From the UK Guardian…
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
“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.
Well… okay. I’m always game for the scholarly study of pop culture, and certainly, there’s a lot of be said about the recent rash of vampire popularity, even Twilight. And I’d genuinely like to know the implications behind the shift of international origins of vampires. I bet that’d be interesting.
“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.”
Well, since Twilight has less to do with vampires and more to do about mopey abstinent wish-fulfillment fantasy, I wouldn’t think you’d want to focus too much on it, but whatever.
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.
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”.
AND YOU LOST ME. You’ve gone from a scholarly pursuit to a bunch of overeducated goth kids trying desperately to justify their poor life decisions, and desperate, trying-to-be-hip, horny college professors who want to sleep with them. No thank you.
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
Well, that’s dumb. That’s insanely dumb. You know what already exists? Master’s degrees in Literature. Why do you think we need one just for vampire books? Hell, I don’t think we need a Master’s degree in Comic Books, because the “Literature” one already covers it, and I like comic books. Man, we allow the Master’s in Vampire Literature, net thing you know people will be double-majoring in The Works of Robert Pattinson and Anatomy of Taylor Lautner. As Bela Lugosi would say, “Bleh.” (Via FilmDrunk)