Global Village Living-Learning Center | The Vampire in European and American Culture
G210 | 10888 | Jeff Holdeman Ph.D.


(3 cr.) (CAPP, CASE A&H Breadth of Inquiry) (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 commercial merchandise.  Yet the Western
vampire image that we know from the film, television, and literature
of today is very differentfrom 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-H234.