Sink your teeth into vampire history

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By Victoria Cullinan

Picture 1When you hear the word “vampire,” what is it that first pops into your mind?

Is it a creepy, night-lurking demon from Transylvania or a sexy, teenaged superhero from the Cullen family? Join Russian Professor Kristin Bidoshi in the exciting and supernatural “Vampire as Other” class this spring term and learn about the vampire, all the way from its origin to what it has been transformed into in society today.

The class is an MLT-HUL that explores the vampire’s early beginnings in Eastern Europe through folklore; transitions into literature from the Enlightenment, Gothic, Romantic and post-World War I and II periods and ends with the image of the vampire in modern pop culture.

When learning about the origin of the vampire, students will learn about the role of limited goods and societies in relation to vampires. In Eastern European countries, there is a belief that goods are limited and that these societies are haunted by the “evil eye,” or look of envy.

For example, in a country like Albania, if a person calls someone’s child beautiful, they are said to be harming the child with the evil eye because they are praising him or her. Vampires are considered to be thieves of limited goods, because they steal and suck out life, blood, beauty and fertility. Bidoshi focuses on the role of vampires as liminal creatures and ambiguous boundary crossers, who live in both this world and the one that exists after death.

This class involves reading famous literature, like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the first novel involving a vampire character.

Students will also read historical pieces on cultures where vampires are inherent, folklores and other short stories involving vampires.

Films, like Nosferatu, will be shown and discussed, as well as modern movies and TV shows, like the Twilight series and True Blood.

After learning about and discussing the origin and development of the vampire through time, students are left to decide what exactly their perception of a vampire is.

In her book Our Vampires, Ourselves, Author Nina Auerbach states that, “Each age embraces the vampire it needs.” So what is the vampire of our age today? Discover for yourself and take a class that you can truly sink your teeth into!

 

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