Creating a course with bitelondon2011
by Sharon Pajka, Associate Professor at Gallaudet University on Oct 29, 2011
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Vampire lore has become both theproduct and the object of interdisciplinary study and offers a rich opportunityfor discussion of issues such as social class, fear of death, gender relations,sexuality, ...
Vampire lore has become both theproduct and the object of interdisciplinary study and offers a rich opportunityfor discussion of issues such as social class, fear of death, gender relations,sexuality, disease, and the relationship between folklore and history,etc. While vampire texts and movies havebeen argued as a publishing fad, one cannot deny how immortal vampires havebecome. Kim Newman argues, “other fashions in monstrosity come and go (zombiesare “in” at the moment, but serial killers are passé), but vampires remain”(Penzler, XIV). As educators at a bilingualuniversity (American Sign Language and English), we seek the best ways toincorporate authentic reading and writing in courses. While facing students whooften have little interest or motivation in completing traditional assignments,we developed a course incorporating media with a subject matter our studentswere already interested in and encouraged them to bring their own backgroundknowledge and ideas about vampires to the course Vampires: Their Historical Significance in Literature, Film, and PopCulture. The presentation will focus on our integrated course whichexamines the phenomenon of Vampirism in verbal and visual culture from varioushistorical periods and from a variety of critical perspectives, contextualizingthe works in the cultures that produced them, and understanding their influenceon society at large. The course enables students to understand complex socialidentities, including the deaf identity in the 1975 film Deafula, and the interrelations within and among diverse culturesand groups. Students read Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend which provides a window into the racial dynamics of thetime and then compare that to the 2007 movie. Along with legends, stories,novels, and commercials, students analyze films from the 1922 Nosferatu to the contemporary 2008 Let the Right One In, and sequentialart, 30 Days of Night.
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