Oh man. Felt wombs, CGI vampire fetuses, pie-eating for memorabilia, RPattz undies — thank you, Twilight, for thy bounty of objects to ridicule. The latest news comes from academia, whose dirty little secret, the thing no one told James Franco, is that they’re just as goofy as pop culture. That’s right, start preparing for your GRE’s so you can be the first MVL — Master of Vampire Literature.
Academics at the University of Hertfordshire are organising a conference that will serve ketchup-smothered food (it’s tastier than blood) from coffins, all in the name of putting British vampire fiction back on the map. It’s the brainchild of Dr Sam George [pictured], a lecturer in English literature at Hertfordshire who is fascinated by vampires and keen to use them to make literature exciting.
“British actors have traditionally been cast as vampires on screen, but recently they’re all American, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Twilight. I aim to turn the focus back to the texts, which are mainly English, and what they say about our society,” George explains. “When I teach my students 18th-century and Renaissance literature, they sometimes struggle to connect to it. But they’re always talking to me about Twilight and its ilk [has anyone but a professor ever used the word ‘ilk’?], and I thought the wealth of subject matter in vampire lit made it a perfect way to study popular literature on an academic platform.”
The idea has certainly been popular with academia. George’s call for papers led to more than 100 academics from disciplines including film, literature and cultural studies sending in abstracts. In a bid to make the most of that interest, George is launching, in September, what seems to be the world’s first master’s degree in vampire literature. “In the months I’ve been planning the conference I’ve fielded a huge number of inquiries from people all over the world who are interested in studying vampires, zombies and the undead at a higher level,” she says. “I had the idea of offering the master’s as a direct follow-up from the conference.”
The conference schedule is packed. Planned lectures range from “Sullied Blood, Semen, and Skin: Vampires and the Spectre of Miscegenation” to “Who Ordered the Hamburger with Aids?: Blood Anxiety in True Blood”. [Guardian]
This sounds great. Who Ordered the Hamburger with Aids? was always my favorite children’s book, right after Green Aids and Ham.
-Thanks to Trey for the tip