School Sucks! - How One University Professor is Revamping English Literature

Posted by Malory Beazley | Posted in , , | Posted on 11:03 PM

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Now here is a program we can all get sucked into (hehe)…

The University of Hertfordshire (UK) is organizing an Academic Vampire Literature Conference called “Open Graves, Open Minds; Vampires and The Undead in Modern Culture.”  The idea was inspired by a growing concern amongst a small group of academics that students are not likely to take interest in class lectures that do not reflect the interests of their generation.

Dr. Sam George, the brain behind the whole operation and vampire fiction enthusiast, hopes the two-day academic conference will “prove that you can study popular literature in a serious way” and make people aware that the study of “the undead at a higher level” can lead to interesting revelations about our contemporary society.  The conference, taking place on April 16-17 at Hertfordshire University’s de Havilland campus, has already attracted over 200 participants, and the call for papers has resulted in more than 100 academic submissions, of which only 70 have been selected to be presented as lectures.

Here is a taste of some of the planned lectures:
- “Sullied Blood, Semen, and Skin: Vampires and the Spectre of Miscegenation”
-“Who Ordered the Hamburger with AIDS?: Blood Anxiety in True Blood

The academic buzz surrounding the conference has also prompted Dr. George to launch, starting September 2010, the world’s first ever Master of Arts (MA) Degree program specializing in Vampire Literature.

In an age when the word ‘vampire’ seems to bring to mind sparkles before it does blood, it might come as a surprise to some that vampire fiction often reflects moral anxieties that are embedded in our contemporary culture.  Dr. George suggests, “our modern vampires are a metaphor for teenagers’ wider anxieties about their bodies and their first stirrings of desire” and also that “current vampires – like the eternally teenage Edward of Twilight – reflect the scientific debate about preserving youth and living forever.”

Speaking as a graduating university student myself, the incorporation of generationally-relevant content into university courses is critically important when it comes to a) the popularity/attendance of your classes, and b) the amount of students who will passionately engage in discussions and papers.  It’s time that more university professors take a page from Dr. George’s book and start revamping their archaic curriculum for the scholars of today.

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