Vampire Studies: Bold New Future?
This is an update to the August 3, 2010 post, ‘University Offers Course in Vampiric Literature‘.
If you believe education is the future, you’re going to love this. As previously mentioned, the University of Hertfordshire in the UK has decided to offer courses in Vampiric Studies. But now, the course carries the option of a Master’s Degree.
Now before you all rush off to Europe and enroll, the graduate studies are actually offered from their School of Humanities, and once completed you would walk away with your MA in Modern Literary Cultures with an emphasis on Vampire Literature, more specifically titled, “Reading the Vampire: Science, Sexuality, and Alterity in Modern Culture.”
According to the UH website, graduate students will “explore debates about desire and sexuality in the 1890s, questions of class identity in twentieth-century literature and film, and vampire narratives from the Nineteenth Century to the present day.” It can be taken like most Masters’ programs, as a one-year full time study program or a two-year part time study program, and requires just as much work as any other MA Degree. In other words, it’s a (kick-ass) respectable title.
But UH isn’t the only university to take advantage of this popular, if not delectable, subject. The University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Harvard University Extension School in Cambridge, Massachusetts are just a few other well-known universities that are offering studies in vampire literature and/or film for those more interested in taking a class rather than majoring in ‘vampireology.’ Each university offers a unique spin on the subject of vampires, with each professor as uniquely interested in the subject as we might be.
Dr. Peter Golz from the University of Victoria (UVic), has actually been teaching a course on vampires in film to fourth-year students since 2001. The course, titled “A Cultural History of Vampires in Literature and Film,” focuses on the historical aspect exclusively in German literature and film, although speaking German is not a requirement to take the class. Golz probably makes a great prof too, as he was so stricken with vampire folklore that he incorporated Dracula into his doctoral thesis.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison takes another distinctive look at vampire studies with their course titled, “The Vampire in Literature and Cinema.” The Prof, Tomislav Longinovic aims to explore the relation of vampire folklore to epidemics in Europe. Focusing on three main films – Nosferatu (1922), Dracula (1931), and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) – along with several short literary works, the course is sure to prove as thought provoking as informative.
Prof Sue Weaver Schopf, Associate Dean for the Master of Liberal Arts program at Harvard University Extension School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, teaches another highly intriguing course titled, “The Vampire in Literature and Film.” Although the title reveals little of its uniqueness, Schopf takes yet another look at vampires that differs from that of Golz or Longinovic. Students will be required to read a significant amount of vampire literary works ranging from Lord Byron to Stephenie Meyer in order to analyze and compare the characteristics of vampires with the theoretical works of Freud and Auerbach. Ultimately, Schopf intends to explore the reasons behind the attraction to this ‘horrific’ and yet ‘startlingly attractive’ creature.
And let’s not forget the topic of Buffy, whose introduction to the world has now created an entire slew of vampire fanatics and earned its own as Buffy Studies at various universities and colleges (see wikipedia for more info). Like the MA offered at U of H, Buffy Studies can even been included as part of a MA degree at Brunel University in London.
In conclusion, I would just like to give a figurative pat on the back to both the common man and the elitists of our society. Thank you for finally embracing what was once a snubbed subculture, turning it into popular culture, and at last allowing it to become a part of our future. What’s your opinion?