The Dark Side of Studying Vampires

My daily Google search for the word ‘vampire’ brought up a rather disturbing article today. An academic, specialising in vampire studies, has been accused of tacitly encouraging blood drinking during his lectures. (The original story can be found in The Daily Post). As the investigation is ongoing, it would be innappropriate to speculate on this too much. However, during my studies, I have been repeatedly asked whether I a) believe that vampires and werewolves exist, and b) whether I think I am one. The answer is no on both accounts. My research remains in the realm of the fictional and, although I’ve definitely sucked the odd minor cut, I’m actually pretty creeped out by blood.

Whilst there are people who drink human blood for a variety of reasons, many of these people would not think of themselves as vampires other than in the loosest sense and do not behave as fictional vampires do. If you are interested in learning more about these communities, John Edgar Browning’s work is incredibly good and respectful towards the individuals whom he interviews.

However, my main purpose to this post it to assure you, that if you have been keeping up with Sam’s module, ‘Reading the Vampire’, blood drinking is not encouraged and the course is about representations of the vampire!

(If you are thinking of venturing down this path, may I also recommend by own “Vegan Blood” [patent pending], the recipe for which can be found here).

This entry was posted in Fun stuff and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Dark Side of Studying Vampires

  1. Yes, I can’t say this happens in our workshops though I did have one or two students wear capes a while back to do their presentations!

  2. I have to add too…I’m not being funny but I have never heard of this so called expert on vampires have you? I guess our paths have not crossed but surely he is a criminal psychologist and so cannot be an expert in vampires since they don’t exist!

    • firekrank says:

      Well, he looks at real-life vampire communities in Britain and he works in psychology so our studies probably wouldn’t have crossed too much.

  3. Karlien says:

    While I was doing my MA on ghosts, vampires and haunting in new Gothic fictions, I often experienced the same thing. I’ll never forget the titter around the room at our first internal conference when I read out my topic. After 15 minutes of hard Derrida, the first question was whether I believe in ghosts or vampires. My department didn’t see many Gothic MAs, so I suppose they could be forgiven.

    • firekrank says:

      When I’m amongst my own people, aka the Gothic and Horror crew, I find I can get away with most things. However, if I ever cross into other fields of study, I immediately feel like I have to defend everything I do in minute detail. It’s a shame that there is still this type of academic snobbery about monsters and the like. Anyway, I hope you got other, better quality questions once the silliness was out of the way. Good luck with the studies!

  4. Thanks Kaja….I am looking at representation yes and I will leave research on those who self-identify as vampires to Browning and others. There have been some unpleasant crimes associated with such things too, which if you are a psychologist you may be interested in, but I like my vampires to be poetic. I also think these communities are a lot more about being human than being vampire, and again, I like my vampires to be aesthetic and the dark gift itself to be a bit like being in love:-)

  5. I should add for those interested in the story Kaja that there is an essay by Aspasia Stephanou on ‘Online Vampire Communities: towards a global notion of vampire identity’ in Glennis Byron ed. ‘Globalgothic’ (MUP, 2013), pp. 77-91.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *