Global Village Living-Learning Center | The Vampire in European and American Culture
G210 | 21874 | Jeff Holdeman Ph.D.


(3 cr.) (A&H, Topics) (TR) (1:00 - 2:15 pm) Jeff 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
commercialmerchandise.  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.  This class meets with
HON-H203.