Global Village Living-Learning Center | The Vampire in European and American Culture
S103 | 26516 | Jeff Holdeman


(3 cr.) (A&H) (TFR) (days/time TBD) Holdeman  The vampire is one of
the most popular and enduring images in the world, giving rise to
hundreds of monster movies around the globe every year, not to
mention novels, short stories, plays, TV shows, and commercial
merchandise.  Yet the Western vampire image that we know from the
film, television, and literature of today is very different from its
eastern European progenitor.  Nina Auerbach has said that "every age
creates the vampire that it needs."  In this course we will explore
the eastern European origins of the vampire, similar creatures in
other cultures that predate them, and how the vampire in its look,
nature, vulnerabilities, and threat has changed over the centuries.
This approach will provide us with the means to learn about the
geography, village and urban cultures, traditional social structure,
and religions of eastern Europe; the nature and manifestations of
Evil and the concept of Limited Good; physical, temporal, and
societal boundaries and ritual passage that accompany them; and
major historical and intellectual periods (the settlement of Europe,
the Age of Reason, Romanticism, Neo-classicism, the Enlightenment,
the Victorian era, up to today).  We will examine how the vampire
first manifested itself in European literature and how it "shape-
shifted" its way into the entertainment (and commercial) media of
today, through numerous and various readings of fictional,
ethnographic, and scholarly works, the analysis of folklore
materials, as well as the viewing of movies, television shows, and
Internet sites.  By the end of the course, students will be able to
discuss the origins, classifications, functions, natures, and
evolution of the vampire and what that can tell us about historical
periods and our own contemporary cultures.