
La Diva Carlotta
supernova
avatar

Scorpio Goat
Number of posts : 7857
Age : 37
Location : New York City
: :
More Numbers : 4401834
Registration date : 2008-07-23

PostSubject: Re: University conference sinks its teeth into vampire fiction   Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:48 pm

Screw psychology! I'm gettin' me a doctorate in Vampire Studies! (Can I transfer over some credits?) Laughing
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: University conference sinks its teeth into vampire fiction   Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:56 pm

^^^I think you have more than enough already Diva. It's only a Master's Degree program. tongue
Back to top Go down
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: University conference sinks its teeth into vampire fiction   

Back to top Go down
 
University conference sinks its teeth into vampire fiction
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
-
» Wisdom Teeth
» A vampire Chronicles Roleplay!? Help! Help!
» H. Rider Haggard and the Anglo-Zulu War in Fact and Fiction
» The morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine
» Immortal| A Werewolf/Anthro/Vampire rp

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
TheDarkRealm :: the threads :: Movies & Media-
Jump to: